Neither company has confirmed it, but The Wall Street Journal reports that CVS Health has offered to buy Aetna in a deal that could have vast implications in the retail health and insurance marketplaces. The combined company would have much stronger bargaining power when negotiating deals with health systems, payers, and pharmaceutical companies, than either company does alone. For starters, as the WSJ article points out, CVS’s pharmacy benefit management arm would see “a huge number” of new customers. It’s likely the retail stores would see a big uptick in walk-in customers, as well. That would likely also mean an increase in the number of patients who seek care in CVS’s Minute Clinics. The expectation that Amazon will try to get into the pharmacy business is thought to have pushed CVS to make such a move at this time. WSJ quotes sources who think a merger between the two could get a hard look from the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, based on those bodies’ concerns over healthcare consolidation in the past (eg, the proposed mergers of Walgreen with Rite Aid and Aetna with Humana).

CVS–Aetna Merger Would Have Implications for Urgent Care
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