The FTC announced their approval of the Express Scripts acquisition of Medco. As readers of this blog know, WBC ( has predicted for months that this would be the outcome.

In a  3-1 vote to end its investigation, the FTC said its probe “revealed a competitive market for PBM services characterized by numerous, vigorous competitors who are expanding and winning business from traditional market leaders.”

The FTC said it is confident the Medco buyout won’t change those dynamics and it sees little risk of the merged Express Scripts/Medco exercising monopoly power.

Capitalizing on the nation’s health care mania, Express Scripts played all the right cards. “Our merger is exactly what the country needs now,” Express Scripts CEO George Paz said in a statement. “It represents the next chapter of our mission to lower costs, drive out waste in health care and improve patient health.”  Music to the ears of influencers in Washington that made this deal happen.

Now the company has to deal with pending litigation over the transaction.  The community pharmacist association and drugstore trade groups have filed suit. Also, several states have their AG’s bringing action. All of this activity does seem like much ado about nothing after the FTC announcement. We believe that these legal actions are designed to extract some pricing concessions and will not ultimately prevail.

Here’s one vote for George  as industry executive of the year. This is quite the coup! Let’s see how it actually gets put into practice.

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