Aetna merger gets justice department approval

CVS-Aetna merger gets justice department approval

Earlier this week the Department of Justice (DOJ) cleared the $69 billion merger between CVS and Aetna, with some conditions.

CVS announced the appointment of three additional Aetna directors specializing in insurance company oversight will join the CVS board of directors.

CVS, which racked up about $185 billion in revenue previous year, runs the country's largest retail-pharmacy chain and provides prescription plans to more than 94 million customers. On the other hand, the company Aetna is the fifth largest seller of Part D, and has almost 2.2 million members in the entire world, as per the reports from Wells Fargo.

"It's the latest example of change in a health-care industry bracing for disruption while regulators and consumers demand lower costs".

In a recent statement, Larry J. Merlo, the chief executive of CVS Health, said that the approval "is an important step towards bringing together the strengths and capabilities of our two companies to improve the consumer health care experience".

Aetna earlier announced that it is divesting its entire standalone Medicare Part D business, which have an aggregate of approximately 2.2 million members, to a subsidiary of WellCare Health Plans.

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"Today's settlement resolves competition concerns posed by this transaction and preserves competition in the sale of Medicare Part D prescription drug plans for individuals", Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, who leads the Justice Department's antitrust division, said in the announcement. Last month, the DOJ gave the green light to a similarly colossal $67 billion merger between Cigna, another top health insurance company, and Express Scripts, the country's largest pharmacy-benefit manager with more than 80 million members.

Consequently, those with Aetna health plans could be shoehorned into exclusively utilising CVS retail clinics, whilst those uninsured by Aetna could pay higher prices, creating significant issues for consumers.

CVS's largest competitor, Walgreens Boots Alliance, announced earnings October 11 that were lower than analysts predicted. The move comes after Walgreens was burned by a similar deal with the disgraced and shuttered blood-testing startup Theranos.

Consumer health advocates meanwhile are expressing alarm at the large mergers and deals.

"Despite the companies" big promises that consumers will see greater savings thanks to new "efficiencies, ' history has taught us to remain skeptical", George Slover, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union said in a statement in the wake of the CVS-Aetna merger approval.

In June, AMA president Barbara L. McAneny, MD, outlined the group's concerns during a hearing held by the California Department of Insurance stating that "The AMA has come to the conclusion that this merger would likely substantially lessen competition in many healthcare markets, to the detriment of patients", and therefore should be blocked.

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