New NACDS Ad Reflects Skepticism, Opposition Surrounding Proposed Express Scripts and Medco Merger
10/4/2011 8:01 AM
New ad asks, “What will stop Express Scripts and Medco from putting profits ahead of patients?”
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) today unveiled the print advertising component of its campaign to emphasize the anti-competitive and anti-consumer effects of the proposed merger of Express Scripts and Medco.
The new print ad was published in today’s Washington Post. The print ad can be seen by clicking here. NACDS’ previously announced radio ad can be heard be clicking here.
The mega-merger of Express Scripts and Medco would create unparalleled market concentration among pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in an already extremely limited marketplace. PBMs negotiate and manage prescription drug coverage plans for employers, insurance plans and the government.
“Don’t give Express Scripts and Medco a stranglehold on Americans’ medicines,” the ad urges. “Americans depend on their prescription medicines. That’s why the proposed Medco and Express Scripts merger worries so many consumers.”
Among rising concerns about the proposed merger, five national consumer groups on September 20 wrote to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to oppose the merger: National Consumers League; Consumers Union; Consumer Federation of America; U.S. PIRG; and National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices.
In their letter to the FTC, the consumer groups wrote, “This merger will significantly reduce competition among the major PBMs. By reducing market rivalry, Express Scripts-Medco is likely to charge more for its services. Furthermore, the combined company is unlikely to pass on savings obtained through rebates to public and private payors. Ultimately, consumers will bear these price increases in the form of higher premiums.”
The new NACDS print ad reflects this concern, saying that the mega-merger would result in “less competition, less choice and an unknown middleman with the power to tell us when, where and how to get vital medicines.” The ad asks, “What will stop Express Scripts and Medco from putting profits ahead of patients?”
Concerns related to dramatically reduced competition include patients being forced to accept pharmacy benefit terms that leave them with no choice and no freedom; patients losing their choice of pharmacies, after being forced to use the new mega-PBM’s mail order facility; the creation of drug formularies – the list of drugs available to patients under a plan – based on rebates from drug companies rather than on clinical effectiveness and patients’ best interests; and pharmacies being coerced into signing unfair and one-sided contracts that ultimately will dictate the terms of patient care.
“Neighborhood pharmacies are highly trusted and highly accessible, and provide unsurpassed value when it comes to improving patient health and reducing across-the-board healthcare expenses,” said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE. “NACDS is committed to telling this story, while defending against potential threats to high-quality and cost-effective patient care.”
In addition to launching the new ads, NACDS created a micro website at www.TooBigToPlayFair.com, which provides regular updates about developments related to the proposed merger.