Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports,1 offers this testimony on the proposed acquisition of Express Scripts Holding Company (“Express Scripts”) by Cigna Corporation (“Cigna”). From its founding over 80 years ago, Consumer Reports has worked for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers, and to empower consumers to protect themselves. One of our top priorities has always been to make high quality healthcare available and affordable for all Americans. One key to empowering consumers to protect themselves is ensuring meaningful consumer choice, through effective competition.
We have, as an organization, voiced concerns on a number of occasions when we believed a proposed merger was likely to harm consumers. In California, we urged our insurance and health plan regulators to oppose such mergers and, prior to the finalization of any merger, to institute robust contractual undertakings that safeguard the public interest. Nationally, we support active antitrust enforcement to promote and preserve competition in all parts of the healthcare marketplace, including hospitals, medical practices, health insurers, and pharmaceutical manufacturers.
In our written testimony below, we call to the Department’s attention that: (I) most consumers affected by this merger have limited choice or “power of the purse”; (II) the market needs more PBMs, not fewer – this vertical merger does not help address any competition concerns; (III) this merger may benefit the merging parties, but the value for consumers is far from clear.