What we're reading, July 8, 2016: Aetna will meet with the Department of Justice to discuss Humana purchase; Pfizer will disclose serious risk of addiction when marketing opioids; and US insurers' spending on prescription drugs nearly quadrupled from 2003 to 2014.
Aetna is said to meet with antitrust officials on Friday to discuss its proposed purchase of Humana. Aetna will make the argument that its overlap with Humana is small and will not have a significant impact on competition, reported Bloomberg. However, Fortune is reporting that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has significant concerns, which has caused shares of Humana to fall. The DOJ has already met with Anthem and Cigna to discuss their own merger and expressed concern that the deal could reduce competition.
Although Pfizer sells a small amount of opioids in comparison to other drug makers, it is taking steps to curb opioid addiction. According to The Washington Post, Pfizer reached an agreement with Chicago, which sued opioid manufacturers over misleading marketing of opioids. As part of the agreement, Pfizer will disclose the serious risk of addiction that prescription painkillers carry. In addition, Pfizer is helping Chicago in its investigation and lawsuit.
US insurers’ spending on prescription drugs nearly quadrupled from 2003 to 2014. During the same time period, the number of prescriptions being filled only tripled, reported AP. In 2003, spending on specialty drugs was just 11% of all spending on prescriptions filled, but that jumped to 43% in 2014.