CVS to Buy Aetna for $69 Billion in a Deal That May Reshape the Health Industry

 In U.S.

On Sunday, the two companies emphasized their ability to transform CVS’s 10,000 pharmacy and clinic locations into community-based sites of care that would be far less expensive for patients.

“We think of it as creating a new front door to health care in America,” CVS Health’s chief executive, Larry J. Merlo, said in an interview.

The merger would establish a new way of delivering care, with nurses, pharmacists and others available to counsel people about their diabetes or do the lab work necessary to diagnose a condition, Mr. Merlo said. “We know we can make health care more affordable and less expensive.”

Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna’s chief executive, said that by using CVS’s locations, the company can provide people with a better way of accessing medical care.

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CVS operates 10,000 pharmacy and clinic locations, which Aetna could use to provide care directly to customers.

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Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

“It’s in their community. It’s in their home,” he said. He added, “CVS has the draw. People trust their pharmacist.”

It is the development of community-based clinics — capable of delivering care with the technology and health information available from both parties — that could prove to be the biggest change brought about the deal.

The hope would be that consumers would not only be able to see savings by going to a retail store to treat a sore throat but also have better oversight of a chronic illness, such as diabetes or heart disease. They could get advice on how to lose weight, or undergo tests to monitor their health.

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