Express Scripts Inc. Says Ernst & Young LLP Stole Secrets
2/20/2013 7:43:55 AM
Just as Express Scripts began digesting its $29 billion acquistion of Medco Health Solutions, one of its consultants allegedly began trolling for trade secrets to build its own healthcare business, according to a lawsuit filed by the pharmacy benefits manager. The culprit? Ernst & Young and one of its partners, which were “possessed with an evil motive and their conduct shocks the conscious,” the lawsuit states. In its lawsuit, which was filed in a Missouri state court, Express Scripts charges that Ernst & Young partner Don Gravlin was “sneaking” into its headquarters and stealing confidential information over a number of months. Specifically, the pharmacy benefits claims the equivalent of 20,000 pages of data that included information on pricing, integration strategy and business strategy, among other things, was emailed to a private Google account. Ernst & Young “stole… proprietary and confidential information to grow and develop additional business in its health care segment, including potential additional business with Express Scripts (ESRX), Medco and their direct competitors,” the lawsuit states. Express Scripts discovered the alleged theft last August and claims an Ernst & Young partner in charge of the account was aware that Gavlin, who is no longer with the firm, had taken data but did not notify Express Scripts. Of course, allegations of stealing trade secrets are nothing new and companies regularly monitor consultants and their online activities over such concerns, as happened in this instance. In any event, Express Scripts is a fat target – after purchasing Medco, the pharmacy benefit manager now oversees benefits for more than 115 million people, dispenses one third of all prescriptions filled in the US and controls 60 percent of the mail-order drug market.