The U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit opposing UnitedHealth Group’s takeover of Change Healthcare is an effort to protect patients, competition, and taxpayers, officials with American Pharmacy Cooperative, Inc. (APCI) said today.
APCI has long held that the acquisition would be bad for patients, providers, and taxpayers. In a Sept. 29, 2021, letter to the Justice Department, APCI not only opposed the proposed acquisition but also called for greater scrutiny of UHG and its pharmacy benefit manager subsidiary Optum, including treatment and use of healthcare data and any actions taken to steer business into their market channels either directly or through affiliates.
The DOJ sued in federal court on Feb. 24 to block the $13 billion acquisition, arguing that the deal would provide UnitedHealth with patient information that it could use against competitors. The states of Minnesota and New York joined the Justice Department in the lawsuit.
“Independent pharmacy has seen first-hand the havoc of horizontal and vertical integration has wrought in the prescription drug market leading to reduced competition, reduced patient choice, and rising drug prices for patients at the counter. That is why APCI felt compelled to engage on the issue and we are heartened to see the DOJ take steps to protect competition and to protect patients. The American health care system will benefit if the suit succeeds,” said Greg Reybold, Director of Healthcare Policy and General Counsel at APCI. “I applaud the Justice Department for taking action in this case.”
“We are swinging at the biggest of issues on behalf of our patients, our members, and independent pharmacy,” added Bill Eley, APCI’s Director of Legislative Affairs. “I’m grateful for APCI’s leadership allowing us to fully engage on issues such as anti-competitive practices at all levels of federal and state government, and it is heartening to see the Department of Justice responding to concerns about the negative effects that would result from UHG’s takeover of Change Healthcare.”
APCI is a member-owned cooperative of 1,700 member pharmacies in 30 states. Established in 1984 and headquartered in Bessemer, Ala., APCI’s mission is to protect and promote the interests of independent pharmacy. APCI enables its member pharmacies to improve their positions in a competitive marketplace with an extensive offering of exceptional services and comprehensive programs.