US: CVS merger with Aetna orders hearing

A US judge who has been asked to sign off on a government agreement that allowed CVS Health to buy health insurer Aetna ordered a hearing for April 5 on the matter.

Judge Richard Leon of the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued the order on Thursday, March 14, saying that he wanted the hearing to discuss which witnesses—if any—should testify before he decides whether to approve the government’s deal with the companies.

The Justice Department approved the merger of CVS, a US pharmacy chain and benefits manager, and Aetna in October on condition that Aetna sell its Medicare prescription drug plan business to WellCare Health Plans.

Judges usually approve merger agreements that the government strikes with companies with little fanfare, but Leon has balked. In December, he said he was “less convinced” than the government that the asset sale to WellCare would resolve antitrust concerns.

Full Content: Reuters

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