SUMMARY: Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, offered this testimony on the proposed acquisition of Aetna, Inc. (“Aetna”) by CVS Health Corporation (“CVS”). From its founding over 80 years ago, Consumer Reports has worked for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers, and to empower consumers to protect themselves. One of our top priorities has always been to make high-quality healthcare available and affordable for all Americans. One key to empowering consumers to protect themselves is ensuring meaningful consumer choice, through effective competition.
In our written testimony, we call to the attention of the Department: (I) that being a vertical merger does not eliminate competition concerns; (II) that consolidation may benefit the merging parties, but the value for consumers is unclear; (III) that a merged health plan, pharmacy, and retail establishment may mean worse care for patients and may raise privacy concerns. We close with recommended undertakings to ensure that any proposed merger will not be approved unless it is in the best interests of consumers.