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Open Forum: Merger would work

Combining Express Scripts and Medco is an opportunity for two leading pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to apply private sector know-how to solve our country’s biggest health care challenge: lowering cost while raising quality.

By joining complementary strengths, the proposed merger will benefit the nation’s patients, employers and managed care plans, leading to safer and more affordable medicines for American families.

PBMs play a central role within the American health care ecosystem. We drive out pharmacy fraud, waste and abuse while lowering costs and improving health outcomes. We increase adherence to prescribed medicines, proactively identify and correct prescription errors and ensure cost-effective delivery of medicines. Our efforts save billions of dollars and extend millions of lives. In Minnesota alone over the past 10 years, PBMs have produced $21.2 billion in savings for employer plans plus $11.6 billion for Medicare Part D, according to the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association.

Let’s also be clear about another point: neighborhood pharmacies have been and always will be essential partners in advancing our mission. More than 60,000 pharmacies of all sizes and locations have chosen to participate in our retail network, including 90 percent of all independent pharmacies. PBMs help pharmacies by providing benefits of technology, instant adjudication of prescriptions, restoration of data in disaster areas, and notifications of harmful interactions and contraindications.

As a combined company, we’ll collaborate with pharmacies, physicians and benefit plan sponsors to further improve America’s healthcare beyond what either company can do on its own. Express Scripts and Medco have well-established histories of doing what’s right for patients. The merger would accelerate our ability to do even more.

Steven Miller, M.D.

Chief medical officer

Express Scripts Inc.

St. Louis, Mo.