Michigan Pharmacists Oppose Mail Order Merger

WASHINGTON (WWJ) – Several Michigan pharmacists visited Capital Hill on Thursday, trying to drum up opposition to a proposed merger of two of the country’s biggest mail-order medication operations.

The group is being represented by Dennis Archer, Detroit’s former mayor turned private attorney.

He said a merger of “Medco” and “Express Scripts” would hurt local pharmacies and their customers.

“Well, when you take that pharmacist out of play, where does that person go to? You can call an 800-number and try to get the answer and you’ve gotta wait for the mail to bring you the pharmaceutical or the prescription that you need,” said Archer.

“If you want to go to get your local flu shot, you can go to your local pharmacist. But you can’t do that through a mail order,” he said, adding that a merger would result in higher costs for drugs because the mail-order operations often do not offer generics.

The Federal trade Commission is expected to rule on the merger early next year.

“There is a big issue here that really deserves the attention of the Federal Trade Commission,” said Archer. “From my meeting with the chairman and his direct reports, I walked away believe that at least they are looking it very closely,” he said.

A Senate Subcommittee has hearings scheduled next week.

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