In a hearing on Monday, US District Court Judge Richard Leon stated that he is considering hitting pause on the $70 billion merger between CVS and Aetna. The deal is currently unopposed, but the public comment period remains open until December 15, 2018.
According to the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, final judgments must wait until the public comment period closes.
Judge Leon stated in a hearing on Monday, “I was reviewing your motion, which of course is not opposed, and I kind of got this uneasy feeling that I was being kept in the dark.”
Multiple organizations such as the American Medical Association and the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, have objected to the merger citing concerns over “substantial reduction” of competition in the PBM services market and increase prices for consumers.
Fast Facts: PBMs & Independent Pharmacy
- Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) control nearly 80% of all prescriptions filled in the US.
- The state of Ohio was charged $225 million over and above the average price for Medicaid prescriptions. Similar investigations are underway in Arkansas and Pennslyvania.
- Kentucky fined CVS $1.5 million for violations related reimbursement processing, including cases where Caremark gave the state’s Department of Insurance inaccurate information.
- CVS’ mandatory mail order pharmacy program results in millions of dollars wasted due to damaged, unwanted, or otherwise wasted medications.
What Can You Do?
We are urging all independent pharmacy owners, employees, and patients to take a few minutes to comment and share their input on the invaluable service that independents provide to the communities they serve.
What Do I Say?
Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency (PUTT), a non-profit organization, has shared a version of the letter they are submitting. Download this letter as a framework to personalize and write your own message.
Peter Mucchetti, Chief
Healthcare and Consumer Products Section, Antitrust Divison
Department of Justice
450 Fifth Street NW, Suite 4100
Washington, DC 20530
The Department of Justice will collect and publish comments in early 2019. We encourage everyone to exercise their first amendment rights, share their thoughts, and oppose the merger.
PDS believes independent pharmacies are the best place for patients to get the care they need, and therefore we believe independents deserve to thrive. This is why PDS is dedicated to equipping pharmacy owners with the skills and strategies they need to be successful and profitable.