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Please take a moment to fill out a brief survey on vertical integration in healthcare, marking a first of its kind merger between a pharmacy chain (CVS) and a health insurance firm (Aetna). The survey will take less than two minutes and all respondents will receive a free copy of the summary of analyzed results.

CVS aims to merge with Aetna to create an integrated health system combining pharmacy and health benefits, and delivering preventive care services through the drugstore chain’s retail clinics. This integration would mark a major effort at vertical consolidation in health care. On Thursday February 1st, the Department of Justice (DOJ) asked CVS Health and Aetna to provide more information on the merger extending the waiting period for an additional 30 days.

    Q1: Is the DOJ ready for vertical integration of health systems?


    Why the DOJ is most likely to approve the CVS-Aetna merger?

    The merger is financially beneficial to the patient, pharmacy, and medical insurersThe merger will provide convenience to the customer with the opportunity for the patient to receive preventive care services at the pharmacyUnlike a horizontal integration of two pharmacies or medical insurers, there are no grounds for the DOJ to declare the merger anticompetitiveOther

    Why the DOJ is most likely to block the CVS-Aetna merger?

    The merger is anticompetitive and will give CVS an unfair advantage in the marketplaceThe merger is harmful to the customer and would lead to unfair price increasesUnder the Trump Administration, the DOJ blocked the vertical integration of AT&T and Time Warner and is likely to do the same for CVS and AetnaOther

    Q2: Are integrated healthcare systems, such as the CVS-Aetna merger, beneficial to the patient?



    The system provides convenience to the patient with ability to both receive preventative care services and fill prescriptions at thousands of drug storesThe system would remove the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) as the middleman between the insurer and drug companies eliminating the incentive of the PBM to increase prescription drug prices to raise their own profitsThe system enhances the pharmacy and medical insurer’s ability to more effectively manage patients, resulting in better healthcare and reducing preventable costs, such as hospitalizationsOther

    Why ?

    It could limit a patient’s pharmacy options and make it difficult for patients to go out of network for pharmacy benefitsThe merger would drive down competition among pharmacy benefit managers driving an increase in drug pricesThe system may limit coverage for preventative care to a walk-in clinic, such as the MinuteClinic at CVS, forcing patients to leave their current primary care physician diminishing the patient-physician relationshipOther

    Q3:Is there incentive for the healthcare industry to support the merger of pharmacies and medical insurers, such as CVS and Aetna?


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