Prescription Benefits in Danger

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Imagine that one day you head to a local pharmacy to pick up a prescription and find out the store no longer accepts your employer’s pharmacy plan. This could happen soon to New York state consumers if the Federal Trade Commission signs off on a plan to merge two of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit managers.

The merger’s effect is already being felt at Walgreens, which did not renew its contract with Express Scripts due to what it perceives as unsatisfactory reimbursement rates. Walgreens is reportedly hoping to retain Express Scripts customers with a transition plan.

Under the proposition, two of the nation’s three major pharmaceutical benefit management companies — Medco Health Solutions and Express Scripts — have been making their case before Congress and the FTC to merge.

At a rally last month in front of a Queens pharmacy, state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas warned that the loser in this merger could be you.

The new PBM could control more than 40 percent of the national prescription volume. Imagine the impact it will have on small pharmacies. And imagine, by cutting competition, the impact it may have on the co-pay under employer benefit plans.

The FTC will have to draw the line between free enterprise and monopolies. We urge the FTC to come down on the side of the consumer.

Guv Bets on Conventions

In his State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the “largest convention center in the nation” has been proposed at Aqueduct Racetrack. Cuomo said he is in negotiations with Genting, whose subsidiary runs the Aqueduct racino.

The casino has been a success and a convention center would create temporary construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs, but it could be risky.

Has there been a study that shows people would be willing to travel to a convention center on the outskirts of Queens? Will the racino be a draw? This is not Manhattan — a tourist destination.

If this becomes a done deal, we hope it is a winner.

Posted 12:00 am, January 13, 2012
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Reader feedback

rose from inver grove heights. mn says:
as a pharmacy technician, and a consumer, the stress of this uncaring, irresponsible pbm merger is becoming unbareable. the fear of job loss is paralyzing.
Jan. 13, 2012, 11:35 pm
Marvin from Cleveland, TN says:
As an Employee of a Community Pharmacy this has been an ongoing battle across the country. In fact Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency (PUTT) is a growing coalition of independent pharmacists and pharmacy owners dedicated to exposing widespread abuse and manipulation by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). You can learn more and join the fight at
Jan. 16, 2012, 10:33 am
Dr. Jacob R. Raitt from Maryland says:
The merger of these two dominant PBM services will increase their profit as they will be able to direct drug use and distribution to their benefit and the detriment of the subscribers.??
Jan. 16, 2012, 10:45 am

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