Shedding Its Solo Status, NPA to Join Express Scripts

Article excerpt

Shortly after Merck announced it is spinning off Medco (see first story), another development reverberated throughout the pharmacy benefit management industry. Express Scripts reported it would acquire National Prescription Administrators and some of its businesses for $514 million. The acquisition will subsume NPA-- which has often touted itself as being the largest privately held independent PBM-under the publicly traded Express Scripts.

In a Web cast explaining the acquisition, Barrett Toan, chairman and CEO of Express Scripts, said he knew Richard Ullman, CEO and sole owner of NPA, and the deal was negotiated privately with him.

With NPA under its umbrella, Express Scripts will provide PBM services to more than 50 million members-making it still the No. 3 PBM in size, following Advance-- PCS and Merck-Medco. Nevertheless, experts believe the merger makes sense since it expands Express Scripts' geographic coverage. St. Louis-based Express Scripts is strong in the Midwest, while NPA, headquartered in East Hanover, N.J., is active in the Northeast.

NPA also serves a clientele different from that of Express Scripts. The former has contracts with city employees, municipalities, and union members, while the latter caters primarily to insurers and large employers.

According to Perry Cohen, a managed care consultant and principal of The Pharmacy Group LLC, Glastonbury, Conn. …