The convenience of living in the United States of America is that our world has so much to offer, compared to that of many third-world nations.
If you need antibiotics, they're readily available with a prescription and a short urgent care or general practice visit then off to the pharmacy to try the script filled.
That's going to become an even shorter process after it's been announced that CVS Pharmacy is purchasing insurance giant Aetna for a whopping $69 billion dollars.
When the deal finalizes it will have merged one of America's largest pharmacy chains with the powerhouse of the insurance behemoth. Aetna already provides walk-in treatment facilities, many of which continue to grow annually but now will provide customers with a doctor's visit and their prescription in the same place. They will receive a quick diagnosis and walk out with their medication.
According to<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/03/cvs-agrees-to-buy-aetna-in-69-billion-deal-that-could-shake-up-health-care-industry/?utm_term=.f35112644d1c"> The Washington Post</a>, the deal, which would be the largest merger of a pharmaceutical services company and an insurance giant in history; will give CVS control of Aetna divided into around $207 per share, $145 which would be cash price and the rest made up of stock.
The timing of this major acquisition is no coincidence either, with reports that Amazon might be getting into the pharmacy business has been rampant for months, and the company's notorious for stepping into new businesses and crushing the competition with low price, fast delivery, and its massive network of loyal shoppers.
What this means for how your medication gets paid for, is that CVS would be the insurer for many, also the doctor, and sell your medication. Discounted package deals definitely sound fantastic.
With the Aetna deal, CVS wouldn't be alone in controlling both the insurer and PBM part of paying for prescriptions. UnitedHealthcare, for example, owns the PBM OptumRx, while Anthem, which owns a variety of Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance firms, will be launching its own PBM called IngenioRx.
CVS would own every step of the prescription drug process, which isn't a bad thing either because CVS has always treated both employees and customers with passion and respect.
CVS won't control the drug wholesalers though, which are in charge of shipping drugs to pharmacies and hospitals, and the pharmaceutical companies that actually make the drugs. That would keep much of the money changing hands within the same company.
The deal is going to likely spark more mergers to compete with the upcoming Amazon boom in the field, something that analysts say is completely unpredictable as to the end result as of yet, but it's certainly forcing companies to join forces based upon speculation alone.
"I think it will create more consolidation among the insurers and retailers, blurring the lines," said Ana Gupte, an analyst at Leerink Partners, who recently pointed to retail giants Walgreens Boots Alliance or Walmart as potential "dark horse acquirers" of the health insurer
Wall Street analysts have also said that the deal could lower health spending, for example, CVS can push customers to use a walk-in clinic they own instead or the emergency room for most minor issues.
Of course, consumer advocates have already tried to argue the latest deal would limit consumer choice and could make it even harder for new companies to enter into a market increasingly dominated by behemoth companies, and they're not wrong.
However, most Americans want a fast treatment that's inexpensive, and undoubtedly with Amazon to compete with as well as other brick and mortar companies its certain to be quite the competitive spirit that drives America.
What a time to be alive (and healthy).
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