NU Online News Service, Nov. 27, 2:13 p.m. – Oxford Health Plans Inc., Trumbull, Conn., is paying a $20 million break-up fee to shift most of its pharmacy benefits management business to Merck-Medco Managed Care L.L.C., Pittsburgh.

Merck-Medco, a subsidiary of Merck & Company Inc., a giant drug manufacturer, has won a five-year contract to handle most Oxford retail and mail-order pharmacy benefits programs starting Jan. 1, 2002.

Caremark Rx Inc., Birmingham, Ala., $20 million, has been running the mail-order program under a five-year contract signed in September 1999.

Oxford has agreed to pay a $20 million settlement to get out of the contract, Caremark says.

Caremark has “agreed to fully cooperate in the transition of Oxford’s mail order pharmacy to Merck-Medco,” Oxford says.

Caremark will continue to handle specialty drug distribution services for Oxford until September 2004.