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PlanetRx seals deal for more Net customers

The online pharmacy says it inked a deal with the nation's third-largest independent pharmacy benefit manager, which will enable more customers to fill their prescriptions on the site.

Expanding its clout, online pharmacy PlanetRx today inked a five-year deal with the nation's third-largest independent pharmacy benefit manager (PBM).

Through today's agreement with St. Louis-based Express Scripts--which brokers deals between insurance carriers, corporations, and pharmacies--PlanetRx will become the exclusive online pharmacy catering to Express Script's 36 million members. Express Scripts will refer those members to fill presciptions online at the PlanetRx site.

The deal calls for PlanetRx to pay Express Scripts about $11 million a year in fees for the prescription services, the company said in a statement. Express Scripts will also get 19.9 percent ownership in PlanetRx, once the company's IPO is completed. In turn, PlanetRx will acquire Express Scripts' e-commerce business, called

Express Scripts will keep the domain name and continue updating content on that Web site, but send customers to PlanetRx to fill their prescriptions. Express Scripts also will help PlanetRx expand marketing deals with pharmaceutical companies, the company said.