NU Online News Service, Feb. 18, 2004, 1:25 p.m. EST – The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Chicago, has agreed to award a major pharmacy benefits contract to Caremark Rx Inc., Birmingham, Ala.[@@]

Caremark Rx, a unit of Caremark Inc., Nashville, Tenn., probably will be replacing Medco Health Solutions Inc., Franklin Lakes, N.J., as the administrator of the Standard Option mail-service pharmacy program for the Federal Employee Program health insurance plan.

The Blue Cross association still has to complete final negotiations with Caremark Rx. If the negotiations are successful, Caremark Rx will take over from Medco and start a 3-year contract Jan. 1, 2005, the Blue Cross association says.

Caremark Rx and Medco were 2 of 6 vendors that bid on the mail-service contract, the Blue Cross association says.

The contract serves 3.9 million Federal Employee Program health plan members.