Aetna/CVS faces skepticism from doctors

06 December 2017 - 05:23 pm UTC

Author(s): by Kevin McCaffrey and Jay Antenen

Physician groups are concerned that CVS Health’s [NYSE:CVS] proposed takeover of Aetna [NYSE:AET] could lead to reduced access to care for patients and less choices, leaders for three state groups said.

 

Charlie Rothberg, MD, president of the Medical Society of the State of New York, said that vertical integrations like the Aetna deal typically generate efficiencies, but expressed the concern that the savings may not be passed down to consumers.

 

On Sunday, pharmacy chain and benefits manager CVS announced plans on acquiring Aetna, a major health insurer, in a USD 69bn deal that the companies say will bring down the cost of care.

 

The CEO of the Medical Society of New Jersey, Larry Downs, said, “We think these markets are highly consolidated now and we have concerns about fair competition and patient choice and access.”

 

The president of the Connecticut State Medical Society, Steven Thornquist, MD, said the proposed merger warrants scrutiny, particularly around the impact of CVS owning an effectively captive insurance business along with a large PBM and pharmacy network.

 

The American Medical Association (AMA) president, David O. Barbe, said in a statement that the national group will review the merger. The AMA is the largest association of physicians in the US.

 

The three leaders of state physician groups said they too will study the proposed deal before deciding whether to make a complaint to antitrust regulators.

 

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