US: CVS-Aetna win approval for US$69b merger

Pharmacy chain CVS won US antitrust approval for its US69 billion acquisition of health insurer Aetna, the Justice Department announced on Wednesday, October 10, reported the Washington Post.

The merger can go ahead as long as Aetna sells off its private Medicare drug plans, the Justice Department said. The tie-up will allow CVS, whose retail pharmacy business serves 5 million customers a day, to turn more of its brick-and-mortar locations into front-line clinics for basic medical services and patient monitoring.

“Our focus will be at the local and community level,” CVS CEO Larry Merlo said, “taking advantage of our thousands of locations and touchpoints throughout the country to intervene with consumers to help predict and prevent potential health problems before they occur.”

According to the Post, the Aetna acquisition is also expected to give CVS more leverage in its negotiations with drugmakers over drug prices, analysts say.

This merger would combine the third-largest health insurer and the largest national pharmacy chain, but has come under fire from the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

Full Content: The Washington Post

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