October 19, 2018

Report: NY eyes blocking parts of CVS-Aetna deal

HBJ File Photo
HBJ File Photo
Aetna's Hartford headquarters.

New York officials may block parts of CVS Health's proposed $69 billion acquisition of Hartford-based Aetna, according to a Bloomberg report.

The Connecticut Insurance Department and the U.S. Justice Department have approved the deal, contingent on Aetna divesting its standalone Medicare drug plan, but the proposal still needs the greenlight from several state regulatory bodies.

CVS and Aetna have said they hope to close the deal in the fourth quarter.

Bloomberg reports that Maria Vullo, superintendent of New York's Department of Financial Services, on Thursday said her agency might block CVS's merger with Aetna's New York unit.

Vullo, at a public hearing Thursday, called the federal antitrust approval "myopic" and asked representatives from CVS and Aetna to provide evidence the merger would lower prices for consumers.

Elizabeth Ferguson, deputy general counsel for CVS, responded stating the company didn't have a specific plan to lower prices, Bloomberg said.

The Pharmacists Society of the State of New York and the Medical Society of the State of New York, have also pushed back on the proposal, recently urging the state to block the deal, Bloomberg reported.

New York is not the first to question the merits of the proposal.

The American Medical Association, the nation's largest physician organization, last week reiterated its opposition to the proposed deal, arguing it would limit competition for pharmacy benefit management services, health insurance and retail and specialty pharmacy.

Concerns about the deal were also expressed during a recent Connecticut Insurance Department public hearing from pharmacists, doctors and others.

Earlier this month, CVS pledged to keep Aetna headquartered in Hartford for at least 10 years.

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