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Company > Express Scripts: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Express Scripts: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Published: Jan 22, 2023

Inside This Article


    In this blog article, we will delve into the business model of Express Scripts, a renowned pharmacy benefit management company. We will explore the key aspects of their operations and how they have positioned themselves in the market. Additionally, a comprehensive SWOT analysis will be conducted to assess their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Furthermore, we will identify and analyze their major competitors, highlighting the potential challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Express Scripts in the year 2023.

    What You Will Learn:

    • Who owns Express Scripts and the importance of understanding the ownership structure of a company.
    • The mission statement of Express Scripts and its significance in guiding the company's operations and goals.
    • How Express Scripts generates revenue and the various avenues through which it makes money.
    • An explanation of the Business Model Canvas specific to Express Scripts, providing insights into its key activities, resources, and value proposition.
    • Identification of the major competitors of Express Scripts and an understanding of the competitive landscape in the pharmacy benefit management industry.
    • An overview of the SWOT analysis of Express Scripts, highlighting its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, enabling a comprehensive understanding of the company's position in the market.

    Who owns Express Scripts?

    Overview of Express Scripts

    Express Scripts is a leading pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company in the United States. PBMs act as intermediaries between health insurance providers, pharmacies, and patients. They negotiate drug prices, manage prescription drug plans, and facilitate the distribution of medications.

    Publicly Traded Company

    Express Scripts was a publicly traded company until 2018 when it was acquired by Cigna Corporation, a global health services organization. The acquisition was completed in December 2018, with Cigna purchasing all outstanding shares of Express Scripts for approximately $67 billion.

    Cigna Corporation

    Cigna Corporation is a Fortune 500 company that provides a wide range of health services, including medical, dental, pharmacy, and behavioral health. By acquiring Express Scripts, Cigna aimed to create a more comprehensive and integrated healthcare company, enhancing its ability to serve the needs of its customers.


    As a publicly traded company, the ownership of Express Scripts was distributed among various shareholders. These shareholders consisted of institutional investors, such as mutual funds, pension funds, and investment firms, as well as individual retail investors who purchased shares of Express Scripts on stock exchanges.

    Impact of Acquisition

    The acquisition of Express Scripts by Cigna Corporation resulted in significant changes in the ownership structure. Following the acquisition, the shareholders of Express Scripts became shareholders of Cigna Corporation, and the value of their holdings was determined by the stock price of Cigna.


    While Express Scripts was previously a publicly traded company, it is now owned by Cigna Corporation. This acquisition has allowed Cigna to expand its services and create a more integrated healthcare company. The ownership of Express Scripts is now determined by the ownership of Cigna Corporation, with shareholders of Express Scripts becoming shareholders of Cigna.

    What is the mission statement of Express Scripts?

    Express Scripts is a pharmacy benefit management company that operates with a clear mission statement. Their mission is to make the use of prescription drugs safer and more affordable for their clients and members. With a commitment to delivering high-quality healthcare solutions, Express Scripts aims to simplify the complexities of the pharmacy system and provide optimal access to prescription medications.

    The Focus on Safety

    One of the key elements of Express Scripts' mission statement is the emphasis on safety. They strive to ensure that the medications their clients and members use are safe and effective. By implementing rigorous safety protocols and leveraging advanced technologies, Express Scripts works to minimize the risks associated with prescription drugs.

    Express Scripts employs a team of dedicated pharmacists and clinical experts who review and assess the safety profiles of various medications. They constantly monitor the latest advancements in pharmaceutical research and collaborate with healthcare professionals to identify potential risks and develop appropriate strategies to mitigate them. This focus on safety extends to all aspects of their operations, from prescription processing to medication delivery.

    Affordability as a Priority

    Another crucial aspect of Express Scripts' mission statement is the commitment to affordability. They understand the financial burden that prescription medications can impose on individuals and families, and they strive to make these drugs more cost-effective. Express Scripts achieves this by negotiating favorable pricing agreements with pharmaceutical manufacturers and leveraging their vast network of pharmacies to secure lower prices for their clients and members.

