Pharmacy group urges US to block Optum-Amedisys deal

Independent pharmacies and lawmakers are asking the federal government to probe UnitedHealth Group's proposed scoop of Amedisys, one of the largest home health and hospice care providers in the U.S.

In June, UnitedHealth Group's Optum division announced plans to acquire Amedisys for $3.3 billion, and a few months later, an overwhelming majority of its shareholders approved the potential transaction. Amedisys has more than 500 care centers across 37 states.

Legislators and local pharmacies are skeptical, though, arguing that the deal could weaken competition and hurt patients. 

Greg Reybold, director of healthcare policy for the American Pharmacy Cooperative, called the proposed acquisition "chilling."

The Justice Department is already inspecting the possible acquisition, but the American Pharmacy Cooperative — which represents more than 1,600 independent community pharmacies across 31 states — is asking for higher scrutiny. 

UnitedHealth Group has not shared when it expects to finalize the transaction.

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