If CVS’s $69 billion deal to buy Aetna goes through, one of the first things the company is expected to do is broadly expand its retail health clinic business—ultimately saving the company more than $1 billion annually, according to a report from Reuters. The presumed savings would flow out of efforts to improve access to preventative care through the CVS clinics. CVS has roughly 9,700 drugstores (though only a thousand or so have clinics), while Aetna provides medical coverage for some 23 million people. For its part, the insurer would gain more access to patient information through CVS’s databases, giving it a distinct advantage over its competitors who can’t compete with those economies of scale—unless they hook up with some other retailer. Analysts are already predicting that the megadeal could compel Wal-Mart to try to keep pace by buying Humana, which would cost the retailer over $46 billion.
Update: CVS–Aetna Deal Will Have a Ripple Effect on Multiple Markets