The 60 Plus Association (60 Plus) on February 07, 2012 sent a letter asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to block the proposed merger between Express Scripts Inc. (ESI) and Medco Health Solutions, two pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that administer prescription benefits for many health plans, including some Medicare Part D plans. 60 Plus is a non-partisan seniors advocacy group, with over 7.1 million supporters.
In the letter, 60 Plus detailed the group’s concerns about the impact of an approved merger on our nation’s seniors, in particular.
“Seniors tend to have more chronic conditions and take more medication than other age groups, and are especially sensitive to changes in the pharmaceutical-drug sector of the health market,” the letter states.
“When seniors lose access to community pharmacies because they are no longer part of a PBM network or go out of business, or when they are forced into a mail-order program, their health and safety is at risk. Seniors rely on local pharmacists for information, advice and counseling about their medications and possible side effects and drug interactions. Without this one-on-one counseling from a trusted pharmacist, some seniors will experience adverse drug reactions and health complications.”
If the merger is approved, the combined ESI/Medco will control prescription drug benefits for more than 100 million Americans, and more than 50 percent of several important components of the pharmacy market, including specialty pharmaceuticals and mail-order. According to 60 Plus, this level of monopolistic control will eventually result in higher prices for all consumers.
“For seniors, the ESI/Medco merger will mean higher prescription prices, fewer choices in pharmacy care, and lower-quality health services than are currently available,” said Jim Martin, 60 Plus Association Chairman. “This merger is anti-competitive, anti-consumer and anti-senior, and should not be allowed to proceed.”
The 60 Plus Association strongly supports free enterprise, consumer choice and the well-being of seniors. Unfortunately, the ESI/Medco merger gives two players in the PBM industry an unfair advantage in market share and setting prices. The result: higher prices, loss of pharmacy choices and lower-quality services for seniors.
The 60 Plus Association is a 20-year-old nonpartisan organization working for death tax repeal, saving Social Security and Medicare, affordable prescription drugs, lowering energy costs and other issues featuring a less government, less taxes approach as well as a strict adherence to the Constitution.
60 Plus calls on support from over 7 million activists. 60 Plus publishes a newsletter, SENIOR VOICE, and a Scorecard, bestowing awards on lawmakers of both parties who vote “pro-senior.” 60 Plus has been called, “an increasingly influential senior citizen’s group.”