Pharmacist group objects to UnitedHealth acquisition

The National Community Pharmacists Association called UnitedHealth Group "a three-headed dragon and one of the worst actors in the market" in response to a federal judge ruling in favor of UnitedHealth acquiring a revenue cycle management company. 

The Justice Department filed suit against the potential acquisition based on anticompetitive concerns because Change Healthcare, the RCM company, has insurer customers' data, which could interfere with UnitedHealth's insurance business. Eight months after the Justice Department filed suit, UnitedHealth is now cleared to acquire Change for $7.8 billion. 

UnitedHealth said the data will be protected, and a judge agreed Sept. 19. NACP's CEO, Douglas Hoey, disagreed with the ruling because UnitedHealth already has insurance, pharmacy benefit manager and mail-order pharmacy businesses. 

"The acquisition of the Change Healthcare will give it a massive advantage over its competitors," Mr. Hoey said in a statement. "It will create an irresistible incentive for the insurance company to use patient data to steer business to its own pharmacy and away from local, small-business pharmacies."

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