Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW!: Wisconsin group joins Reps. Courtney & Marino to oppose Express Scripts/Medco merger

Contact: Scott Tyre at [email protected]

Local Members Of Preserve Community Pharmacy Access Now! Ask FTC, Congress To Support Patient Care

Washington, D.C. – Local (consumers, business owners and pharmacists – ) gathered in Washington, D.C. today with the Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! (PCPAN) coalition, where they participated in a press conference outside of the U.S. Capitol to urge Congress and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to support patient care and oppose the planned merger between Express Scripts Inc. and Medco Health Solutions Inc, two of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefits management (PBM) companies. Following the press conference, which featured remarks by Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Thomas Marino (R-PA), they met with elected representatives on Capitol Hill.

The coalition expressed concerns that the new mega-PBM would control much of the supply line of brand-name and generic drugs, especially in markets where the PBMs are already highly concentrated. The merger would hurt health care quality, compromise safety and limit access to community pharmacies, while driving drug prices through the roof. It would also result in decreased access to local community pharmacies that provide convenient and helpful services.

“We look forward to delivering the message that this huge merger will hurt Wisconsin’s Seniors, patients, and lower the quality of care Wisconsin citizens are accustom to,” said former Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Joe Wineke.

Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are the largely unregulated drug middlemen that manage prescription drug benefit programs for employers, unions, health plans and others. Today, PBMs control the drug benefits of more than 200 million patients nationwide. This number includes a diverse group of Americans such as Medicare Part D beneficiaries, servicemen and veterans that are TRICARE beneficiaries, and more.

“There is a reason that this merger has drawn criticism from a diverse set of voices throughout the country,” said former Congresswoman Eva M. Clayton, chairwoman of the Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! (PCPAN) coalition. “If Express Scripts is allowed to merge with Medco, it is American consumers – particularly those in lower-income and minority communities – who will ultimately pay the price in the form of higher costs for lesser quality care. I hope that Congress and the administration will stand up for American patients and oppose the merger.”

Last July, Express Scripts Inc. and Medco Health Solutions Inc, two of the nation’s largest PBMs, announced a merger agreement that could go into effect as soon as early 2012. Questions about the proposed merger have been raised by elected officials, attorneys general of dozens of states, pharmacy service providers, consumer advocates and patient advocacy groups. The merger is currently being reviewed by Congress and the FTC.

Members of the [STATE] delegation that traveled to D.C. include: Joe Wineke, Dean Gruber-Independent Pharmacist, and Tom Engels, VP of the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin.

Delegation members are available to discuss their trip to D.C. To schedule an interview, please contact Scott Tyre at [email protected].

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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