FILE - In this undated file photo provided by Medco Health Solutions, Medco's automated pharmacy is shown in Willingboro, NJ. The country's two largest prescription benefits managers, Express Scripts Inc. and Medco Health Solutions Inc., plan to combine in a $29.1 billion deal they said Thursday, July 21, 2011, will help rein in costs and improve patients' health. (AP Photo/Medco Health Solutions, Inc., file)

A group of Utah pharmacists recently went to Washington, D.C., to express concern about the proposed mega-merger of two pharmacy benefit management companies, Express Scripts and Medco. These two particular pharmacy benefit managers, and others, have paid over $370 million to settle allegations of fraud and deceptive practices. Their union would likely lead to reduced choice, diminished competition and higher drug costs, in some cases putting independent pharmacies out of business.

That's why consumer advocates and local pharmacists oppose the merger and why the Federal Trade Commission, Congress and 28 state attorneys general are scrutinizing it closely. We appreciate the concerns Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, expressed at the hearing on behalf of the more than 200 small business independent community pharmacies that operate in Utah and the patients they serve.

Reed Barker

Salt Lake City