December 22, 2017 – CVS and Aetna

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Anchor lead: Do big drug stores and health insurers belong together? Elizabeth Tracey reports Is the recently announced purchase of health insurer Aetna by CVS pharmacies likely to help or hurt consumers? Some pundits argue that access to basic health care and competitive prices on drugs will be improved, while others are concerned that after cornering the market, the consolidated giant will raise prices. Redonda Miller, president of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, says this is just the latest merger. Miller: Well I think it’s a very interesting development seeing all this consolidation in the healthcare industry, including some vertical consolidation and vertical integration. One certainly hopes that this translates into better drug pricing for our patients. :15 Miller says the big factor in drug pricing is pharma. Miller: I think any conversation without involving the pharmaceutical industry won’t go terribly far. But perhaps this will be some enhanced negotiating power. :09 Miller says she’s hopeful that economies of scale realized in the merger will result in stabilized prices for consumers. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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