National Black Chamber of Commerce CEO Slams PBM Merger, Warns of "Great Strides Backward"
2/9/2012 9:44 AM
In an opinion column
, Harry C. Alford, co-founder, president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, wrote that if the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reviews the proposed Express Scripts and Medco merger with the scrutiny that it deserves, "it is difficult to see how they could possibly allow it to move forward."
Writing in Black Voice News,
Alford called the proposed merger of pharmaceutical insurance middle-men "a corporate merger that could result in great strides backward for African Americans and others suffering from economic and health ills."
Alford said the merger would grant the new company so much market control that it would have "the power to increase prices and push out rivals, including community pharmacies."
Alford agreed with concerns about the merger voiced in a letter
from Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) to the FTC, and added, "and the stakes are even higher for African Americans than for the average consumer."
of Medco CEO David Snow, in which Snow touted Medco's "robots" at its mail order facility over human pharmacists, returned yet again to bite Express Scripts and Medco. Alford warned: "Medco CEO David Snow believes his pharmacy robots are better than your local pharmacist down the street, and if he has his way, you will no longer have a choice."
"Viewed in light of existing health disparities and economic difficulties, and the indifference of the [pharmacy benefit manager] PBM executives, there are no benefits for African American consumers in allowing the merger to proceed, and there are many risks," Alford said.