A federal judge said on Tuesday that he was considering using a court-appointed monitor to make sure CVS Health Corp refrains from fully integrating with insurer Aetna while he examines the companies’ settlement with the government.
Judge Richard Leon of the US District Court for the District of Columbia held the hearing as part of his review of the antitrust settlement reached with the Justice Department to win approval for the companies’ $69 billion merger.
Most judges approve consent decrees aimed at resolving competition concerns with no fanfare, and deals normally close before the judge rules. But Leon has written that he was “less convinced” than the government that asset sales made by Aetna would resolve antitrust concerns raised by the deal.
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. That sale was completed in November.