November 20, 2018

Aetna deal may mean more in-store health services

07 December 2017, 07:17 | Joann Bryant

This Wednesday Jan. 18 2017 file

This Wednesday Jan. 18 2017 file

Combining the operations of CVS, which also owns pharmacy benefits manager and mail order pharmacy Caremark, with a major insurer like Aetna could make it easier for people to monitor diseases without having to see a doctor.

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.

Some CVS shoppers also are skeptical about getting their health checked in a retail store.

"They'll be pretty much a soup-to-nuts health company. except for the hospital part of it", said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consulting and research firm.

But if the CVS-Aetna merger creates a domino effect of health care companies buying each other, which some analysts consider likely, the impact on consumers could be both more wide-ranging and harder to predict in advance.

"I wouldn't trust them with my health care". The consideration comprises $145 per share in cash and 0.8378 CVS shares for each Aetna share. CVS would rather become the preeminent place for all health care needs before Walgreens, Walmart or Amazon beats them to the punch. The deal comes at a time when the future of the health care industry is up in the air.

The deal "would definitely be scrutinized, but ultimately we still see a path for it to get through", Newshel said in an email. Leerink analyst David Larsen said in a recent note that the CVS-Aetna deal has a decent chance of approval because regulators may believe it will put pressure on manufacturers to hold down drug prices. The Justice Department's new antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, has criticized past settlements that allowed vertical deals with behavioral restrictions. "It doesn't work effectively in controlling costs".

CVS can help through its home infusion business, which sends nurses to patients' homes to deliver complex drugs for people with hemophilia among other conditions.

CVS is down 3.13% on Monday, and Aetna is up 1.65%. CVS has more than 9,700 pharmacies and 1,100 Minute Clinics, walk-in locations across the country.

The acquisition will set CVS back $69 million, making it one of the largest deals of the year. Over time, a bulked-up CVS may gain more negotiating leverage over prices, but it is hard the say how much would trickle down to customers.

But ant-trust regulators still need to evaluate it.

The only pricier deals involving companies based our six-state region were: Bell Atlantic Corp.'s purchase of Conn. -based GTE Corp., which was valued at $71.3 billion and completed in 2000; and Conn. -based Charter Communications Inc.'s purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc., which was valued at $78.4 billion and completed in 2016. He and others on Wall Street expect the Aetna deal to fuel a health care services expansion for CVS. Earlier this year, Aetna dropped a $34-billion bid for rival insurer Humana after a federal judge blocked the deal on antitrust grounds.

While high prescription drug costs have been a concern of policymakers and patient advocates for some time now, it's not clear that even a beefed-up CVS would be able to tame the worst of the cost inflation.

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