    Additionally, Express Scripts promotes the use of generic drugs whenever possible, as they are typically more affordable than brand-name medications. They actively educate healthcare providers and members about the benefits of generics and encourage their utilization to reduce healthcare costs. By optimizing medication choices and ensuring cost-effective options, Express Scripts aims to alleviate the financial strain of prescription drugs for their clients and members.

    Simplifying the Pharmacy Experience

    Express Scripts recognizes the complexities and challenges individuals face when navigating the pharmacy system. Their mission statement highlights their commitment to simplifying this experience for their clients and members. They strive to streamline processes, eliminate unnecessary paperwork, and provide user-friendly tools and resources to enhance convenience and accessibility.

    Through their online platform and mobile applications, Express Scripts offers a range of services designed to simplify medication management. These include features such as medication reminders, online prescription refills, and access to personalized health information. By leveraging technology and constantly innovating their services, Express Scripts aims to empower their clients and members to take control of their healthcare journey, making it more efficient and hassle-free.

    In conclusion, Express Scripts' mission statement revolves around the core principles of safety, affordability, and simplification. They are dedicated to ensuring the safe use of prescription drugs, making them more affordable, and simplifying the pharmacy experience for their clients and members. By adhering to this mission, Express Scripts strives to improve the overall healthcare outcomes and wellbeing of their stakeholders.

    How does Express Scripts make money?

    Overview of Express Scripts

    Express Scripts is a leading pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company that plays a crucial role in the healthcare industry. As a PBM, Express Scripts works as an intermediary between health insurers, pharmacies, and patients, managing prescription drug benefits on behalf of its clients. The company provides services such as formulary management, claims processing, home delivery pharmacy, and specialty pharmacy services. With a vast network of retail pharmacies, mail-order pharmacies, and specialty pharmacies, Express Scripts ensures that patients have access to affordable, safe, and effective medications.

    Revenue Streams

    Express Scripts generates revenue through various channels, primarily driven by its core PBM operations. Let's take a closer look at the key revenue streams that contribute to the company's financial success:

    Pharmacy Benefit Management Services

    Express Scripts earns a significant portion of its revenue by providing pharmacy benefit management services to health insurers, employers, government programs, and other clients. These services include formulary management, utilization management, claims processing, and pharmacy network management. By negotiating drug prices and rebates with pharmaceutical manufacturers, Express Scripts helps control costs for its clients while ensuring access to necessary medications.

    Specialty Pharmacy Services

    Express Scripts operates a specialty pharmacy division that focuses on providing medications for complex, chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The company offers personalized support, medication adherence programs, and clinical expertise to patients with these specialized needs. Revenue is generated through the sale of specialty medications and associated services, including patient education, therapy management, and reimbursement assistance.

    Home Delivery Pharmacy

    With the rise of e-commerce and convenience-driven healthcare, Express Scripts has capitalized on the growing demand for home delivery pharmacy services. Through its mail-order pharmacy, the company delivers prescription medications directly to patients' homes, ensuring cost savings and convenience. Revenue is generated through prescription sales, shipping fees, and additional services like medication synchronization and automatic refills.

    Other Services and Programs

    Express Scripts continues to diversify its revenue streams by offering additional services and programs. For instance, the company provides clinical solutions to help optimize medication therapy and improve patient outcomes. Express Scripts also offers consulting and analytics services to help clients better manage their pharmacy benefit programs. Additionally, the company has ventured into digital health solutions, leveraging technology to enhance medication adherence, patient engagement, and overall health outcomes.


    Express Scripts generates revenue through its core pharmacy benefit management services, specialty pharmacy division, home delivery pharmacy, and various other services and programs. By leveraging its expertise, extensive network, and cost-controlling strategies, Express Scripts plays a vital role in ensuring affordable access to medications for millions of patients while supporting the financial goals of its clients.

