Prime-Express Scripts Merger Looks Unlikely Despite New Deal

Prime Therapeutics, the PBM jointly owned by 18 Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, recently entered an agreement with Cigna Corp.-owned PBM Express Scripts to offer Blues plans the option of using Express Scripts’ mail order and specialty pharmacy services. Though experts say a merger of the two PBMs is unlikely, the deal deepens the trend of integration and consolidation across the PBM space and between the two firms, which have shared some joint operations since the end of 2019.

Kyle Skiermont, Pharm.D., Prime’s senior vice president for specialty pharmacy and home delivery, tells AIS Health that the deal’s purpose is to offer Blues plans a choice between Prime’s specialty and mail order pharmacy operations and Express Scripts’ specialty branch, Accredo. Prime has an existing mail order and specialty joint venture with Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., called AllianceRx Walgreens Prime.

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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