DOJ Lawsuit to Halt UnitedHealth Monopoly Earns AHF’s Praise

In Featured, News by Ged Kenslea

WASHINGTON (February 24, 2022) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today praised the United State Department of Justice (DOJ) and the states of New York and Minnesota for a federal lawsuit jointly filed by the three parties seeking to block a proposed merger between insurer UnitedHealth Group and Change Healthcare. Politico first reported news of the lawsuit, filed earlier today in Washington, DC, reporting that DOJ and the two states argued in the complaint that “… the $13 billion health tech deal would give the insurer access to too much sensitive data about its rivals.”


“We applaud and thank the federal government and states of New York and Minnesota for taking steps to help consumers and the public fight health care monopolies,” said Tom Myers, General Counsel and Chief of Public Affairs for AHF. “As it is, UnitedHeath’s Optum Rx PBM together with CVS Caremark and Express Scripts control over two-thirds of the prescription market. This proposed merger is one step closer to total monopoly and away from consumer—and patient—choice.”


The online industry newsletter Drug Channels estimated that for 2020, “… the big three PBMs—CVS Health (including Caremark and Aetna), the Express Scripts business of Cigna, and the OptumRx business of UnitedHealth Group—processed about 77% of all equivalent prescription claims. The top six PBMs handled more than 95% of total U.S. equivalent prescription claims.”


Politico also reported that “Critics of the deal include the American Hospital Association, a trade group representing more than 5,000 U.S. hospitals, and the National Community Pharmacists Association, which represents thousands of independent pharmacies,” and that the merger “… is the first major deal in the healthcare industry challenged by the Biden administration.”


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