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CVS, Aetna Win U.S. Approval For $69 Billion Merger

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pharmacy chain CVS Effectively being Corp acquired U.S. antitrust approval for its $69 billion acquisition of effectively being insurer Aetna Inc, the Justice Division said on Wednesday, paving the easiest way for a mix the companies say would possibly assist scale back hovering U.S. healthcare costs.

It is the second huge present healthcare deal to win a thumbs up from the U.S. Justice Division. The corporate gave the inexperienced mild to effectively being insurer Cigna Corp’s $52 billion acquisition of the nation’s largest pharmacy revenue supervisor (PBM), Categorical Scripts Holding Co, on Sept. 17.

Shares of CVS and Aetna each rose about 1 p.c on Wednesday, a day when the broader market was sharply lower, with CVS shopping for and promoting at $80.25 and Aetna at $206.00.

The deal was permitted supplied that the company’s promote Aetna’s Medicare Half D prescription drug enterprise, the Justice division said.

Aetna closing month said it would promote all of its standalone prescription drug plans for the federal authorities Medicare program for Individuals aged 65 and older and the disabled to WellCare Effectively being Plans Inc, paving the easiest way for the deal’s approval.

With out the divestiture the two companies would have owned better than a 30 p.c share of the Medicare Half D drug plans, creating concern regarding the amount of administration the model new CVS would have had over the Medicare prescription drug market.

Collectively the two have 6.eight million members in Medicare Half D drug plans, the Justice Division said.

“The divestitures required proper right here allow for the creation of an built-in pharmacy and effectively being benefits agency that has the potential to generate benefits by enhancing the usual and decreasing the costs of the healthcare corporations that American customers can obtain,” Makan Delrahim, head of the division’s Antitrust Division, said in an announcement.

The companies have said they think about collectively they may improve purchaser effectively being by offering additional low-priced medical corporations in CVS’s nationwide neighborhood of pharmacies, along with providing persistent sickness screenings and preventative care, corresponding to blood sugar monitoring and vaccines.

CVS moreover has a giant PBM enterprise.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz and Caroline Humer; Modifying by Chizu Nomiyama, Susan Thomas and Bill Berkrot)

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