    Express Scripts Business Model Canvas Explained

    Introduction to Express Scripts

    Express Scripts is a leading pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company in the United States. With a mission to make healthcare more accessible and affordable, Express Scripts plays a crucial role in the healthcare industry by connecting patients, pharmacies, and healthcare providers. Their business model revolves around optimizing prescription drug benefits and providing innovative solutions to manage healthcare costs effectively.

    Key Partnerships

    Express Scripts establishes strategic partnerships with various stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem. These partnerships are essential for the smooth functioning of their business model. Key partners include health insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, retail pharmacies, and healthcare providers. By collaborating with these partners, Express Scripts aims to maximize the value they deliver to their customers and drive mutual growth.

    Key Activities

    Express Scripts engages in several key activities to fulfill its mission and deliver value to its customers. These activities include:

    1. Prescription Benefit Management: Express Scripts leverages its expertise in managing prescription drug benefits to optimize the drug utilization and cost for patients and payers. They negotiate with pharmaceutical manufacturers to secure favorable pricing and formularies, ensuring access to affordable medications.

    2. Specialty Pharmacy Services: Express Scripts offers specialized pharmacy services for patients with complex, chronic conditions. These services include personalized medication management, home delivery, and counseling to improve medication adherence and overall health outcomes.

    3. Data Analytics and Insights: With access to vast amounts of data, Express Scripts utilizes advanced analytics to identify trends, patterns, and cost drivers in healthcare. These insights enable them to develop targeted strategies and interventions to control costs and improve patient outcomes.

    4. Technology and Innovation: Express Scripts continuously invests in technology and innovation to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their services. They develop user-friendly digital platforms and mobile applications that streamline prescription management, medication adherence, and healthcare engagement.

    Customer Segments

    Express Scripts serves a wide range of customer segments, including:

    1. Health Insurance Companies: Express Scripts partners with health insurance companies to manage their prescription drug benefits and provide cost-effective solutions. By optimizing medication utilization, Express Scripts helps insurance companies reduce overall healthcare costs.

    2. Employers and Organizations: Many large employers and organizations rely on Express Scripts to administer their employee prescription benefit plans. Express Scripts offers customized solutions to meet the unique needs of each employer, ensuring their employees have access to affordable medications.

    3. Individuals: Express Scripts also serves individual consumers directly through their home delivery pharmacy services. By providing convenient access to medications at lower costs, Express Scripts helps individuals manage their healthcare expenses and improve medication adherence.

    Key Resources

    To execute its business model effectively, Express Scripts relies on various key resources, including:

    1. Network of Pharmacies: Express Scripts has partnerships with a vast network of retail pharmacies across the country. These partnerships enable them to provide convenient access to medications for their customers.

    2. Technological Infrastructure: Express Scripts heavily relies on its technological infrastructure to manage and process prescription claims, track medication utilization, and deliver personalized services to customers.

    3. Data and Analytics: The extensive data and advanced analytics capabilities of Express Scripts are critical resources for identifying cost-saving opportunities, improving patient outcomes, and developing evidence-based strategies.


    Express Scripts' business model revolves around optimizing prescription drug benefits, driving healthcare cost savings, and improving patient outcomes. By leveraging strategic partnerships, engaging in key activities, and utilizing essential resources, Express Scripts plays a vital role in shaping the future of pharmacy benefit management in the United States. Through their innovative solutions and commitment to making healthcare more accessible, Express Scripts continues to have a significant impact on the healthcare industry.

    Which companies are the competitors of Express Scripts?

    CVS Health

    One of the biggest competitors of Express Scripts is CVS Health. As a leading pharmacy and healthcare company, CVS Health offers a wide range of services, including pharmacy benefit management (PBM) through its subsidiary, CVS Caremark. Like Express Scripts, CVS Health works with employers, health plans, and government programs to manage prescription drug benefits and improve medication adherence. CVS Health also operates a large network of retail pharmacies, providing convenient access to medications for their customers.


