NCPA Statement on Cigna's Bid to Acquire Express Scripts

ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 8, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to Cigna's announcement that it intends to purchase pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, the National Community Pharmacists Association responded with the following statement:

"We're still assessing the implications of a Cigna-Express Scripts merger, but one thing is clear: Consolidation among health care giants leads to fewer choices for patients and plan sponsors," said CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA. "In addition, companies make claims of cost savings that will benefit patients and health plan sponsors, but the available evidence from previous consolidations suggests otherwise. The merger of UnitedHealth and Catamaran a few years ago, for instance, certainly didn't change the upward trajectory in health care spending.

"We're seeing the growing balkanization of the health care industry – a world in which patients may be forced into a health care kingdom – the CVS-Aetna kingdom, the Cigna-Express Scripts kingdom, the UnitedHealth-OptumRx kingdom, et cetera – where the borders aren't porous, and patients are stuck with what they get. Depending on where you live, that lack of choice could disadvantage patients who are trapped in inflexible pharmacy and health care networks that dictate the decision-making process for the delivery of care.

"We have expressed significant concerns about the proposed CVS Caremark-Aetna merger and believe similar concerns apply in this instance. Continued vertical health care consolidation could impede competition and foreclose any meaningful entry into the market, leading to fewer choices and higher health care costs. We believe rigorous antitrust scrutiny is critical to protect competition and ensure affordable patient access."

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent an $80 billion health care marketplace and employ more than 250,000 individuals on a full- or part-time basis. To learn more, go to www.ncpanet.org, visit facebook.com/commpharmacy, or follow NCPA on Twitter @Commpharmacy.

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SOURCE National Community Pharmacists Association