November 10, 2020

Around the nation: CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo to retire

Daily Briefing

    CVS Health says Larry Merlo, the company's current president and CEO, will retire in the spring, and an Aetna executive will take his place, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Maryland, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C.

    • Maryland: An FDA advisory panel in an 8-1 vote on Friday declined to recommend that the agency approve Biogen's Alzheimer's drug candidate aducanumab, citing a lack of evidence showing that the experimental treatment slows the disease's progression. The panel said data from Biogen's late-stage clinical trial did not provide "strong evidence" showing aducanumab effectively treats Alzheimer's. The advisory panel's decision was surprising, as the panel disagreed with FDA reviewers' positive assessment of Biogen's data supporting the drug candidate's approval. The panel's recommendation is nonbinding, meaning FDA does not have to follow the suggestion (Lovelace, CNBC, 11/6; Belluck, New York Times, 11/6; Marchione/Perrone, Associated Press, 11/6).

    • Rhode Island: CVS Health on Friday announced that Larry Merlo, the company's president and CEO who began his career at CVS as a community pharmacist more than four decades ago, will retire effective May 31, 2021. According to CVS Health, Merlo will stop serving as the company's president and CEO on Feb. 1, 2021, but he will continue to serve on the company's board of directors until its next annual stockholders' meeting in May 2021 and as a strategic advisor at the company until his retirement. Starting Feb. 1, 2021, Karen Lynch, who is currently the EVP of CVS Health and president of Aetna, will take over as CVS Health's president and CEO, the company said. Lynch, who has led Aetna since CVS Health acquired the insurer in 2018, said she plans "to build on the strong foundation [Merlo] has put in place to continue to make health care more accessible and affordable, driving better health outcomes for our consumers and communities" (Terlep, Wall Street Journal, 11/6; CVS release, 11/6).
    • Washington D.C.: A Trump administration official on Friday confirmed reports that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Trump's campaign adviser Nick Trainer, and five other White House aides tested positive for the novel coronavirus last week. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Monday also confirmed that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. The reports have sparked concerns of another coronavirus outbreak among top administration officials (Gearan/Dawsey, Washington Post, 11/7; Haberman/Shear, New York Times, 11/6).
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