Here's an unusual possibility for you to consider.
The National Community Pharmacist's Association (NCPA) is trying to get the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to challenge the 2007 merger that formed CVS Caremark.
Apparently, this is not as far-fetched as you might think, judging by comments from the incoming antitrust chief in a March 16 New York Times article:
"Christine A. Varney, President Obama's pick to run the antitrust unit at the Justice Department, said in her nomination hearings last week that she was "absolutely" open to retrospectively studying the effects of approved mergers… History suggests CVS Caremark, the company created by the 2007 merger of a drugstore chain with a pharmacy benefits manager, could be one of the first cases to be re-examined."
Wow. I had no idea that the government gets a do-over.
NCPA has been publicly pushing for an FTC review of CVS Caremark since at least December. Read NCPA's December 23, 2008, letter to Chairman William Kovacic.
The first reason cited in the NCPA's 2008 letter reads: "CVS Caremark has significantly reduced the copay for members when they fill their long-term prescriptions at CVS pharmacies." Gosh, that idea sounds familiar. Where else have I read something like this? Oh, yeah – right here.
Bruce Roberts' blog post from last Friday (NCPA Meeting With FTC on CVS Caremark) suggests that a meeting with the FTC is imminent, writing: "We're in the process of arranging a meeting during the conference with the new FTC Chairman, Jon Leibowitz, to discuss the anticompetitive and anti-patient practices of CVS Caremark."
I have no idea whether the FTC will (or can) take action, but I've learned not to underestimate the lobbying power of pharmacists.
I'll be off for the rest of the week to break (unleavened) bread with the extended family. If you are similarly inclined, then you'll chuckle at Moses is Departing Egypt: A Facebook Haggadah.
And if you've never heard of Facebook, please turn off your 8-track player and ask the nearest teenager.