Proposed CVS-Aetna Merger Could Jeopardize Patient Safety, Quality of Care in Pennsylvania

Last Updated: Sep 11, 2018

In December 2017, CVS Health Corporation reached an agreement to acquire Aetna, Inc. If the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) approves the merger, Aetna would become a direct, wholly-owned subsidiary of CVS Pharmacy, Inc.

gavel-stethoscope-law-legalThe Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) is concerned that the merger could reduce health care market competitiveness, endanger patient safety, and lessen quality of care in Pennsylvania. PAMED President Theodore Christopher, MD, FACEP recently shared those concerns in a letter to the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and Pennsylvania Insurance Department.

“The proposed acquisition of Aetna by CVS raises significant anti-competitive concerns,” wrote Dr. Christopher.

According to 2017 statistics, Aetna owns the third highest market share of health insurers in Pennsylvania and serves approximately ten percent of the state’s Medicaid population. CVS is one of the largest retail pharmacy chains in the nation and owns a prominent share of the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) service market through its subsidiary CVS-Caremark.

In the letter, PAMED called on the Insurance Department to hold a public hearing to explore the possible implications that a CVS-Aetna merger would have on patients, providers, and the health care market in Pennsylvania.

PAMED joins other organizations, including the American Medical Association (AMA) and the California Department of Insurance, in issuing warnings about the merger’s potential negative impacts. The AMA and the California Department of Insurance have submitted letters to DOJ opposing CVS’ acquisition of Aetna.

If approved, the merger could harm consumers by raising prices and lowering choice and quality in markets such as Medicare Part D, health insurance, and PBM services. It also has the potential to endanger patient safety by allowing non-medical professionals to make treatment decisions based on corporate profit incentives rather than patients’ medical needs.

Read PAMED’s letter.

PAMED’s Legal Resource Center

On behalf of Pennsylvania physicians, PAMED’s Legal Resource Center provides strong legal advocacy in the courts, legislature, and state government agencies. The Center also provides PAMED members with information and resources about laws and regulations that impact the practice of medicine, in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and legal briefs. Learn more at

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