Aetna to Acquire Pharmacy Mail-Service Facility

Agreement reached with Eckerd Health Services

HARTFORD, Conn., December 10, 2002 — Aetna (NYSE: ΑET) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Kansas City, Missouri mail-order pharmacy facility of Eckerd Health Services. The transaction, which is expected to close in January 2003, is subject to customary closing conditions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, although the purchase price is not material to Aetna.

“This acquisition is an important component of Aetna’s pharmacy strategy,” Chairman and CEO John W. Rowe, M.D., said. “The addition of a high-quality integrated mail-service facility will provide us with key competitive advantages: more effective medical cost control through better integration of capabilities; better alignment with customer objectives; and the ability to capitalize on future shifts in the pharmacy marketplace. Over the long term, these advantages will better position us to deliver value to our members, customers and shareholders.”

“Leveraging our strong existing pharmacy capability, formulary management, claims processing and ingredient pricing, combined with our in-house mail-service pharmacy, enables us to compete as a full-service integrated pharmacy benefit manager,” said Robyn S. Walsh, senior vice president and head of Aetna Pharmacy Services. “This transaction builds on the relationship that Aetna and Eckerd have had for more than 10 years. Both parties anticipate taking additional steps to capitalize on future pharmacy-related opportunities that will benefit Aetna’s members and customers. Migration for Aetna’s fully insured customers from their current mail-order pharmacy vendor to Aetna’s new facility will begin early next year.”

“Eckerd Health Services has enjoyed a long and very successful relationship with Aetna," said Francis A. Marasco, president of Eckerd Health Services. "Aetna's acquisition of our Kansas City facility is just another step in our partnership."

Aetna is one of the nation’s leading providers of health care, dental, disability and long-term care benefits, serving approximately 13.9 million medical members, 11.9 million dental members and 11.7 million group insurance customers, as of September 30, 2002. The company has expansive nationwide networks of more than 539,000 health care services providers, including more than 327,000 primary care and specialist physicians and 3,300 hospitals. For more information about Aetna, please visit the company’s website at

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