Cigna gets DOJ approval to buy St. Louis based Express Scripts

The U.S. Justice Department has flashed a green light for the proposed merger of Cigna and Express Scripts, just six months after the two companies announced plans to join forces. The agency also said competition from other vertically-integrated companies and PBMs and the prospect of losing customers makes it unlikely that Cigna and Express Scripts would hike prices for their rivals after merging.

"Quality health care and competitive pricing for health care services and pharmaceutical drugs is critical to USA consumers", Makan Delrahim, an assistant attorney general, said in a statement.

Sources told Reuters the Justice Department's review may conclude soon, though it is not clear whether approval will come in September.

"We are pleased that the Department of Justice has cleared our transaction and that we are another step closer to completing our merger and delivering greater affordability, choice and predictability to our customers and clients as a combined company", Cigna Chief Executive Officer David Cordani said in a statement.

CVS spokeswoman Carolyn Castel said the company continues to expect to close its deal late in the third quarter or in the fourth quarter, a forecast it gave investors on August 8 during a conference call.

"Both companies argue that the merger will benefit consumers by allowing Cigna and Express Scripts to better manage their customers' health by sharing information about both their medical and drug expenses".

President Trump visits North Carolina as governor pleads for patience
At least 36 other similar lagoons are likely to also overflow - and five are structurally damaged, according to the department. Trump added: "People don't realize how a very hard phase is beginning, even with the handsome sunshine".

Tim Wentworth, the CEO of Express Scripts, echoed that sentiment, predicting the merger would help "transform health care". That combination would unite the US drugstore giant with the third-biggest health insurer.

Antitrust experts have described the current deals as vertical combinations that present fewer issues than the failed insurer mergers.

Aetna and Cigna, however, were determined to seek growth through deals while responding to a changing healthcare landscape, eventually targeting mergers with the nation's largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Cigna shares closed up 1.four p.c. If the deal's closing conditions are met, the companies said that they expect the acquisition to close by the end of the year.

The U.S. Department of Justice has approved the $67 billion purchase of Express Scripts Holding Cigna Corp. That's because it indicates that the Justice Department likely isn't concerned about consolidation among insurers and pharmacy-benefits managers, which aren't direct competitors.

Cigna and Express Scripts still must secure certain state regulatory approvals to complete the deal, which was first announced in March, but the nod from the federal antitrust enforcers takes care of the biggest hurdle.



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