Dec 10, 2019

UnitedHealth Group's OptumRx is buying Diplomat Pharmacy for $300 million

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

UnitedHealth Group's OptumRx division is buying Diplomat Pharmacy for $300 million, roughly a month after Diplomat said it was running out of money and was exploring a sale.

Why it matters: Health insurance companies have tightened their oligopoly hold on specialty pharmacies.

  • UnitedHealth and the other big insurers, which own these pharmacies that sell high-cost drugs for complex diseases, helped create Diplomat's financial problems by routing prescriptions to themselves over Diplomat. 
  • Now, Diplomat is selling itself to the giant that squeezed it, at a discount, and specialty pharmacy competition goes down. Diplomat's pharmacy benefit manager also gets absorbed by UnitedHealth.

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Big Pharma keeps its status quo after USMCA deal

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Pharma didn't get what it wanted on trade, but it's still doing just fine.

The big picture: In this political climate, with this much scrutiny on drug prices, preserving the status quo is an enormous victory for this incredibly powerful industry. And though it failed to win a new victory on trade, the status quo is perfectly intact.

Go deeperArrowDec 11, 2019

NortonLifeLock approached by McAfee, private equity firms

Photo: Cristina Arias/Cover/Getty Images)

NortonLifeLock, a consumer cybersecurity software maker, has received takeover interest from rival McAfee, per the WSJ. The private equity pairing of Advent International and Permira also may bid.

Why it matters: Because any deal would involve big dollars — NortonLifeLock's market cap is nearly $16 billion — and a complex backstory.

Go deeperArrowDec 10, 2019

Cigna's big divestiture on its life and disability insurance business

Photo: Julia Rendleman/Getty Images for Eventive Marketing

Cigna finally pulled the trigger on selling its life and disability insurance business, netting $5.3 billion after taxes from New York Life.

The big picture: Health insurers have been divesting products that have less to do with actual medical care and instead combining with companies that sell drug benefits

Go deeperArrowDec 19, 2019