The deal is one of several in recent years that has consolidated power among health care companies. In the face of broad stock-market weakness, CVS Health closed down over 7%, losing $6 billion in market capitalization. CVS still needs to get approvals from several states. "Along with its thousands of retail pharmacies, CVS manages drug-benefits plans for employers and insurers", write Bloomberg's David McLaughlin and Robert Langreth. As part of the agreement, Aetna entered into an asset purchase agreement with a subsidiary of WellCare Health Plans for the divestiture of Aetna's standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.
The company said it plans to sell that part of the business to WellCare health Plans, and the Justice Department has accepted that as a satisfactory resolution of its concerns. Delrahim continued: "The divestitures required here allow for the creation of an integrated pharmacy and health benefits company that has the potential to generate benefits by improving the quality and lowering the costs of the healthcare services that American consumers can obtain".
"Despite the companies" big promises that consumers will see greater savings thanks to new "efficiencies, ' history has taught us to remain skeptical", George Slover, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union said in a statement in the wake of the CVS-Aetna merger approval.
A previously planned sale of Aetna's Medicare drug plans to another insurer resolved the antitrust enforcer's concerns, the Justice Department said in a statement Wednesday announcing the approval. In the future, CVS and Aetna said that patients will be able to go to a local CVS in between doctor visits for glucose level monitoring, counseling on how and when to use medications and advice on weight loss programs and better dietary habits. "Our shareholders will benefit from the depth of their knowledge of Aetna's business and their complementary expertise, which will be essential to the combined company as we transform the way health care is delivered in America".
Consolidation has risen across health care among hospitals, drugmakers and insurers. The company CVS announced in one of the SEC filings on this Thursday that the company is still expecting that the deal with Aetna will be closed in the earlier part, as far as the fourth quarter is concerned. CVS dominates the pharmacy business, but it accepts insurance from Express Scripts and other rivals, not just the CVS-owned Caremark plan. Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.is the U.S.'s last remaining giant standalone pharmacy chain, and its deal-friendly CEO, Stefano Pessina, has spoken about bringing together pieces of the medical supply chain. Walgreens holds a 26 percent stake in drug distributor AmerisourceBergen Corp., which helps supply Walgreens stores, and last winter the companies held early discussions about about a merger, according to reports at the time.