Local pharmacists shudder at CVS/Aetna merger

Kristin Thorne Image
Thursday, December 7, 2017
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Kristin Thorne has details on how the CVS/Aetna merger will affect local pharmacies.

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, Long Island (WABC) -- Local pharmacists are shuddering at the idea of a CVS/Aetna merger, as it could mean the end of their already struggling businesses.

Thomas D'Angelo, the owner of Americare Compound in Garden City and a regional representative to the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York (PSSNY), says small pharmacies are already struggling to make ends meet.

"One of my friends locally, he got reimbursed three cents completely for a prescription last week," he said. "Three cents for the total prescription."

The CVS/Aetna deal would most likely force all of Aetna's 20 million patients to get their prescriptions from CVS or Caremark, CVS' mail order service.

D'Angelo said since it is small pharmacies and not the large retailers that typically carry specialty medications, there are concerns as to whether patients will be able to find more obscure drugs if the small pharmacies are no longer in existence.

"It means a lot of pharmacies that are just on the fringe of shutting down right now will shut down," he said.

PSSNY Executive Director Kathy Febraio said the merger between CVS and Aetna will not help patients.

"It will put CVS Health/Aetna in the position of determining where a patient can go for care, which medications are available to the patient and how much those medications will cost," she said.

CVS has said its acquisition of Aetna will provide consumers with a better experience, reduce costs and improve access to health care experts in homes and communities across the country.

"With the analytics of Aetna and CVS Health's human touch, we will create a health care platform built around individuals," CVS Health President Larry Merlo said.