Monday, 18 December, 2017

Aetna deal may hinge on antitrust approach under Trump

Outside of Aetna's corporate headquarters in Hartford Conn Outside of Aetna's corporate headquarters in Hartford Conn
Laurie Berry | 07 December, 2017, 19:20

Under the terms of the deal, Aetna would continue to be run by its existing management team and would operate as a standalone business in the combined company.

Health care consolidation has not always benefited consumers, but CVS CEO Larry Merlo told The Wall Street Journal that it wants to lower costs for customers.

The prospects for the deal are uncertain, since mergers involving health insurance companies have recentlyrun into regulatory roadblocks. It's an ambitious one for CVS, a company better known as a quick stop for Tylenol and a Coke.

CVS on Sunday said it planned to buy Aetna for $69 billion. CVS Health Corp.is also one of the nation's biggest pharmacy benefit managers, processing more than a billion prescriptions a year for clients like large employers and insurers including Aetna Inc.

"I wouldn't trust them with my health care".

The company changed its name to CVS Health three years ago and is trying to reposition itself has a health care company rather than just a drugstore.

CVS Health Corp's CVS.N proposed purchase of Aetna Inc AET.N will change the way many major USA corporations buy health coverage for employees and raise new questions over the cost of those benefits, benefit consultants said.

In scale, CVS and Aetna offer a much bigger pharmacy benefits manager than UnitedHealth, which expanded its OptumRx business with the $13 billion purchase of Catamaran in 2015.

Pearson plc 2.4% Potential Upside Indicated by JP Morgan Cazenove
Morgan Stanley increased Retail Pptys Amer Inc (RPAI) stake by 833.05% reported in 2017Q2 SEC filing. (AAOI)'s stock rose 70.49%. It increased, as 25 investors sold AAOI shares while 37 reduced holdings. 13 funds opened positions while 48 raised stakes.

Patients also may find the CVS-Aetna combination much more involved in managing their care, especially for those with expensive chronic conditions like diabetes.

The companies are counting on the notion that people will prefer going to a clinic around the corner over making repeated trips to their doctors that might require appointments and waits.

Using its significant retail footprint to deliver health care services also would give CVS a potent weapon in the fight against Amazon's encroachment into the pharmacy space, as the e-commerce behemoth has been reported to be considering.

The deal "would definitely be scrutinized, but ultimately we still see a path for it to get through", Newshel said in an email. The evolution won't happen overnight, but in time, shoppers may find more clinics in CVS stores and more services they can receive through the network of almost 10,000 locations that the company has built. "This is a different angle because the delivery part is focused on pharmacies, not hospitals or doctor's offices", Gellad says.

CVS isn't the only health care giant delving into clinical care.

Who needs to go to the doctor when you can go to your local CVS drug store instead? The deal, she said, "has a vision of repurposing their real estate within stores toward creating a low-priced clinic model". And if CVS and Aetna are allowed to merge, more deals could follow that may drastically change how you get health care services.

"These types of interventions are things that the traditional health care system could be doing, but the traditional health care system lacks the key elements of convenience and coordination that help to engage consumers in their health", Merlo said in the release. The bulked-up company also may gain more negotiating leverage over prescription drug prices, but it's far too early to say how much or whether that benefit will trickle down to customers.

Health insurers meanwhile have sought to cut costs amid steep prescription drug price rises and requirements to care for even the sickest patients under the Affordable Care Act. The Coalition to Protect Patient Choice said that "mergers like these have a dismal history", adding, "consumers suffer by paying more and getting less choice for the vital drugs they need".

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