Cigna, CVS Health go to court for alleged noncompetitive violations

Cigna is suing a former executive who claims she broke her noncompete contract and CVS Health for poaching her.

Cigna filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri on Thursday alleging Amy Bricker, the company’s president of pharmaceutical benefits management Express Scripts, violated her employment contract. Cigna confirmed the agreement barred her from taking on senior roles with rival companies, including “key competitor” CVS Health, which operates CVS Caremark PBM.

“Cigna would be immediately and irreparably harmed if defendant Bricker was allowed to begin his new position with CVS,” Cigna wrote in the lawsuit.

Bricker is one of 16 Cigna employees bound by non-compete agreements in the company’s 70,000-strong workforce, according to the lawsuit. Bricker was promoted to president of Express Scripts, part of Cigna’s Evernorth subsidiary, in 2020 after joining the company a decade earlier.

The lawsuit coincides with the federal government’s attempt to ban employee noncompete provisions. The Federal Trade Commission proposed a rule this month that could end deals that critics argue reduce wages, limit innovation and discourage new businesses.

CVS Health announced the appointment of Bricker as product manager for its consumer health division last Monday. She gave Cigna less than two weeks’ notice and her last day at Cigna is scheduled for Friday according to the insurance company. Adam Kautzner, Express Scripts senior vice president of supply chain, will succeed her, the company previously announced.

During his role at Cigna, Bricker obtained information about Evernorth’s product development plans, financial performance, business forecasts and partnerships, according to the lawsuit. In its filing, Cigna wrote that the non-compete clause was necessary to protect trade secrets and confidential business information. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

A spokesperson for CVS Health said the company does not comment on legal proceedings.

Bricker played a central role in securing Express Scripts’ contract with Centene in October against competitors including CVS Health. CVS Caremark previously managed Centene’s drug spending.

Cigna’s allegations follow a series of similar cases between healthcare employers, former employees and competitors over noncompete agreements.

Last February, Tampa, Florida-based Physician Partners of America and their senior leaders agreed to pay $3.3 million to settle claims that they violated non-disclosure agreements. compete when hiring doctors from other employers. Two months later, healthcare information technology company Change Healthcare sued a former executive for alleged breach of a non-compete contract.


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