Community pharmacists play a vital role in improving patient health and lowering overall health care costs. We are the most accessible health care providers available and serve as a valuable resource to patients seeking medical advice regarding prescription drug usage.
At the same time, independent pharmacies have no leverage with which to negotiate contracts with PBMs that support a level playing field and the patient's right to choose a pharmacy. That dynamic would grow worse under this deal, and consumer choice would suffer, simply to line the pockets of Express Scripts-Medco's shareholders.
For all of the aforementioned reasons, Members of Congress have been weighing in on a bipartisan basis. Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Tom Marino (R-Pa.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), and Don Young (R-Alaska) have all voiced questions about this merger.
The Express Scripts-Medco merger should be blocked by the FTC. This proposed transaction will limit patient choice, raise drug costs and harm local pharmacies and the jobs they bring to communities nationwide.
B. Douglas Hoey is executive vice president and CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association.
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