Trending News Today: Cigna-Express Scripts Merger Faces Antitrust Uncertainty

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Last week, an agreement was announced in which Cigna would purchase Express Scripts for $67 billion. Although leaders of both companies said the merger would streamline patient care, it may face significant scrutiny from antitrust regulators who will determine whether the deal will be beneficial to consumers, according to Bloomberg. The key questions regulators will have to answer is how much more efficient could the merger make health care delivery and what savings will be passed on to patients, according to the article. The newly-proposed consolidation comes soon after talks of a merger between CVS Health and Aetna.

A federal judge recently ordered Walgreen Co to face a proposed class action lawsuit that accuses the pharmacy chain of overcharging insured customers for generic drugs for more than a decade, The New York Times reported. The lawsuit alleges that Walgreen charges insured customers more than those in its direct-pay Prescription Savings Club. The judge said Walgreen misled insurers when seeking reimbursement and that insured customers should expect to pay the same as those paying without insurance, according to the Times.

The overdose death toll in West Virginia improved from 887 fatal overdoses in 2016 to 872 in 2017, according to The New York Times. The death toll of 52 per 100,000 residents in West Virginia was the highest in the United States in 2016. The slight progress is attributable to modifying response by identifying risk factors; however, public health experts are cautiously optimistic about the drop, according to the article.

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