    Another key competitor of Express Scripts is OptumRx, which is part of UnitedHealth Group. OptumRx is one of the largest pharmacy benefit managers in the United States and offers comprehensive PBM services to various clients. With a focus on cost-effective medication management and innovative solutions, OptumRx competes with Express Scripts in serving employers, health plans, and government entities. OptumRx also leverages its parent company's extensive healthcare resources and data analytics capabilities to provide personalized pharmacy care.

    Cigna Pharmacy Management

    Cigna Pharmacy Management is the PBM division of the global health service company, Cigna. They offer integrated pharmacy benefit management solutions and aim to improve health outcomes while controlling costs. With their broad network of pharmacies and focus on customer-centric care, Cigna Pharmacy Management competes with Express Scripts by providing comprehensive PBM services to employers and health plans. Cigna's overall healthcare expertise and extensive provider network further contribute to their competitive position in the market.

    Prime Therapeutics

    Prime Therapeutics is a pharmacy benefit management company owned by a consortium of Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans. They specialize in collaborating with health plans to manage prescription drug benefits and optimize medication therapy. As a competitor to Express Scripts, Prime Therapeutics focuses on delivering cost-effective solutions, enhancing member experience, and promoting medication adherence. Their close relationship with Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans provides them with a significant customer base and market presence.

    MedImpact Healthcare Systems

    MedImpact Healthcare Systems is a privately held PBM that operates nationwide in the United States. They work with employers, health plans, and government programs to provide pharmacy benefit management solutions, including formulary management, clinical programs, and analytics. As a competitor to Express Scripts, MedImpact emphasizes their commitment to reducing healthcare costs, improving patient outcomes, and simplifying the medication management process. Their tailored solutions and focus on customer satisfaction contribute to their competitiveness in the PBM market.

    Overall, Express Scripts faces significant competition from established players in the pharmacy benefit management industry, such as CVS Health, OptumRx, Cigna Pharmacy Management, Prime Therapeutics, and MedImpact Healthcare Systems. These companies offer similar services, including prescription drug benefit management and medication adherence programs, and compete based on their network strength, customer service, cost-effectiveness, and innovative solutions.

    Express Scripts SWOT Analysis


    • Market Leader: Express Scripts is one of the largest pharmacy benefit management companies in the United States. It has a strong market presence and serves millions of customers, including individuals, employers, and government entities.
    • Extensive Network: The company has built an extensive network of pharmacies and healthcare providers, allowing it to provide a wide range of prescription drugs and services to its customers.
    • Strong Financial Performance: Express Scripts has consistently delivered strong financial results. Its revenue growth and profitability have been impressive, which indicates a solid financial foundation.


    • Dependence on PBM Model: Express Scripts primarily operates as a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), which means it relies heavily on contracts with pharmaceutical manufacturers and health insurance companies. This dependence may limit its ability to diversify its revenue streams and increase its vulnerability to any changes in the PBM industry.
    • Customer Dissatisfaction: In recent years, Express Scripts has faced criticism from some customers regarding issues such as prescription drug pricing and delivery delays. These negative experiences have led to a decline in customer satisfaction and could potentially impact the company's reputation.


    • Increasing Demand for Prescription Drugs: The demand for prescription drugs continues to rise due to factors such as an aging population and the prevalence of chronic diseases. This presents an opportunity for Express Scripts to expand its customer base and increase its revenue by tapping into this growing market.
    • Technological Advancements: Advances in technology, such as telemedicine and digital health platforms, have the potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry. Express Scripts can leverage these technological advancements to provide innovative solutions and enhance its services, thus gaining a competitive edge.


    • Regulatory Changes: The healthcare industry is highly regulated, and any changes in regulations can significantly impact the operations of pharmacy benefit managers like Express Scripts. New legislation or policies related to drug pricing, healthcare reform, or insurance coverage could pose a threat to the company's business model.
    • Competitive Landscape: Express Scripts operates in a highly competitive market, facing competition from other PBMs, health insurance companies, and retail pharmacies. The intense competition can put pressure on pricing and margins, potentially impacting the company's profitability.

