After the Great Recession of 2008, merger and acquisition activity in the U.S. declined greatly. We saw an upswing in merger activity in 2011 as the economy started to recover, but recovery has stalled a bit in 2012 and so have mergers. There has been one quite significant merger in 2012 in the health care industry and anything that happens in health care, small business owners should pay attention to. Two of the nation's largest pharmacy benefits managers, Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions merged in April 2012.
A merger happens when one company buys another one for one of many reasons. My latest article on mergers and acquisitions looks at some of those reasons. In the case of Express Scripts and Medco, they told the public that the merger was for reasons of operating efficiencies and would result in cost savings to the public. However, from the outside looking in, it looks like that what will really happen is that competition in this industry will be reduced and costs to consumers may very well go up. The Federal Trade Commission approved the merger, though not unanimously.