PCS Can Be Had, Maybe for Less Than a Year Ago

For the second time in a little over a year, a "for sale" sign hangs on PCS Health Systems, the country's largest pharmacy benefit manager. Rite Aid, the pharmacy chain that bought PCS from Eli Lilly in late 1998, faces a cash-flow crunch, and is willing to listen to offers for it.

Analysts say Rite Aid is unlikely to recover the $1.5 billion it spent on PCS, triggering questions about the value of PBMs. Lilly sold PCS for a third of what it paid for it in 1994.

Rite Aid lost $68 million in its second quarter. Its decision comes before the chain ever got to implement its strategy to free Rite Aid pharmacists — who would be armed with data about PCS's 50-million-plus members — to engage in greater patient counseling and health-related activities.

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