Healthcare Mergers Continue With Deal for Cigna to Acquire Express Scripts

Cigna has announced that it will acquire Express Scripts in a $67 billion deal. The deal brings health benefits and pharmacy benefits under the same roof and is the latest in a string of acquisitions and mergers as the industry attempts to address health costs.

Cigna has announced that it will acquire Express Scripts in a $67 billion deal.

The deal will consist of $48.75 billion in cash and 0.2434 shares of stock of the combined company per Express Scripts share, according to a press release from Cigna. As part of the acquisition, Cigna will be assuming $15 billion of the pharmacy benefit manager’s debt.

“Cigna’s acquisition of Express Scripts brings together 2 complementary customer-centric services companies, well-positioned to drive greater quality and affordability for customers,” said David M. Cordani, president and chief executive officer, Cigna. “The combination accelerates Cigna’s enterprise mission of improving the health, well-being, and sense of security of those we serve, and in turn, expanding the breadth of services for our customers, partners, clients, health plans, and communities.”

According to Cigna, the acquisition will:

  • Drive greater affordability and connectivity with customers and their health care providers, while making health care simpler.
  • Create an expanded portfolio of health services with greater choice, alignment and value across a proven services platform.
  • Expand distribution of health services for employers, health plans and government agencies.

The deal brings health benefits and pharmacy benefits under the same roof and is the latest in a string of acquisitions and mergers as the industry attempts to address health costs. Just a few months back, CVS Health announced its proposal to purchase Aetna, voicing its intent to “remake the consumer healthcare experience.”

In 2015, Anthem was set to purchase Cigna for $54 billion, less than a month after Aetna announced it was purchasing Humana for $37, leaving the industry preparing to go from 5 big insurers to just 3. Two years later, the proposed mergers fell apart as judges blocked the deals, ruling they would have anticompetitive effects and would be harmful to consumers.

Following the acquisition announcement, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) weighed in with a statement on the the dangers of consolidation in healthcare.

"Consolidation among health care giants leads to fewer choices for patients and plan sponsors,” NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA, said in a statement. “In addition, companies make claims of cost savings that will benefit patients and health plan sponsors, but the available evidence from previous consolidations suggests otherwise."