Health insurer Cigna completed its $54 billion acquisition of Express Scripts, which manages the prescription plans of more than 80 million Americans. The announcement continues a trend of large health-care mergers and acquisitions, following CVS Health's takeover of Aetna and Anthem's plan to build its own pharmacy benefits manager.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Cigna CEO David Cordani said new initiatives will take advantage of the two companies' combined access to medical and pharmaceutical data. He also stated that, with the new merger, the company will focus on cost saving, transparency, and "alignment with customers and other patients." Prior to the merger's approval, Express Scripts unveiled a plan that involved passing all rebates and other payments from drug companies directly to employers. Mr. Cordani remarked that the arrangement was "indicative of what we'll be doing more together."
Takeovers like the Cigna-Express Scripts deal have been met with mixed reviews. A survey from the National Business Group on Health earlier this year found that only 26 percent of employers were optimistic about the mergers' success, 56 percent were skeptical they would lead to improvement, and 18 percent worried they would raise costs.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2018.