FTC waves stop sign at Omnicare deal

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The Federal Trade Commission has filed suit over Omnicare's bid to grab PharMerica.

The FTC's suit, filed in late January, was not unexpected. The commission asserted that the two merged companies would control 57% of the pharmacy services in the long-term care market.

The suit says competition would suffer, and potentially result in higher prices for Medicare-covered drugs.

“If Omnicare is allowed to purchase its biggest and only national competitor, it will diminish competition and raise healthcare costs — leaving taxpayers and patients to foot the bill,” Richard Feinstein, director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition, said in a statement.

PharMerica said it supported the FTC lawsuit.

“We are pleased the FTC has made a prompt decision to resolve the competitive issues surrounding Omnicare's attempted hostile takeover of PharMerica Corporation,” said PharMerica CEO Gregory S. Weishar.

Omnicare made a public offer to buy PharMerica for $715 million in September. Each company operates in 40-plus states, with Omnicare  owning 200 long-term care pharmacies and PharMerica 97.