ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Feb. 24, 2022) – The National Community Pharmacists Association is cheering today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice that it is initiating litigation to block the consummation of UnitedHealth Group’s acquisition of data giant Change Healthcare. In September 2021, after meeting with the DOJ, NCPA publicly called for DOJ to block the merger, saying it would create an unfair competitive advantage for a company that is already dominant. The organization has since repeatedly raised concerns with the DOJ and the Federal Trade Commission about this proposed acquisition and the broader vertical consolidation in the industry. UnitedHealth Group’s access to the Change Healthcare “switch,” eRx, would be devastating to patients and independent pharmacies, NCPA says.
Reacting to DOJ’s actions, NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist, MBA, says:
“A vertically integrated UnitedHealth-Change would have been a threat to fair competition, patient choice, and independent pharmacies. We’re pleased DOJ has heard and is responding to our concerns, along with those also shared by other organizations. There is far more for agencies like the DOJ and FTC, Congress, and state policymakers to act on in order to rein in PBMs and create a fairer, more competitive health care marketplace for consumers, but stopping this merger is significant progress.”
Founded in 1898, the National Community Pharmacists Association is the voice for the community pharmacist, representing nearly 19,400 pharmacies that employ approximately 215,000 individuals nationwide. Community pharmacies are rooted in the communities where they are located and are among America’s most accessible health care providers. To learn more, visit www.ncpa.org.