Pharmacy Week in Review: CVS-Aetna Merger Challenged, Chronic Idiopathic Constipation Treatment Approved

A look at last week's top stories in the world of pharmacy.


Hello and welcome to the Pharmacy Times News Network. I’m Nicole Grassano your host for our Pharmacy Week in Review.

Despite the completion of CVS Health’s purchase of Aetna in November, the company continues to be challenged over the merger’s potentially harmful effect on consumers and smaller competitors, Pharmacy Times reported. Even though the deal received Department of Justice clearance, several pharmacy associations, as well as the American Medical Association and patient groups, continue to urge that the merger to be blocked. This month, the Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency and the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York jointly filed a motion asking Judge Richard Leon of the US District Court for the District of Columbia to stop Aetna and CVS Health from further integration while the court determines the merger’s harmful effects. The Justice Department approved the merger in October on the condition that Aetna sell its Medicare prescription drug plan business to WellCare Health Plans. 

The CDC has released 12 tips for enjoying the holidays while being mindful of one’s health, Contemporary Clinic reported. Tips from the CDC include washing one’s hands often with soap and clean water for at least 20 seconds to prevent the spread of germs. The CDC also recommends that with temperatures dropping, people should stay dry and warm by bundling up in appropriate outdoor clothing. These include light, warm layers, gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots. Another tip is to manage stress by connecting with others, finding support, getting the recommended amount of sleep, and relaxing, according to the CDC.

FDA officials have approved Motegrity from Shire to treat chronic idiopathic constipation or CIC, Specialty Pharmacy Times reported. An estimated 35 million adults live with CIC, affecting about 14% of the adult population, according to Shire. Motegrity, a selective serotonin-4 receptor agonist, provides an oral treatment option for adults with the disease. Unlike other medications for CIC, Motegrity works by enhancing colonic peristalsis to increase bowel motility.

Pharmacists may get more questions about Blue-Emu Pain Relief Spray if their patients have seen a new commercial for the OTC pain reliever. In the spot, Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench says he uses Blue-Emu Pain Relief Spray and Super Strength Cream to help relieve his aches and pains. According to the commercial, Blu-Emu Pain Relief is odor-free.

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Thanks for watching our Pharmacy Week in Review. I’m Nicole Grassano at the Pharmacy Times News Network.

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