Rep. Slaughter raises concerns about proposed ESI-Medco merger


WASHINGTON — Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., has expressed concerns about the proposed merger between pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission.

The letter, dated Feb. 6, outlines how Slaughter represents a district that contains 34 independent pharmacies — which employ 364 full-time individuals — that fill more than two million prescriptions every year.

"The newly merged PBM would control one-third of the total 2011 PBM market share and 60% of the market share for mail-order drugs. This centralization raises the possibility of higher prices for prescription drugs and reduced choices for consumers," the letter stated. "My primary concern is the impact that the merger could have on community pharmacies and patients who rely on them not only for their medicine, but also for counseling and other specialized services and products."

Slaughter's letter was praised by the Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! coalition, which is seeking to stop the merger.

"The concerns expressed by Rep. Slaughter and so many others are very real - and need to be considered," said former congresswoman Eva Clayton, chairwoman of the PCPAN. "This merger threatens to saddle patients and consumers with higher costs for lesser quality care, it needs to be stopped."

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