If Aetna Inc. is eventually swallowed by CVS Health Corp., an importantpart of the health-care business will be changed -- perhaps forgood.

For years, pharmacy benefits were largely carved out fromthe rest of a medical coverage plan. But increasingly the twoservices are being combined, a move that in theory will make iteasier to verify whether expensive drugs are worth the cost. Amerger of the third-biggest health insurer with the largest U.S.drugstore chain, which also operates a pharmacy-benefit managementcompany, could speed the process.

“You are hearing the warning for the end of the road for theclassic standalone” pharmacy-benefit business, said Pratap Khedkar,managing principal at consulting firm ZS Associates.

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