On creation of huge new industry middleman: “Too big. Too much power. That’s not healthy.”
Amid a hearing in Congress this week on the controversial Express Scripts and Medco proposed merger, and with rising consumer- and Congressional voices of opposition to the merger, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) today launched advertising to warn further of the mega-deal’s feared anti-competitive and anti-consumer consequences.
NACDS’ new drive-time radio ad, which is airing in the Washington, D.C. market, can be heard by clicking here.
“Too big ... too much power … that’s not healthy,” is how the ads summarize concerns about the unparalleled market concentration that would result from the proposed mega-merger of pharmacy benefit managers (PBM), in an already extremely limited marketplace. PBMs negotiate and manage prescription drug coverage plans for employers, insurance plans and the government.
The ad describes “an unknown middleman controlling the majority of private pharmacy benefits” and the merged entity’s “unprecedented power over drug supplies, drug prices and access to … medicine” – to the detriment of health plans, employers and consumers.
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.
“NACDS has utilized advertising as part of a comprehensive effort to tell the true story of pharmacies as the face of neighborhood healthcare, and the unparalleled value of pharmacies in improving patient health and reducing costs,” said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE. “NACDS is committed to utilizing the modern tools of advocacy to present innovative solutions for advancing cost-effective and high-quality patient care, as well as to vigorously confront serious threats that jeopardize these vital principles.”