Former Cigna exec barred from working at CVS

 Former Cigna exec barred from working at CVS


Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Cigna has won an appeal against CVS and its former Express Scripts president over a noncompete agreement.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis, Missouri, upheld a lower court decision barring former Cigna executive Amy Bricker from working for CVS.

Bricker served as president of Express Scripts, overseeing Cigna’s pharmacy benefit management and other operations. She was a member of the senior leadership team.

In 2020, she signed an updated noncompete agreement with Cigna that barred her from working for a competitor for two years.

“If Bricker had chosen to move from Cigna to a company outside the healthcare sector or maybe a healthcare company other than CVS, her intimate knowledge about Cigna’s inner workings and immediate future plans might have posed a less serious threat to Cigna’s protected interests,” the court wrote. “However, Cigna and CVS are each other’s largest direct competitors. The two companies are practically mirror images of one another.”

WHY THIS MATTERS

The decision bars Bricker from immediately joining CVS. CVS reportedly said by statement that it was disappointed and was evaluating its options.

Bricker was head of Express Scripts, Cigna’s pharmacy benefit manager subsidiary, when she was contacted by CVS in 2022. 

On January 9, 2023, Bricker signed a contract with CVS and resigned from Cigna. On January 26, 2023, Cigna sued Bricker and CVS in federal court.

Bricker had been slated to join CVS Health as the chief product officer for its consumer segment. The lawsuit said that this violated Cigna’s noncompete agreement and that the company would be “immediately and irreparably harmed” if Bricker’s hire was allowed to continue.

CVS and Bricker argued that the noncompete agreement was overbroad, unreasonable and enforceable under Missouri law, according to court records. They said Cigna’s home-delivery pharmacy and CVS’s brick-and-mortar pharmacies, the division where Bricker was to work, were not business competitors.

In February, a Missouri district court temporarily blocked Bricker from beginning her new job at CVS Health, pending the outcome of the lawsuit. The court issued a preliminary injunction in June 2023. 

“Bricker was the senior vice president overseeing supply chain management. Her executive retention agreement had a non-compete provision. Bricker agreed ‘that during the course of [her] employment with [Cigna], [she] has and will become familiar with [Cigna]’s trade secrets and with other Confidential Information concerning [Cigna] and that [her] services have been and shall continue to be of special, unique, and extraordinary value to [Cigna],'” the lawsuit said.

THE LARGER TREND

In April, the Federal Trade Commission’s issued a final rule banning noncompetes nationwide.

Noncompetes are a widespread and often exploitative practice imposing contractual conditions that prevent workers from taking a new job or starting a new business, the FTC said.

Existing noncompetes for senior executives  who represent less than 0.75% of workers can remain in force under the FTC’s final rule, but employers are banned from entering into or attempting to enforce any new noncompetes, even if they involve senior executives. 

Email the writer: SMorse@himss.org



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Fallon Wolken

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