Department of Justice approves Aetna-CVS merger

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday approved the $69 billion proposed merger between health insurer Aetna and CVS Health.

The DOJ said its approval is contingent on Aetna selling its Medicare Part D prescription drug business.

Aetna said it reached an agreement last week to sell the plan to WellCare Health Plans.

That sale, once finalized, would “fully resolve the Department’s competition concerns,” the DOJ said.

“Today’s settlement resolves competition concerns posed by this transaction and preserves competition in the sale of Medicare Part D prescription drug plans for individuals,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.

Why it matters: The merger means that there will no longer be any independent pharmacy benefit managers in the U.S.

These drug-pricing middlemen negotiate prices between drug companies and insurers.

Pharmacy benefit managers have been absorbed by insurers in recent years. The Justice Department last month also approved a merger between Cigna and Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefit manager.

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