On Wednesday, CVS all but "cemented the deal" to buy Aetna for $69 billion, by scoring the Justice Department's preliminary approval of the deal, reports CNBC. With that green light comes a condition: that Aetna complete its plan to unload its Medicare Part D prescription drug plan business, thereby eliminating the department's anti-monopoly concerns. The Wall Street Journal explains the companies' biggest area of "overlap" is in their Part D businesses: CVS is the No. 1 Part D seller with just over 6 million members; Aetna claims 2.2 million.
The deal between CVS and America's third-largest health insurance company has the potential to reshape health care as we know it, reports the Washington Post: The mammoth acquisition would marry a company that controls some 9,800 drugstores and 1,100 walk-in clinics with an insurer covering around 22 million people. CVS could emerge as a place to go "for more than just flu shots and treatment of minor illnesses," per the Post, while also strengthening its hand when negotiating with pharmaceutical companies. (It could also help protect CVS from a big threat.)