February 28, 2018 / 2:52 PM / 3 months ago

Express Scripts would look at Medicare pharmacy drug plan deals: CEO

(Reuters) - Express Scripts Holding Co will take a look at any Medicare pharmacy drug plans up for sale including those of Aetna Inc or CVS Health Corp, Express Scripts’ chief executive officer said on Wednesday, as its rivals seek antitrust approvals for their $69 billion deal.

CEO Tim Wentworth was speaking to Wall Street analysts about the company’s interest in expanding managing pharmacy benefits under the federal Medicare program for older or disabled people a day after the company reported higher fourth-quarter profit.

“If a meaningful book of business is coming to the market, we would take a look,” Wentworth said.

Analysts have speculated that CVS and Aetna will need to sell some plans to please antitrust regulators.

The CVS-Aetna combination would lower costs and offer more competitive Part D Medicare drug plans, CVS spokesman David Palombi said.

    The deal is “a complementary transaction with minimal overlap in the Medicare Part D segment and there are many large and significant competitors that offer Part D plans,” Palombi said.

    Aetna declined to comment.

    Express Scripts (ESRX.O) shares fell 2.3 percent to $76.64 while CVS (CVS.N) added 0.1 percent at $68.30, and Aetna (AET.N) was up 0.6 percent at $177.37 in morning trading.

    (This story corrects to fourth quarter from first quarter in second paragraph)

    Reporting by Caroline Humer in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe

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