Barbara L. McAneny
To address the ongoing evidentiary hearing for CVS-Aetna merger, Barbara L. McAneny, MD, president of the AMA, released statements regarding the association's view of the merger.
“The CVS-Aetna deal is popularly described as a vertical merger involving two large companies that don’t operate in the same markets,” McAneny said in the press release. “But in fact, CVS and Aetna do compete as formidable rivals in some of the same markets, raising substantial concerns that are specific to a horizontal merger.”
The AMA announced in June 2018 that it opposed the merger, stating it likely would have detrimental effects on patients and the health insurance market.
According to the press release, concerns over the merger led U.S. District Judge Richard Leon to call an “unprecedented” evidentiary hearing to review the settlement brokered between CVS, Aetna and the U.S. Department of Justice.
To address the ongoing evidentiary hearing for CVS-Aetna merger, Barbara L. McAneny, MD, president of the AMA, released statements regarding the AMA’s view of the merger.
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In the press release, McAneny explained that Aetna and CVS each have a share of the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP) market, and had previously competed on drug price and quality of service to obtain customers from each other. The merger of the two would subsequently harm competition and patients, and the sale of Aetna’s prescription drug business with WellCare would reduce PDP market competition instead of restoring it to previous levels, McAneny said.
In a break from the AMA, the American Academy of Family Physicians did not directly oppose the merger. Former AAFP president Michael Munger, MD, previously told Healio Primary Care that although the academy believed the merger presented an opportunity to improve the care of patients with chronic conditions who were treated at CVS clinics by connecting them with an Aetna physician, a potential push to move patients to minute clinics and away from PCPs and family physicians could fragment care.
“The AMA has long called for heightened scrutiny before proposed mergers take effect and markets are robbed of the intense competition that has benefited patients,” McAneny said in the press release. “The dynamic discussion during CVS-Aetna settlement hearing should prompt a renewed dialogue among regulators, policymakers, lawmakers, and others about the need for a better, more open and competitive marketplace to benefit patients and the physicians who care for them.” – by Erin Michael
Disclosures: McAneny is president of AMA.