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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

U.S. FTC to watch pharmacy benefits companies, drug firms, (NYSE: CVS)

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission plans to keep a close eye on pharmacy benefits managers - companies which manage prescription drug programs - after approving two big mergers in recent years, commissioners said during a wide ranging congressional hearing on Tuesday. The commission, whose role is to protect fair competition, approved Express Scripts' merger with Medco Health Solutions in 2012, with one member dissenting, after giving the green light for CVS to purchase Caremark in 2007.The combined company, now CVS Caremark has since come under fire for practices including using confidential information on Caremark patients to steer them to CVS.Asked if the commission planned to revisit the pharmacy benefits management industry, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said, "We're aware of the concerns and this is an area that we're going to look at closely."She made the remarks at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade which focused on the FTC's impact on jobs and the economy.

CVS Caremark Corporation (CVS Caremark), together with its subsidiaries, is a pharmacy health care provider in the United States. Shares of CVS fell by 0.01% or $-0.0099/share to $66.64. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $45.81 and as high as $67.64. On average, 5611790 shares of CVS exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 3460393.