AHF Protests PBM Abuse by Express Scripts ‘Express Scripts Doesn’t Care!’

In Advocacy, Featured, News, Pharmaceutical by Fiona Ip

TODAY – Thursday, November 3rd @ 10:30 am (CST)

– Express Scripts HQ, St. Louis, MO

Healthcare advocates from across the country will protest at the corporate offices of Express Scripts to stand up against the nation’s 2nd largest PBM over unfair charges to, and claw backs from independent pharmacies that negatively impact patient care for those living with HIV and other critical illnesses


Healthcare advocates from across the country affiliated with AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will protest unethical charges and actions by Express Scripts, the pharmacy benefit manager for Cigna, to independent and specialty pharmacies providing the sensitive, lifesaving medical needs of individuals living with HIV and other critical illnesses. The protest will take place TODAY – Thursday, November 3, 2022 in front of Express Script’s corporate headquarters in St. Louis, MO.

Express Scripts, the second largest PBM in the US, controls 24% of the market according to Becker’s Hospital Review. In December, 2018, Cigna paid $67 billion to acquire Express Scripts, making it one of the nation’s largest combination medical insurance companies and PBMs.

WHAT: Health advocates PROTEST Express Scripts
WHERE: Express Scripts Headquarters at 1 Express Way, St. Louis, MO 63121
WHEN: TODAY – Thursday, November 3, 2022. 10:30 a.m. (CST)
WHY: Cigna’s Express Scripts has been unethically, charging arbitrary penalties and fees to independent and specialty pharmacies providing the lifesaving medicines to those living with HIV and other critical illnesses
WHO: 25-30 Healthcare advocates with AHF from across the country
W. Imara Canady, +1.770.940.6555- cell [email protected]

Cigna’s Express Scripts PBM and rivals CVS Caremark and OptumRx have disproportionality impacted access to care for those living with critical illnesses by adding arbitrary penalties and fees to small, independent pharmacies, which has resulted in many patients not having their medicines covered at their pharmacy of choice, thus causing many to fall out of care.

Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), which began as a way to help patients access drugs they need, have spiraled out of control, with just 3 PBMs—CVS Caremark, Cigna’s Express Scripts and OptumRx—now controlling over 75% of the US market.

“Our David and Goliath battle between independent and smaller pharmacies and PBMs continues with this Express Scripts protest in St. Louis on Thursday,” stated Tracy Jones, National Director for Grassroots Mobilization Initiatives for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Cigna’s actions, through Express Scripts, rob specialty and independent pharmacies that many patients depend on, preventing those pharmacies from providing the lifesaving medicines and services patients need. The situation has gotten so out of hand that we must continue to speak out against PBM abuses and health care consolidation to help protect struggling smaller mom and pop and independent pharmacies nationwide.”

A concise 3-minute PBM explainer video neatly distills the complex issue into easily understood language and imagery can be found here: (direct YouTube link).

AHF Pharmacies are vital to AHF’s mission to provide cutting edge medicine and advocacy regardless of the ability to pay. Our pharmacists and staff work tirelessly with AHF medical providers to keep people living with HIV healthy and virally suppressed. PBMs interfere with that model of care. PBMs are parasitic middlemen that bring no value to patients, creating pharmacy deserts across the United States, as they steadily squeeze specialty pharmacies, preventing patients insured by their parent companies from using specialized pharmacies like AHF’s. They also engage in “take or leave it” contracts that force “claw back” payments known cryptically as “direct and indirect renumeration” (DIR) fees.

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