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A Holdout on the CVS-Aetna Deal: Brainstorm Health

Good afternoon, readers.

The corporate marriage between CVS and Aetna was one of the most significant health care transactions of the past few years. But here’s the thing – it’s not, on the most technical level, done done. Or at the very least, there’s still a notable detractor hanging out there.

The retail pharmacy chain and insurance giant won the feds’ blessings for their mammoth merger last year. However, Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has become something of a gadfly for the firms. And he’s still sticking around to question the merits and potential antitrust concerns raised by the M&A.

Specifically, Leon is questioning the deal’s possible effect on competition in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. There will be three days of testimony related to the issue in federal court.

This is, to put it lightly, a bit of an awkward situation for all involved, especially since CVS and Aetna have already begun behaving like a merged company (and one with Department of Justice blessings). But it ain’t over till the cloaked judge sings.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee
@the_sy_guy
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com

DIGITAL HEALTH

Another day, another massive data breach. Medical testing giant Quest Diagnostics is warning that some 12 million consumers’ personal medical and financial information may have been breached via an unauthorized user’s access to a third party vendor. The information could potentially include banking, medical, and Social Security data, the company says. “Quest Diagnostics takes this matter very seriously and is committed to the privacy and security of patients’ personal, medical and financial information,” Quest said in an SEC filing. (Fortune)

INDICATIONS

Biopharma has a massive pay gap problem. I’ve been neglecting to highlight this fantastic report from BioPharma Dive on biopharmaceutical company pay for workers and CEOs. The whole thing is worth reading (the publication took pains to examine the data from a market, employee culture, and representation perspective alike) but here’s what stood out to me: “In 2018, more than 90% of CEOs were men. Just 16 of the 194 executives included in this analysis were female.” Telling, isn’t it? (BioPharma Dive)

THE BIG PICTURE

A new study has a beef with chicken. Diet stories seem to rule the world of “health care internet” and we’ve got another one to add to the pile. A new study from University of California, San Francisco researchers suggests that “white meat” may be about as bad as the dreaded “red meat”—at least when it comes to elevation in cholesterol levels. There’s another side to that, too, though… Not all kinds of cholesterol necessarily mean you’ll face cardiovascular and heart problems. But, hey, more to chew on in the diet space. (CNN)

REQUIRED READING

A Majority of Economists Think There Will Be a Recession By the 2020 Electionby Erik Sherman

Tech Companies See Big Opportunity in an ‘Undercounted and Underestimated’ Africaby Beth Kowitt

Are Digital Tokens Securities? by Bloomberg

Meet the Woman Who Beat the Jeopardy! Champby Chris Morris

Produced by Sy Mukherjee
@the_sy_guy
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com
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