AMA urges Justice Department to block CVS-Aetna deal

The American Medical Association called on the Department of Justice Aug. 8 to sue to block CVS Health's proposed $69 billion acquisition of Aetna.

The organization has previously urged lawmakers and regulators to block the proposed transaction. AMA President Barbara L. McAneny, MD, testified before the California Department of Insurance June 19, outlining the organization's position that the proposed acquisition "would likely substantially lessen competition in many healthcare markets, to the detriment of patients" and that the AMA is "convinced ... the proposed CVS-Aetna merger should be blocked."

AMA shared its 29-page analysis of the proposed merger with federal regulators, in which the organization argues CVS and Aetna operate as rivals in some key markets. Competition in Medicare Part D prescription drug plan and pharmacy benefit management markets could be compromised if the companies combined, according to the AMA. Specifically, the AMA said premiums would increase due to market concentration in 30 of 34 Medicare Part D markets.

"The vertical ramifications of the merger violate federal law. Since CVS and Aetna already operate in concentrated or highly concentrated markets, the AMA expects the proposed merger would increase barriers to market entry and foreclose competitors," the organization said.

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