Judge Richard Leon of the US District Court for the District of Columbia has approved the merger of pharmacy firm CVS Health and health insurer Aetna.

The judgement came after the federal judge reviewed a Justice Department decision that permitted both companies to merge.

On the condition that Aetna will offload to divest its Medicare prescription drug plan business to WellCare Health Plans, the justice department allowed CVS and Aetna merger. Both deals have already been completed.

At the outset, the federal judge refused to approve the merger saying that he wants to hear arguments of parties criticising the deal. However, he later relented and decided to approve the consent agreement.

In his verdict, Leon said: “If the Tunney Act is to mean anything,  it surely must mean that no court should rubberstamp a consent decree approving the merger of “one of the largest companies in the United States” and ‘the nation’s third-largest health-insurance company,’ … simply because the Government requests it!”

Commenting on the judgement, CVS in a statement said: “CVS Health and Aetna have been one company since November 2018, and today’s action by the District Court makes that 100% clear. We remain focused on transforming the consumer health care experience in America.”

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By GlobalData

Earlier in last November, the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) approved CVS’s $69bn acquisition of Aetna. CVS and Aetna first announced the cash-stock merger deal in December 2017.