Assemblymember Kevin A. Cahill released a letter he sent to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), the entity currently reviewing the proposed merger of CVS Health and Aetna, Inc.
The correspondence summarized several significant concerns that came to light during a joint hearing held by the New York Assembly Committees on Health and Insurance on June 4th of this year. PSSNY was invited to testify at this event.
PSSNY secured a meeting with the DOJ on August 15th and informed them of these concerns directly.
Mr. Cahill urged the DOJ to block the merger on several bases. He asserted that the loss of competition will result in increased prescription drug prices, harm independent pharmacies and diminish provider choice - all of which significantly hurts New York consumers.
"If this deal goes through, three major healthcare companies will become one large conglomerate and there will be a dramatic loss of some of the positive impact that market competition can bring. The sponsors have simply failed to substantiate how this mega merger will result in better patient care and lower costs. Though they were given every opportunity, CVS and Aetna were unable or unwilling to provide substantiation of any significant public benefit whatsoever. Those that were discussed, cost cutting, streamlining of organizations and the like, while promising a better bottom line for investors, lacked virtually any evidence that consumers would be helped in any significant way. It is becoming clear that this merger will truly not benefit anyone other than CVS, Aetna, Caremark and their stockholders," stated Assemblymember Cahill. Read the full press release.
In his letter to Attorney General Session, Assemblymember Cahill states, "This transaction has the potential to create an entity that will be too large and complex to properly regulate in the best interests of the public." Summarized below are the finding from the June 4th proceeding:
Allowing CVS and Aetna to merge creates a conglomerate that will be too difficult to regulate and will likely harm patient care.
CVS and Aetna have failed to prove that the public will actually benefit from the merger.
Several public interest concerns have not been adequately addressed including how the companies plan to protect patient information and how drug prices will actually be lowered once the merger significantly decreases market competition.
The New York State Assembly Insurance Committee is considering legislation to protect consumers in our state.
New York State's Executive Agencies have failed to be vocal about the merger's risks to New York State consumers.
Conclusion: The United States Department of Justice should act in the public's interest and block the CVS and Aetna merger.
PSSNY commends Assemblymember Cahill for this position and urges other state agencies and legislators to oppose this merger!