Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) reacted to today's announcement that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would not object to the merger of the two largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), Medco and Express Scripts Incorporate (ESI).
"I am deeply disappointed by the FTC's decision to allow this $29 billion merger to proceed, creating a monolithic PBM with near monopolistic control of the prescription drug sale marketplace," Butterfield said. "For many months I have warned the FTC to carefully consider this merger's negative impact on the industry and consumers alike. The FTC's decision puts community pharmacies, seniors, and sensitive populations at risk of having less access and choice for purchasing needed prescription drugs."
ESI and Medco announced a $29 billion merger agreement in July 2011. The combined company would have more than 155 million American customers--creating a virtual monopoly that could lead to fewer independent community pharmacies, reduced access to generics and specialized treatments, and fewer options for the consumer.
The merger was subject to review by the FTC, which decided on a 3-1 vote not to oppose the merger. FTC Commissioner Julie Brill issued a dissenting statement opposing the decision and expressing concern that the merged company would hurt consumers and the industry.
On December 19, 2011, Congressman Butterfield sent a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz expressing concern over the merger and asking the Commission to carefully review the merger's impact on community pharmacies and sensitive communities.
In January, Butterfield sent a letter to Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), the Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade asking that she hold an immediate hearing to review the impact of the merger.
Butterfield is the Ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee.
The merger has been challenged in Federal Court. It is believed that several states may bring legal action to prevent the merger.