Opposition to drug benefit merger heats up

Proponents say patients and taxpayers stand to gain as pharmacy benefit managers force pharmacies and other drug distributors to become more efficient. 

The decision lies with the FTC, but lawmakers can bring up politically weighty concerns.

Faced with push-back from lawmakers with powerful pharmacy interests in their districts, Express Scripts has recently hired The Mathis Group and former top House Judiciary staffer Joseph Gibson to lobby on behalf of the merger.

The letter is signed by Reps. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), Rubén Hinojosa (D-Texas), Tom Marino (R-Pa.), McMorris Rodgers, Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Don Young (R-Alaska). It follows similar letters from Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Diana DeGette (D-Col.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Joe Courtney (D-Conn.).