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Express Scripts Holding Company (ESRX - Analyst Report) recently announced that it has acquired the SmartD Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP).

The move is expected to add approximately 87,000 customers which are covered by the plan. Other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal will broaden Express Scripts’ customer base.

We note that Express Scripts is the one of the largest pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) in North America.

PBM services provided by Express Scripts include retail network pharmacy management in the domestic market and Canada, retail drug card programs, home delivery services, benefit design consultation, drug formulary management programs, Medicare Part D and Medicaid products etc.

We remind investors that Express Scripts has been actively pursuing deals and acquisitions to drive growth.

In Apr 2012, Express Scripts acquired healthcare company Medco Health Solutions for $29.1 billion and targeted $1 billion of synergies from the acquisition. The company has combined the best of each organization and more than 75% of the clients are on the best suited platform.

Express Scripts stands to benefit from increased generic utilization, shift toward mail orders, strong specialty growth and an aging population.

We note that Express Scripts’ second quarter results beat expectations. We are also encouraged by the subsequent increase in guidance. However, the introduction of insurance exchanges, additional costly regulations, escalation of brand drug prices and increased specialty drug utilization loom large on the company’s business in the long run.

Currently, Express Scripts carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other stocks which look attractive include Omnicare Inc. (OCR - Snapshot Report), PAREXEL International Corp. (PRXL - Snapshot Report) and ICON Public Limited Co. (ICLR - Snapshot Report).  All three carry a Zacks Rank #2.

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