    Overall, Express Scripts has several strengths, such as its market leadership and extensive network, but also faces weaknesses, including dependence on the PBM model and customer dissatisfaction. However, there are opportunities to leverage increasing demand for prescription drugs and technological advancements. On the other hand, threats such as regulatory changes and a competitive landscape pose challenges to the company. Understanding these factors is crucial for a comprehensive analysis of Express Scripts' position in the market.

    Key Takeaways

    • Express Scripts is owned by Cigna Corporation, one of the largest health services organizations in the United States.
    • The mission statement of Express Scripts is to make the use of prescription drugs safer and more affordable for its customers.
    • Express Scripts primarily makes money by providing pharmacy benefit management services to clients, including negotiating drug prices, processing claims, and managing prescription benefits.
    • The business model canvas of Express Scripts focuses on key activities such as customer acquisition and retention, pharmaceutical sourcing and distribution, and utilization management.
    • Competitors of Express Scripts include CVS Health, OptumRx, and Prime Therapeutics, among others.
    • In a SWOT analysis, Express Scripts' strengths include its extensive network, strong market position, and technological capabilities. Weaknesses include potential conflicts of interest and regulatory challenges. Opportunities lie in the growing demand for healthcare services, while threats include competition and changing healthcare policies.


    In conclusion, Express Scripts is a leading pharmacy benefit management company that plays a crucial role in the healthcare industry. As for ownership, it was acquired by Cigna Corporation in 2018, making it a subsidiary of the larger entity. The mission statement of Express Scripts revolves around making the use of prescription drugs safer and more affordable for individuals and communities.

    Express Scripts generates its revenue through various sources, including pharmacy network management, clinical services, specialty pharmacy services, and home delivery pharmacy services. By leveraging its extensive network and technology platforms, the company ensures efficient and cost-effective prescription drug management for its clients and customers.

    Analyzing Express Scripts' business model canvas provides insights into the key activities, resources, and partnerships that drive its success. From managing drug utilization to optimizing costs, the company focuses on delivering value to its stakeholders while maintaining high-quality services.

    In terms of competition, Express Scripts faces rivalry from several other pharmacy benefit management companies, such as CVS Health, OptumRx, and Prime Therapeutics. These competitors operate in a similar space and constantly strive to gain market share by offering innovative solutions and cost-saving strategies.

    Lastly, conducting a SWOT analysis of Express Scripts highlights its strengths, such as its vast network and technological capabilities, as well as weaknesses, such as potential dependence on key clients. Opportunities lie in expanding into new markets and diversifying service offerings, while threats include regulatory changes and increasing competition.

    Overall, Express Scripts has established itself as a leader in the pharmacy benefit management industry, aiming to improve healthcare outcomes and reduce costs for individuals and communities. With its strong mission, diverse revenue streams, and strategic positioning, the company continues to navigate the evolving healthcare landscape and contribute to a more accessible and efficient pharmacy ecosystem.


    How do you present a SWOT analysis script?

    Presenting a SWOT analysis script can be done in a clear and organized manner to effectively communicate the findings. Here is a suggested structure for presenting a SWOT analysis script:

    1. Introduction:

      • Start by introducing the purpose of the SWOT analysis, which is to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to a specific subject (company, project, product, etc.).
      • Briefly explain how the SWOT analysis was conducted, including the data collection methods, sources, and participants involved.
    2. Strengths:

      • Present the identified strengths of the subject, which are internal factors that contribute positively to its success.
      • Provide specific examples or evidence to support each strength.
      • Highlight the key strengths that differentiate the subject from its competitors or give it a competitive advantage.
    3. Weaknesses:

      • Discuss the identified weaknesses of the subject, which are internal factors that hinder its performance or pose challenges.
      • Again, provide specific examples or evidence to support each weakness.
      • Discuss the impact of these weaknesses on the subject's overall performance or potential growth.
    4. Opportunities:

