Cigna’s $52bn acquisition of Express Scripts is approved by the Department of Justice
Health insurer Cigna’s proposed $52bn acquisition of Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) Express Scripts has recently been approved by federal officials, where it has been stated that a merger will provide a number of advantages to consumers in both insurance and PBM markets.
The news follows on from previous horizontal deals, such as Anthem’s acquisition of Cigna and Aetna’s of Humana being blocked due to this threat.
Traditional healthcare players are having to transform outdated business models in order to attract and retain customers, who want increased control over their healthcare, at competitive prices and can ensure high quality.
The emergence of players such as Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan, amongst others, as well as the Trump Administration placing increased pressure on the industry, has led healthcare companies to look at further ways to reduce escalating healthcare costs and remain competitive.
“We are pleased that the Department of Justice has cleared our transaction and that we are another step closer to completing our merger and delivering greater affordability, choice and predictability to our customers and clients as a combined company,” said David Cordani, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cigna.
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“The value that we deliver together will help put our society on a far more sustainable path – one that helps health care professionals’ close gaps in care and supports our customers along their health journey.”
“Together, we believe we will be able to do even more to reduce health care costs, expand choice, and improve patient outcomes,” added Tim Wentworth, chief executive of Express Scripts.
"The Cigna-Scripts and CVS-Aetna deals are doing what everyone else in the healthcare space is doing right now, just on a grander scale – reacting to continued cost pressures from market forces like the Affordable Care Act, consumerism, and other industry players building scale against each other," commented Brad Haller, director of West Monroe Partners.
"The vertical integration we are seeing with retailers buying payers and health plans buying prescription benefit plan providers is the way the industry is going. Now that the DOJ has approved and provided certainty, one would expect others to follow suit."
As the combined company, led by Cordani will gain the ability to share patient data and negotiate lower prices, providing great transparency. The deal will also enable the business to gain greater traction within the Medicare programme.
The deal is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”