Representatives Make One Final Attempt to Block Express Scripts-Medco Merger

A new letter goes out to the FTC requesting that their Express Scripts-Medco review include a careful assessment of specialty pharmacy and exclusive distribution contracts.

A new letter goes out to the FTC requesting that their Express Scripts-Medco review include a careful assessment of specialty pharmacy and exclusive distribution contracts.

With press reports indicating that the FTC will soon finalize their review of the Express Scripts-Medco merger, Rep Henry A. Waxman (D,CA) and Rep Diana DeGette (D,CO) sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz yesterday asking him again to “closely scrutinize the merger's impact on consumers and prescription drug costs.”

Representatives Waxman and DeGette noted that if the merger is accepted, Express Scripts-Medco would control 52% of the specialty drug market and would be 3 times the size of its nearest competitor. They cited statistics from Express Scripts’ 2010 Drug Trend Report, writing, “These market share concerns are compounded by the rapid growth of specialty pharmacy services, which, on a per-patient basis, are expected to double between 2010 and 2013.”

The representatives cited numerous appeals previously written to the FTC regarding the proposed merger, including a prior letter to Reps Joseph Pitts (R, PA) and Cliff Stearns (R,FL) and a previous appeal to the Chairman they co-wrote with Frank Pallone, Jr, (D, NJ) on September 9, 2011.

“We are also concerned about exclusivity agreements between PBMs and pharmaceutical manufacturers. These types of arrangement s arise when PBMs are able to negotiate with manufacturers to act as sole distributors of drugs, obtaining discounts for their own customers but raising prices for other PBMs and other purchasers,” they wrote.

The letter stressed that they are still concerned about the merger’s impact on drug costs in both the government and private sector.

“We ask that FTC carefully assess whether the proposed merger will increase the frequency and cost of exclusivity agreements, and if so, take action to prevent the Medco-Express Scripts merger from resulting in abuse of these agreements.”

For more information:

Independent Specialty Pharmacy Coalition Continues to Urge FTC to Block PBM Merger