WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Dec. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency (PUTT) and the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York (PSSNY) have jointly filed a motion asking U.S. District Court Richard Leon to stop CVS and Aetna from further integration while the Court determines the merger's potentially harmful effect on consumers and smaller competitors.
"We strongly believe the Department of Justice's decision is shortsighted," said PUTT President Teresa Dickinson. "History has shown that when CVS acquires rivals, consumers pay more and service and quality suffer. Past acquisitions have enabled CVS to restrict consumer access and force them to use more expensive drugs. That's why the California Commissioner of Insurance, major consumer groups and the American Medical Association (AMA) all stated the merger should be blocked."
PUTT, PSSNY and numerous independent pharmacy associations have previously joined the AMA, consumers and patient groups in vigorously opposing CVS Health's acquisition of Aetna Inc., citing decreased choice and access for patients as reasons to block the merger. Additionally, both organizations have addressed the dangers the merger presents to smaller healthcare providers to maintain access to, and care of, their patients.
"Every day community pharmacists struggle to provide the best service and lowest prices to consumers, often times facing coercive and exclusionary conduct by CVS' PBM Caremark," said PSSNY President Debbi Barber. "Permitting this merger will almost certainly continue past precedent, with CVS finding new ways of denying consumers access to the healthcare professionals they value."
A cornerstone of PUTT and PSSNY's argument is the sale of Aetna's Medicare Part D business to WellCare Health Plans, Inc, which was required before the two companies could consolidate. However, because WellCare contracts with CVS Caremark to administer the Medicare Part D portion of its business and CVS profits as a result, the point of the spin-off is useless.
Both PUTT and PSSNY have expressed deep concerns in the past on the negative consequences of healthcare "mega mergers," saying focus and attention will be on providing healthy shareholder return rather than a duty of care to patients and consumers, who are already stretched thin with rising healthcare costs. CVS-Aetna is perhaps the highest-profile of these so-called "mega mergers," drawing attention away from other equally-distressing healthcare mergers including Cigna-Express Scripts.
Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency (PUTT) monitors PBM and other industry practices in the interest of improving the quality, safety and cost of patient care. To learn more about PUTT, visit TruthRx.org.
The Pharmacists Society of the State of New York (PSSNY) has served as the society for the state's pharmacists for more than 138 years providing advocacy and resources to pharmacists to improve patient care. To learn more about PSSNY, visit www.PSSNY.org.
SOURCE Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency