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Judge allows most integration between CVS, Aetna

Most integration between CVS Health Corp. and Aetna Inc. could push through while a U.S. federal judge reviews the consent decree related to the two entities' merger, Reuters reported.

Early in December, Judge Richard Leon asked CVS and Aetna to justify integrating before he approves the terms of the merger, leading to concerns that the two entities may have to wait until at least February 2019 before commencing integration. Leon must approve the agreement that the two companies and the U.S. Department of Justice reached as part of the federal approval process.

Leon accepted CVS' offer to let Aetna independently make critical product, pricing and personnel decisions during the review period. He wrote in a Dec. 21 order that he is satisfied that the assets of the two companies will be "sufficiently separate" while the review process is ongoing.