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Association of American Physicians and Surgeons Asks Department of Justice to Block CVS-Aetna Merger

Conservative-leaning AAPS sent a letter arguing that permitting the third-largest health insurer to combine with the largest national pharmacy chain will weaken competition in the pharmacy benefits manager market.

The letter to Attorney General Session from AAPS’ President-elect Marilyn Singleton, MD, advances the argument that CVS has already demonstrated a pattern of anti-competitive behavior. For example, the price of a generic prescription jumped from $45 to $241 after CVS took over a Target pharmacy. CVS Caremark drastically cut payment rates to independent pharmacies, sometimes below cost, while inflating payments to its own CVS pharmacies. “Allowing this merger to proceed will hand the combined CVS/Aetna even more clout to drive up costs without any corresponding benefit to patients,” the letter concludes. “It would enable, not hinder, continued anticompetitive tactics that squeeze competitors out of business and steer patients toward CVS/Aetna-controlled products, away from alternate sources of care.” Read the letter sent on September 21, 2018

The association’s letter comes about a month after the American Medical Association called on the Department of Justice to sue to block the deal.

The companies have argued their combination will provide localized, community-based care across CVS Health’s 9,700-plus pharmacies and 1,100 clinics.

Source: Becker’s Hospital Review

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