CVS Insights

Reinventing Pharmacy for Better Health

- Hear our President and CEO, Larry J. Merlo

- Listen to EVP and Chief Healthcare Strategy and Marketing Officer, Helena Foulkes

- Meet a pharmacist

- Get to know a Mail Pharmacy colleague

Our company does a lot of different things and at first glance it may be difficult to see how they’re all related.  We run retail stores and pharmacies.  We operate retail health clinics.  We administer prescription benefit plans.  We sponsor and conduct health care research.

Yet everything we do is tied together by one important idea: we are committed to reinventing pharmacy for better health.  Our unique combination of best-in-class businesses positions us to deliver on this promise in a way that no other company can.

As a pharmacy innovation company, we will continue to develop products and services that help people on their path to better health.  Yet we recognize that these days it’s not always easy to find or even navigate that path. Beyond the complexity inherent in today’s medicines, there are a lot of other obstacles in the way.

“As a pharmacist, I see first hand how innovative pharmacy care, provided by caring people, has real impact on the health of individuals and families.”

For example, there’s the rising cost of health care and what amounts to a growing traffic jam of people waiting to access the health care system. By 2020, the country will be short an estimated 45,000 physicians.

These are troublesome roadblocks because what quickly gets lost in this scenario is preventive care. If health care becomes more expensive and harder to access, people can be rerouted off of their healthy path. And many of these detours have dire consequences.

For example, we know if more people got a flu shot, there would be thousands fewer deaths each year. And a significant numbers of patients accessing care through costly emergency room visits could instead receive help in non-emergent settings.

Preventive care also includes patients taking medicines as directed. For a variety of reasons though, many people either stop taking their medicines completely or do not take them as prescribed. In either case, both the patient and the health care system suffer tremendously.

With these and an array of other challenges facing our customers, we realize we need to be more than just a place where they go to pick-up their prescriptions. And we are. More and more often, and in many more ways, CVS Caremark plays an important role in helping people find and stay on their path to better health.

We’re helping to lower health care costs, while ensuring that more people have access to quality care.  Our pharmacy benefits management team works to lower drug costs for payors and encourages patients to use cost-saving generics. They also provide personalized service and counseling to help people get their medications and refills when they need them, and to warn them of possible drug interactions.

CVS Caremark’s team of specialized clinical pharmacists counsel patients in the use of complex therapies for conditions such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis, HIV and multiple sclerosis.

Staffed by dedicated and caring nurse practitioners and physicians assistants, our retail health clinics provide people with convenient, affordable health care on their schedules and in their neighborhoods.

And our over 20,000 retail pharmacists are not just dispensers of medications, but providers of broader health care services – and, of course, trusted pharmacy advice.

“As a pharmacist, I see first hand how innovative pharmacy care, provided by caring people, has real impact on the health of individuals and families,” says Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Caremark.  “More than ever, people need and deserve that. Many of our customers and stakeholders no longer think of us exclusively as a pharmacy retailer or solely as a pharmacy benefits manager, and that’s a good thing.  Because we are a category of one, we’re in the best position to reinvent pharmacy for better health.”

The reinvention of pharmacy has already begun through our MinuteClinic locations, our Pharmacy Advisor® and Maintenance Choice® programs and our sponsored research.

And while some of our customers want nothing more than the convenience and value our company was founded on, many of them want a partner - a company they can trust to help them live healthier and more productive lives. That partnership might happen in any one of a number of ways: at a free health screening at one of our community health fairs; in a conversation with the pharmacist-either at the counter, on the phone or online-about your medications; in the form of a reminder to pick up your refill which is ready and waiting for you; or the convenience of having your three-month supply of medication mailed right to your home.

At CVS Caremark, our strategy of reinventing pharmacy is really an acknowledgement that we don’t want to just adapt in this new environment; we want to be at the front, leading change. But it is purposeful change we’re focused on.

That’s why we’re reinventing pharmacy for better health.