PCPAN – Wisconsin: Applauds U.S. Senator Kohl for important Judiciary Committee hearing on PBM merger

Contact:

Scott Tyre

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MADISON, WI — Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW!’s coalition in the state of Wisconsin applauds United States Senator Herb Kohl for standing up on behalf of pharmacists, consumers, patient advocates, and small businesses across the country for taking a needed and critical look at the proposed merger between two of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBM).

On Tuesday, Kohl presided over a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights titled “The Express Scripts/Medco Merger: Cost Savings for Consumers or More Profits for the Middlemen?” The hearing included the CEOs of both Express Scripts and Medco, as well as community pharmacists and antitrust experts.

“By asking critical questions about this planned merger and using the Antitrust Subcommittee to ensure the public’s interest is protected, Senator Kohl showed that he is on the side of the consumers, the families, and the small businesses that are seeing health care costs rise unnecessarily,” said Joe Wineke. “If allowed to merge, these health care industry middlemen will dominate the prescription drug market and have far-reaching power to affect how medications are priced and dispensed, jeopardizing Americans’ health and threatening jobs. Express Scripts and Medco must explain to Americans how their merger will not harm competition and hurt millions of consumers, and Senator Kohl was right to place that burden squarely on the corporations’ shoulders.”

Express Scripts and Medco announced their plans to merge in July 2011. The Federal Trade Commission is currently reviewing the proposal. If combined, the two companies would control an excessive share of the retail prescription medication market. According to the Subcommittee, the combined company would administer 1.14 billion prescriptions annually, handle 41 percent of all prescriptions administered by PBMs, and would be nearly twice the size of its nearest competitor.

About PCPAN:

Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! is a coalition of consumers, businesses and community-based pharmacists from across the country that have come together for the purpose of opposing the planned merger between Express Scripts Inc. and Medco Health Solutions Inc. PCPAN is a project of Pharmacy Choice and Access Now!