Rep. Crawford responds to the approval of CVS and Aetna merger

Washington, DC– The U.S. Department of Justice announcedon October 10ththe approval of the merger between CVS and Aetna with the condition that Aetna sell of its Medicare prescription drug plans. This merger has been under review by the DOJ for several months to ensure no violation of antitrust laws. 

Rep. Rick Crawford has long been an advocate for the blocking of this merger and wrote a letterto Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March requesting that the merger be thoroughly investigated.

Upon the U.S. DOJ’s announcement, Crawford released the following statement:

“I appreciate the Department of Justice looking into this merger and closely examining potential impacts it will have in Arkansas and the rest of rural America.  While I am still concerned with the vertical integration of these two significant companies from major facets of the healthcare industry, I am pleased with the requirement to divest participation in the Medicare Part D program. It remains to be seen what the positive or negative impacts of this divestiture mean to markets like Arkansas and I will work with community pharmacies to inform and advocate for policies that ensure fair competition in rural areas, where access to quality, affordable healthcare is an everyday challenge.”

Background

Pharmaceutical Benefit Managers (PBMs) serve as a middleman between healthcare providers and pharmacies by working to negotiate fair pricing for consumers. CVS not only owns the largest chain of pharmacies, it also manages CVS Caremark, a PBM. 

There have been reports of CVS Caremark negotiating lower pricing for CVS pharmacies but not for independent pharmacies. As a result, independent pharmacies across the nation have been pushed out of business. This is especially problematic for rural districts where CVS pharmacies can sometimes be a long drive away for consumers. 

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