Health insurance giant Cigna announced it had agreed to buy Express Scripts, the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit manager, in a $67 billion deal.
The completion of the deal will mark the end of Express Scripts as the last major independent pharmacy benefit manager — the three largest PBMs will now be owned by insurance companies.
Cigna and Express Scripts said the acquisition would benefit consumers by allowing the two companies to bring together patients’ medical and pharmacy histories to improve treatments and lower costs. But critics claim the deal could easily lead to higher drug prices for consumers, as it follows a broader trend that’s seen consolidation among insurers and pharmacy-benefits managers. For drugmakers, this market disruption could mean more pricing resistance.
The PBM setup has been under fire lately, as these “middlemen" — whose goal is to negotiate drug prices for insurers — don’t always pass rebates on to clients, according to drug manufacturers.
Read the press release