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Express Scripts investors breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday after the pharmacy benefit manager’s biggest client said it was hoping for an amicable solution to their ongoing legal dispute.
Shares in Express Scripts tumbled nearly 11 per cent earlier this week after the company said US health insurer Anthem plans to move its business when their current contract expires at the end of 2019.
However, the stock bounced back 2.5 per cent on Wednesday after Anthem signalled during its earnings call this morning that there is still a possibility it could stick with Express Scripts.
“We’ve not made a final decision with respect to any vendor,” said chief executive Joe Swedish. “We’ve not ruled anyone in or out. I think that covers the entire spectrum of vendor possibilities and I’ll leave it at that.”
Express Scripts has been in a legal dispute over its contract with Anthem, one of the five large US health insurers, which claimed that the PBM had been overcharging it by billions of dollars. PBMs work as a middleman and negotiates on behalf of health insurers and employers to secure deals on drug prices from pharmaceuticals companies, but the industry has been criticised recently amid claims it keeps too great a share of the savings for itself.
Mr Swedish said on Wednesday that Anthem is hoping for “an amicable resolution” to the legal dispute.
“We did issue the RFP [Request for Proposal for a new PBM service provider] during the first quarter and we expect to receive all responses during the first half of the year,” said Mr Swedish. “It is important to note that we have not ruled anyone in or out as the best strategic option for the company going forward. After we received the responses to the RFP, our pharmacy team will thoroughly and thoughtfully analyze what has been proposed in order to decide how to construct the best pharmacy solution for our members.”
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