      • Present the identified opportunities for the subject, which are external factors that can be leveraged to its advantage.
      • Highlight potential market trends, emerging technologies, or other favorable factors that the subject can capitalize on.
      • Explain how these opportunities align with the subject's strengths and can help overcome its weaknesses.
    5. Threats:

      • Discuss the identified threats to the subject, which are external factors that may negatively impact its performance or pose risks.
      • Identify potential challenges such as competition, changing customer preferences, economic factors, or regulatory changes.
      • Analyze the potential consequences of these threats and their impact on the subject's growth or sustainability.
    6. Conclusion:

      • Summarize the key findings of the SWOT analysis, emphasizing the most significant aspects.
      • Provide recommendations based on the analysis, suggesting strategies to capitalize on strengths, address weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities, and mitigate threats.
      • Encourage discussion and invite questions or feedback from the audience.

    Remember to prepare visual aids such as slides or handouts to support your presentation and make the information more accessible and engaging.

    Who is the target audience of Express Scripts?

    The target audience of Express Scripts is primarily healthcare providers, employers, health plans, and individual consumers.

    What is the mission statement of Express Scripts?

    Express Scripts' mission statement is: "To improve lives by making healthcare safer, more affordable, and accessible for millions of people."

    What is SWOT analysis of healthcare systems?

    SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a particular entity or organization. When applied to healthcare systems, SWOT analysis helps to assess the internal and external factors that can impact the system's performance. Here is a breakdown of the SWOT analysis of healthcare systems:

    1. Strengths:
    • Skilled Healthcare Professionals: Healthcare systems often have a strong pool of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who possess specialized knowledge and skills.
    • Technological Advancements: Healthcare systems can leverage advanced medical equipment and technology to enhance patient care and improve efficiency.
    • Established Infrastructure: Many healthcare systems have well-established hospitals, clinics, and healthcare facilities that can cater to a large number of patients.
    • Research and Development: Some healthcare systems have a strong focus on research and development, leading to medical breakthroughs and innovative treatments.
    1. Weaknesses:
    • Inadequate Funding: Healthcare systems may suffer from a lack of financial resources, leading to limited infrastructure, equipment, and staffing.
    • Limited Access to Healthcare: Certain populations may face barriers to accessing healthcare services due to geographical, financial, or social reasons.
    • Fragmented Care: In some healthcare systems, care coordination may be lacking, resulting in fragmented and inefficient patient care.
    • Workforce Shortages: Healthcare systems may experience shortages of skilled healthcare professionals, leading to increased workload and reduced quality of care.
    1. Opportunities:
    • Technological Advancements: Healthcare systems can leverage emerging technologies such as telemedicine, artificial intelligence, and precision medicine to improve patient care and streamline processes.
    • Health Promotion and Prevention: Healthcare systems can focus on promoting healthy lifestyles and preventive care, reducing the burden of chronic diseases and improving overall population health.
    • Collaborations and Partnerships: Healthcare systems can collaborate with other organizations, such as academic institutions and research centers, to foster innovation and knowledge exchange.
    • Global Health Initiatives: Healthcare systems can participate in international health initiatives, contributing to global health equity and knowledge sharing.
    1. Threats:
    • Regulatory Changes: Changes in healthcare regulations and policies can pose challenges and require healthcare systems to adapt their operations accordingly.
    • Rising Healthcare Costs: Increasing healthcare costs can strain healthcare systems, making it difficult to provide affordable care to all patients.
    • Aging Population: The aging population poses a significant challenge to healthcare systems, as it increases the demand for healthcare services and puts pressure on limited resources.
    • Emergence of Infectious Diseases: Outbreaks of infectious diseases can put healthcare systems under strain, requiring rapid response and allocation of resources.

    By conducting a SWOT analysis, healthcare systems can identify their strengths and weaknesses, leverage opportunities, and mitigate threats to improve overall performance and patient outcomes.

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