Express Scripts' Stock Turns Sharply Lower; CEO Says Drug Pricing Debate 'is Not Going Away'

By Tomi KilgoreMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

Shares of Express Scripts Holding Co. turned sharply lower Wednesday, falling 4.1% in morning trade, after Chief Executive Timothy Wentworth said in a conference call with analysts that debate over drug pricing would not go away. Earlier, the stock rose as much as 1.1% in premarket trade, after the pharmacy benefit manager affirmed its 2016 adjusted earnings outlook and provided an in-line outlook for 2017. When asked by J.P. Morgan analyst Lisa Gill whether he had heard anything out of D.C. that could be potentially negative for the company or the industry, Wentworth said that while it was still early, he had not seen anything to cause him to be hugely concerned, according to a transcript provided by FactSet. He if there was a complete change of the Affordable Care Act, they would see a transition of members, as the company has business in the exchanges, but that the company regularly helps clients transition members. "I can't point to anything that right now beyond the overarching conversation about drug pricing," Wentworth said, according to the FactSet transcript. "And there is no question in my mind that that conversation is not going to go away, and that we need to demonstrate using both our tools, but our clients' voice as well to demonstrate that." The stock has tumbled 20% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 11%.

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