Inside This Issue - News
Rx innovation is focus at CVS
March 18th, 2013
PITTSBURGH – CVS Caremark Corp. is reinventing pharmacy for better health, president and chief executive officer Larry Merlo told the Economic Club of Pittsburgh last month.
“Traditionally people have thought about pharmacies as pill dispensaries, but we know that a pharmacy is much more than that,” Merlo said. “Delivering pharmacy care is about extending the front lines of health care to deliver better outcomes at lower cost to the people we serve. As a pharmacy innovation company, CVS Caremark is driving new approaches to do that.”
Pharmacists are the company’s greatest asset, he said. They are highly trusted resources for patients and uniquely positioned to help ensure that patients take their medications properly, at the dosage, frequency and duration their doctor prescribed. Medication nonadherence costs the country’s health care system about $300 billion a year, so focusing on efforts to reduce nonadherence can make a major impact not only on improving health but on reducing costs.
CVS Caremark is also concentrating on helping customers manage chronic diseases through its Pharmacy Advisor program. Pharmacists work with patients to help them stay on their medication and prevent complications through phone outreach and e-mail reminders, in-store counseling, and home consultation for the most complex cases.
Merlo noted that elderly patients with multiple conditions take 13 to 19 prescription medications a day. He cited the hypothetical case of a typical 68-year-old woman who has diabetes, hyperlipidemia and rheumatoid arthritis. CVS texts her when she’s due for a refill, and she goes to her local CVS store to get her prescription. Her co-pay is the same as for a mail-order prescription, thanks to the company’s Maintenance Choice program.
Merlo also noted that CVS Caremark is helping improve access to high-quality and affordable health care through MinuteClinic, the nation’s largest retail clinic provider.
“When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, more than 30 million newly insured Americans will have access to care,” Merlo remarked. “MinuteClinic is able to replace the use of higher-cost sites, such as emergency rooms, as well as address unmet needs for access to primary care providers. This helps to hold down overall costs of care.”
Merlo presented a $50,000 check to Christopher Gessner, president of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The grant, from the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, will support a hospital program that provides resources for families of children who have been newly diagnosed with vision disabilities.