The AAI and the ACI, as well as Preserve Community Pharmacy Access Now, which bills itself as a coalition of consumers, businesses and community-based pharmacists, said during a conference call with reporters that the FTC should block the deal.
“There are few mergers as anticompetitive as this merger,” antitrust lawyer David Balto said during the call.
Balto said one reason why consumers should oppose the deal is that the merger could negatively impact $4 generic drug programs. The programs are offered by companies like Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens and Kroger. Another reason, he said, is the potential loss of access to community pharmacies.
A number of consumer groups have publicly opposed the deal. Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access, an association that represents 800 hospitals that qualify for or participate in the 340B program, said last month that it opposes the merger due to concerns about the increased risk of “discriminatory reimbursement of 340B pharmacies.”
Last week, Bloomberg reported that attorneys general in California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas may file suit if the FTC approves the merger.
On Thursday, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association, and nine retail pharmacy companies filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania against the proposed merger.