UTICA, N.Y. -- According to some local pharmacists, a merger that's in the works could increase prices for some medications -- so they're fighting back.
Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi joined area pharmacists at Parkway Drugs in Utica.
They said a merger between CVS Health and insurer Aetna will have a "domino effect of negative consequences." Those include raising health care and prescription drug prices, reducing the number of physicians, and hurting independent pharmacies. They also have privacy concerns.
Previous reports say it's a nearly $70 billion deal, aiming to turn stores into health hubs where people can get what they need without going to the hospital.
"Aetna is a large insurer so they insure people across the whole country so if they merge together they can control not only what pharmacies you go to, which they do now, but also what doctors you go to, what hospitals are involved," said Parkway Drugs Owner and Pharmacist Vincent Chiffy.
"I mean this is something we get a lot of complaints about is the high cost of prescription drugs, and my fear is that with less competition there will be higher prices and we're gonna lose out on some of these small independent pharmacies," said Congressional candidate Anthony Brindisi.
Brindisi, who is challenging Congresswoman Claudia Tenney this November, wrote a letter to the Department of Justice asking to block the proposal.
Spectrum News reached out for comment from Aetna and have not heard back.
CVS Health Corporate Communications Vice President Carolyn Castel responded:
"Our vision is to create a new health care model that will help consumers improve their health by focusing on prevention and primary care, simplifying their health care experience and reducing costs. We believe that competition within each of the business segments in which we operate – pharmacy benefit management, pharmacies and insurers – is fierce and will remain so. And this combination does not further concentrate the health care sector; instead it reconfigures it to bring together disparate parts of the health care system that today lead to inefficient, ineffective and more costly care. We intend to create a community-based integrated model in which doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other health care professionals work together to provide a health care experience that is simpler, more convenient and less expensive."