Chairman Kohl Raises Concerns with FTC about Express Scripts-Medco Merger
2/2/2012 10:45 AM
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), who as chairman of a key Senate subcommittee presided over a hearing about the proposed Express Scripts and Medco merger last December, has "outlined his concerns" about the deal in a letter
to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
“Express Scripts’s proposed merger with Medco will unquestionably create a giant PBM that is substantially larger than any competitor, and will result in the combined entity having a dominant market share in mail order and specialty pharmacies. It will reduce choices for PBM services to health plan sponsors, especially large employers. And it has the potential to have profound effects on the ability of both community and chain drug stores to compete,” Kohl wrote in a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz.
“I therefore urge the FTC to carefully examine this proposed merger, and only approve it should the Commission determine that the transaction is not likely to substantially lessen competition in violation of the antitrust laws. I further urge the FTC to impose all necessary conditions on this deal to protect competition and consumers, should you decide to allow it proceed. The stakes for American consumers, health plan sponsors, and our nation’s network of local pharmacies arising out of this transaction are very high and thus this acquisition is worthy of the most serious review at your agency,” Kohl wrote.
Kohl made a highly significant point
during his statement at the December hearing which brought to light highly substantial concerns about the proposed merger. At the hearing, Kohl said, "It is notable that no large employer who privately expressed concerns to us wished to testify at today's hearing, often telling us that they feared retaliation from the large PBMs with whom they must do business."
National Association of Chain Drug Stores member Mike Bettiga of Shopko testified
at the hearing before Kohl's panel.