Retail News Breaks
NACDS print ad blasts Express Scripts-Medco merger
October 4th, 2011
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores' advertising campaign in opposition to the proposed merger of Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions has now hit print.
NACDS said Tuesday that the print ad — topped by the headline, "Don't give Express Scripts and Medco a stranglehold on Americans' medicines" — was published in the Oct. 4 issue of the Washington Post. Last month, the association began airing a radio commercial in the Washington, D.C., area to rally consumers against the union of the two pharmacy benefit managers, which it calls anti-competitive and anti-consumer.
Besides launching the new ads, NACDS has set up a website, TooBigToPlayFair.com, that it said provides regular updates about developments related to the PBM merger, which if approved by the Federal Trade Commission would create the nation's largest provider of prescription drug benefits.
"Americans depend on their prescription medicines. That's why the proposed Medco and Express Scripts merger worries so many consumers," the NACDS print ad reads. "A new, $100 billion corporation would control the majority of America's private pharmacy benefits. That means less competition, less choice — and an unknown middleman with the power to tell us when, where and how to get vital medicines. What will stop Express Scripts and Medco from putting profits ahead of patients? That's not healthy."
The ad then urges consumers to take action: "Help stop the Express Scripts and Medco merger. Send a letter today to: Jonathan Leibowitz, chairman, Federal Trade Commission."
"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," NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a statement. "NACDS is committed to telling this story while defending against potential threats to high-quality and cost-effective patient care."
NACDS noted that late last month five national consumer groups — the National Consumers League, the Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) and the National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices — sent a letter to the FTC urging it to reject the Express Scripts-Medco merger.
"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," the consumer groups stated in their letter. "Furthermore, the combined company is unlikely to pass on savings obtained through rebates to public and private payers. Ultimately, consumers will bear these price increases in the form of higher premiums."
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