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Cigna’s Express Scripts deal could lead to higher prices

Cigna’s acquisition of pharmacy-benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Company could be a bum deal for consumers.

Cigna CI, -11.45% plans to purchase Express Scripts ESRX, +8.58% for $67 billion, the companies announced Thursday. As the country’s largest independent pharmacy-benefits manager, Express Scripts handles drug price negotiations on behalf of insurers and employers.

The two companies argue that the planned merger would benefit consumers. “We strongly believe the combination of Cigna, a health services company, and Express Scripts, a pharmacy services company, will drive greater affordability,” Cigna said in a statement.

“Together, we will create an expanded portfolio of health services that offers even greater choice and delivers further savings to consumers by connecting individuals more closely to their health care providers, which will reduce complexity and create better outcomes,” it added.

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