FTC moves to block takeover of PharMer­ica by Om­ni­care

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

The Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion filed a law­suit to block Om­ni­care’s hos­tile takeover of ri­val in­sti­tu­tional phar­macy provider Pharmer­ica Corp. The FTC com­plaint al­leges that the com­bined longterm-care phar­ma­cies would harm com­pe­ti­tion and could al­low Om­ni­care to raise the drug prices for the 1.6 mil­lion ben­e­fi­cia­ries who re­side in skilled-nurs­ing fa­cil­i­ties and are cov­ered by Medi­care Part D plans. Om­ni­care, based in Cov­ing­ton, Ky., and Pharmer­ica are the two largest in­sti­tu­tional phar­macy com­pa­nies in the U.S. based on rev­enue. Con­cern about an­titrust scru­tiny has been a key is­sue in Pharmer­ica’s op­po­si­tion to the deal. The CMS said the pro­posed ac­qui­si­tion “ap­pears likely to re­sult in higher re­im­burse­ment rates” and could “in­crease the cost to CMS (and there­fore the U.S. gov­ern­ment and U.S. tax­pay­ers) as well as any in­di­vid­u­als who pay out-of­pocket costs in con­nec­tion with such ser­vices,” ac­cord­ing to an FTC news re­lease. The FTC al­leges that the com­bined com­pany would ser­vice roughly 57% of the li­censed skilled-nurs­ing fa­cil­ity beds in the U.S. “Even be­fore the trans­ac­tion, Om­ni­care has been able to use its size to ex­ert bar­gain­ing lever­age over Part D health plans by threat­en­ing to ter­mi­nate con­tracts if its terms are not met,” the FTC said in the re­lease. Om­ni­care said in a state­ment that the com­pany dis­agrees “with the FTC’S claim for the need to pro­tect in­sur­ance com­pa­nies as a re­sult of this com­bi­na­tion” and that the “in­sti­tu­tional phar­macy busi­ness is com­pet­i­tive” and “would re­main so af­ter the trans­ac­tion.”

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