FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. — In separate meetings, shareholders of Medco Health Solutions here and Express Scripts, St. Louis, approved a proposed merger agreement between the two pharmacy benefit managers.
The votes were non-binding. The merger requires Federal Trade Commission approval. The agency is expected to rule on the $29 billion deal in the first or second quarter of 2012. Medco said it expects the transaction to close in the first half of 2012.
The proposed merger is opposed by community pharmacy organizations, including the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, on the grounds it limits competition and patient access to retail pharmacies.
Earlier in 2011, Walgreen Co., Deerfield, Ill., with 7,700 pharmacies in the United States, failed to renew its contract with Express Scripts due to failure to come to an agreement on rates and terms of its contract. As of Jan. 1, Walgreens will not service Express Script patients.