Wall Street Journal endorses ESI-Medco merger; retail pharmacy responds

NEW YORK — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association on Monday wrote the Wall Street Journal regarding the paper's endorsement last week of the Express Scripts-Medco merger approval.

"Pharmacy benefit managers are basically specialty insurance companies for prescriptions, though in recent years they've been innovating to lower costs, better coordinate patient care and wring more value out of the health dollar," the Journal editorialized. "The deal's opponents belonged to the pharmacy guild, which will lose revenue and dispensing fees as benefit managers drive down costs."

The pharmacy associations countered by saying that, "The editorial board hails the ability of the middlemen to 'lower costs,' while ignoring that they often act contrary to the healthcare transparency the [Wall Street Journal] espouses."

It's community pharmacy that drives cost-cutting innovation, not PBMs, the groups noted.

To read the letter to the editor, click here.

For the original WSJ editorial, click here (subscription required).