Hal Singer

Hal Singer is managing partner of Econ One, an economics consulting firm, and an adjunct professor at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. He consulted to an independent specialty pharmacy on the CVS/Aetna merger.

Recent Articles

Why the Justice Department Waved Through the CVS-Aetna Merger

The insurance company/pharmacy merger could have been fixed to prevent market power, even if it wasn’t totally blocked.

This week, Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is holding a Tunney Act hearing, which allows courts to scrutinize merger approvals by the Department of Justice (DoJ), on the CVS-Aetna merger. Judge Leon’s evidentiary hearing with testimony from concerned parties is a first of its kind . In sharp contrast to the AT&T/Time Warner deal, another vertical merger that the DoJ sought to block, the antitrust agency waved through CVS-Aetna, with a modest requirement to spin off Aetna’s Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. Now, the DoJ is being forced to defend itself in court. Why did the antitrust division engage in a seeming double standard, when the cases share particular similarities? By happenstance, Judge Leon also adjudicated—and eventually rejected—the DoJ’s attempt to block the AT&T/Time Warner merger. In that case, the vertical stacking involved two layers: the distribution unit that delivers cable...