AHF Thanks Judge for Putting Brakes on CVS-Aetna Merger

In Featured by Rachel Mills

Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia halted the integration of CVS Health and Aetna, noting anti-competitive concerns.  Judge Leon gave the companies until Dec. 14, with a hearing set for Dec. 18, to show why they should be able to move ahead with integration. (Modern Healthcare).

WASHINGTON (December 4, 2018) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) thanked Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for insisting on deliberate judicial review of the integration and its potential anticompetitive effects. AHF believes the merger is particularly bad for HIV patients.  “Allowing one company to control both ends of the service spectrum for a person with HIV interferes with patients’ control over their treatment, eliminates choice by reducing competition, and will likely increase prices,” said Donna Tempesta, CPA, Vice President – Northern Region and Finance for AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

According to Modern Healthcare, Judge Leon announced that CVS and Aetna have until December 14 to show him why they shouldn’t hold off on their consolidation, and he will hold a hearing on December 18 to consider the parties’ arguments.  He rightfully expressed distaste for what he called the parties’ “rubber-stamp approach” to his role, insofar as the parties and Department of Justice appear to be proceeding as if the court’s sign-off were a done deal. As noted by Modern Healthcare “Courts have to oversee Justice Department settlements in cases like these to make sure they are in the public interest and not the result of sweetheart deals with the administration in power.”  Congress has amended federal law “to strengthen the judiciary’s oversight of the executive branch’s anti-trust decrees.”

This merger raised many red flags,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AHF, “which state and federal regulators glossed over in granting approval. We thank Judge Leon for putting the brakes on this deal that will harm patients and the public to allow for the Court’s careful review of the anticompetitive aspects of the deal.”

Last week, AHF sharply criticized the merger of CVS Health and Aetna, (CVS-Aetna Merger Expected to Go Forward This Week After Securing Final Approval from New York Regulators,’ Kaiser Health News 11/27/18), noting that it would be particularly bad for HIV/AIDS patients and other individuals with chronic health conditions.  In October, at a hearing held by New York regulators on the CVS-Aetna merger, AHF expressed its objections to the merger. Last month, AHF also sent a outlining five (5) specific areas of concern to the merger to the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance’s Office of Solvency Regulation.

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 1,000,000 individuals in 42 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.

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