CVS agreed Sunday to buy Aetna for about $69 billion in a deal that may reshape the American healthcare industry. Aetna’s CEO Mark Bertolini sat down with Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick at Techonomy 2017 just one month ago and was forthcoming about what needs to change in healthcare and about why Aetna was talking to companies like CVS.
The deal, among the largest corporate combinations ever, would combine CVS’ drugstore and pharmacy benefit management businesses with one of the country’s biggest health insurers. It comes partly in response to Amazon’s entrance into the U.S. pharmacy business, and is part of a wave of mergers in health care.
In his conversation on the Techonomy stage in California, Bertolini said Aetna was having conversations with Walmart, Walgreens and CVS with the aim of creating an in-store experience “that looks more like an Apple store than it looks like a drugstore.”

Bertolini is one of American business’ most outspoken and idiosyncratic leaders, who speaks with passion about his own flawed experiences in the American healthcare system. Those painful episodes, he says, have made him determined to reform the system. He also believes, as he explained in November, that capitalism is under threat, and that only if businesses take a more pro-active approach to the public good will the people retain their confidence in business.
Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini has been a longtime member of the Techonomy community. He has attended and spoken at several Techonomy events, including in his own hometown of Detroit, and has contributed articles to our site. See all his appearances and contributions here.