Express Scripts-Medco Merger: What Now?

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Now that the merger has been approved despite the objections of community pharmacy, it is time to find a new way forward.

Express Scripts Inc. (ESRX), the largest US pharmacy benefits manager, received regulatory approval for its $29.1 billion acquisition of Medco Health Solutions Inc. (MHS)—a deal that may drive down costs for the company and consumers.

The Federal Trade Commission approved the purchase by a 3-1 vote. Clearance was unconditional, with the commissioners saying their 8-month review of the deal found “a competitive market for pharmacy benefit management services.”

So what are we to make of this decision? Community pharmacy made a strong effort to keep the merger from happening. Now that the FTC has ruled, what should pharmacy do?

Is it time to start focusing on providing face-to-face pharmacy services instead of focusing on drug distribution as the main revenue stream for community pharmacy? If pharmacy had put as much effort on delivering these services and getting paid for them would the profession be better off today? I think so. What do you think?

To read more of our coverage of the merger, click here.

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