US: CVS heads to court Tuesday to defend Aetna deal

According to the Wall Street Journal, CVS will defend its acquisition of insurer Aetna in two high-profile settings Tuesday, June 4, seeking to sell a federal judge on the nearly US$70 billion deal.

CVS lawyers will be in a DC, federal court for the start of a three-day proceeding in which US District Judge Richard Leon is considering whether the Justice Department adequately protected competition when it approved the deal last year.

The deal, reached in November, combined CVS’s sprawling network of pharmacies and pharmacy-benefit-management business with Aetna’s health-plan assets.

The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division approved the merger after the companies agreed to sell off Aetna’s Medicare Part D drug business to WellCare Health Plans. The Department stated the divestiture was needed because Aetna and CVS had been important competitors in selling Medicare drug plans to seniors in 22 states.

Groups like the American Medical Association claimed the divestiture didn’t do enough to protect competition for prescription-drug plans, and they argued the Department didn’t address broader concerns about healthcare industry consolidation.

The criticism caught the attention of Judge Leon, who is considering whether to approve the settlement between the companies and the Justice Department.

Full Content: Wall Street Journal

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