CVS + Aetna. Are we sure this adds up?
CVS and Aetna Love at the second sight?
Many of the articles I read about Aetna's acquisition by CVS suggest that the agreement is a bold move to develop CVS 'retail clinical activities. See for example, The CVS-Aetna agreement has major implications for retail health, primary care practices in FierceHealthcare.
If the merger continues, CVS plans to expand health services into its retail pharmacies, according to CVS and Aetna officials. Although it will take several years, CVS will increase its number of clinics and add staff and equipment for a wider variety of treatments.
This seems like an idiotic reasoning. If the idea is to get health insurers to come up with plans that favor retail clinics, why not settle for these plans? Aetna is a large company but, as a national plan, its market share in many geographical areas is relatively modest. Often, as here in Massachusetts, the local Blue Cross holds the largest market share. If CVS is big enough and powerful enough to actually buy Aetna, it can surely make sure that this company and others can come to terms with the retail clinics.
If there is a strategic logic behind the agreement, it is more likely that it is in the pharmacy management sector where, for example, the combined CVS / Aetna will be the biggest player – but not dominant – in part D of Medicare pharmacy plans. This is not so convincing.
It is possible that the two companies just wanted to make a big deal that would not be blocked by the Department of Justice. Aetna is already having her attempt to merge with Humana, and CVS does not have many options for horizontal takeovers of other drug chains or benefit managers. pharmaceuticals.
There is a certain kinship between the companies. Both are based in New England and CVS's Chief Medical Officer, Troy Brennan previously held the same position at Aetna.
It seems equally likely that CVS will offer Aetna "products" through its stores. As @WilliamGerber points out on Twitter, CVS could sell retail Part D plans. I think CVS may be able to provide Aetna with friendly health plans that go beyond pharmacy.
Certainly, the shadow of Amazon is hanging on the case. CVS is extremely nervous about the idea that Amazon arrives and eats his lunch in a way that Walgreens has never been able to. So that's something that Amazon is not going to do in third party reimbursement.
Stay tuned. I can not wait to see how this one is played.
I like it: