On October 10th, the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division announce its approval of the $67 billion acquisition of Aetna, the third largest U.S. health care insurer (covering 23 million lives) by CVS Health, the largest U.S. PBM, mail order and chain drug store corporation (covering 94 million pharmacy patient and 27 percent of all U.S. prescriptions). This combination operating under CVS control is promoting their value as one stop shopping for a coordinated health care option with over 1,100 Medic-clinics in CVS’ s 9800 stores nationwide. Plans have been announced since the merger approval to expand the number CVS in-store medical clinics. The only condition on the merger was for Aetna to sell its stand-alone Part D plan, which it has already announced with its sale to Wellpoint.
IPC is paying close attention to the implementation of this new integrated health care company to document any efforts to lock in patients to CVS pharmacies or clinics in violation of any federal or state medical or pharmacy patient freedom of choice laws. We are also monitoring to see if any State Attorney General or medical provider group or groups sue in federal court to prevent the merger or seek additional conditions.