In the latest in the wave of healthcare consolidations, health insurance provider Cigna announced that it will purchase the largest pharmacy benefits manager (PBM), Express Scripts, for $52B in cash and stock.
Both companies are on the rebound: Antitrust regulators blocked Cigna’s attempt to buy Anthem for $48B last year, and Anthem dumped Express Scripts as a partner last October in favor of launching their own pharmacy business.
Everyone’s sweating the new kids on the block
Back in February, Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway), and Jamie Dimon (JPMorgan Chase) announced their mission to launch a healthcare company, so this deal could be a way for Cigna and Express Scripts to avoid being swallowed by the wave o’ Bezos.
The mega-deal would mark yet another PBM teaming up with a major insurer to cut expenses, but the splurge in mergers has regulators poring over deals.
A spoonful of savings makes the merger go down
Cigna and Express Scripts say the acquisition would allow them to lower drug costs by connecting patients’ medical and pharmacy histories — but the ball’s in the US government’s court to determine whether this will save consumers money, not just the providers.
Meanwhile, the 3 healthcare amigos are giving providers a taste of their own medicine.