The Wall Street Journal reports the
For consumers, this means less competition and more manipulation to raise drug costs higher. It takes us in the wrong direction. The health care market needs more competition, not less.
"Both deals could receive formal antitrust approval as soon as the next few weeks," explains the Journal, citing "people familiar with the matter."
Stock prices for all four companies indicate confidence among shareholders the
If the government allows the mergers, it does so against the advice of nearly all health care professionals who prescribe medication.
Addressing the CVS-
"The proposed merger would likely substantially diminish competition in many healthcare markets to the detriment of patients," the
A substantial component of the mergers involves pharmacy benefit managers. Known as PBMs, an article in the
The three PBMs that control 85 percent of the market are CVS,
"The merger's elimination of
That is academic-speak for potential price colluding and gouging, which we suffer from. Even before the proposed mergers, three PBMs control 85 percent of the market. Three drug wholesalers control 80 percent of the market, and five pharmacy chains control 50 percent of the market. We can't afford less competition than that.
"The nation has learned the hard way that overlooking consolidation in health insurance and PBM markets is costly," the
Three PBMs, the report states, exercise "undue market power against manufacturers and against the health plans and beneficiaries they are supposed to be representing, thus generating outsized profits for themselves... The system encourages manufacturers to set artificially high list prices... Policies to decrease concentration in the PBM market and other segments of the supply can increase competition and further reduce the price of drugs paid by consumers."
The Gazette routinely urges the government to facilitate a more robust and competitive supply of health care -- a supply-side tsunami -- for all the reasons explained recently by the
The Gazette Editorial board
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