At Analyst Day, CVS Caremark unveils host of new initiatives across the board — front-end, pharmacy, clinics and PBM

NEW YORK — At its annual Analyst Day in New York on Tuesday, CVS Caremark executives outlined strong growth for 2012 and unveiled several new offerings and initiatives that are expected to help drive profitable long-term growth as it works to reinvent pharmacy and focus on its “integration sweet spots.”

“We set achievable goals in 2011 and again we delivered results. We have executed successfully on our initiatives and we are well positioned for strong growth in 2012 and beyond,” CVS Caremark president and CEO Larry Merlo told analysts. “We are focused on continued leadership in our core businesses and we are driving pharmacy innovation to solve key issues in health care today. And finally, we are capitalizing on our integration sweet spots to introduce innovative products and services into the marketplace. Now more than ever we are unlocking the value of CVS Caremark to reinvent pharmacy for better health and better shareholder value.”

During the meeting, Merlo cited several healthcare industry trends that present opportunities for the company, specifically: a disproportionate growth in healthcare spending that increasingly is challenged by the aging population; the need for low-cost solutions, such as preventive care and improved medication adherence; the growing primary care shortage and the need for better integration between physicians and other healthcare providers; and the increasing role of the consumer in healthcare decisions as more costs shift from employers to their employees.

In an effort to address these trends and continue to deliver innovative solutions that lower costs and provide better health outcomes, executives shared with analysts several key initiatives, such as Maintenance Choice 2.0, Pharmacy Advisor 3.0 and Caremark Member Care at MinuteClinic.

Maintenance Choice was broadly introduced in 2010 and now, through version 2.0, the program enhances flexibility for consumers and lowers costs for patients and payers. This next generation of the product, Maintenance Choice 2.0, will offer the integration of CVS Caremark mail order pharmacies and CVS pharmacies, making it easier for Maintenance Choice participants to obtain their 90-day prescriptions. Under Maintenance Choice 2.0, there are no design plan changes required to gain 90-day economics for patients and payers, and there’s complete flexibility for consumers to alternate between mail and CVS/pharmacy.

“The Maintenance Choice 2.0 improvements are designed to make our integrated capability more broadly available to the Caremark group of business and make it easier for consumers to use,” Per Lofberg, EVP of CVS Caremark and president of Caremark Pharmacy Services, told analysts.

Lofberg, who joined CVS Caremark nearly two years ago, announced that his contract, initially set to run through 2012, has been extended and he will remain a member of the executive team through the end of 2013.

Lofberg also told analysts that the company will be introducing a readmission prevention program this coming year to better coordinate drug treatments for patients who are discharged from hospitals to help reduce their chances of readmission because of uncoordinated prescribing.

Executives also outlined the evolution of its Pharmacy Advisor program, which currently is focused on diabetes. The company previously announced its plan to roll out Pharmacy Advisor to several cardio vascular conditions in 2012, and with Pharmacy Advisor 3.0, the company is building a comprehensive clinical program for multiple chronic conditions.

“We started with diabetes. In April 2012, our team will roll out the cardiovascular package consisting of hyperlipidemia, hypertension, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. Then, by the end of [2012], we’ll have programs in asthma/COPD, depression, cancer and osteoporosis,” explained Troy Brennan, EVP and chief medical officer. “In 2013, we will roll out [gastrointenstinal] disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and chronic kidney disease. Thus, Pharmacy Advisor 3.0 will be a very comprehensive program built on the best clinical information and on our sweet spot philosophy.”

It also will leverage the MinuteClinic business focusing on such core conditions as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, asthma and depression. Initially, MinuteClinic will screen and monitor and integrate with wellness programs, as well as provide lab testing and biometric analytics. It then will work with strategic partners to provide medication management for patients with chronic disease.

“All of this will be aligned with Pharmacy Advisor program through the Consumer Engagement Engine,” Brennan said.

Speaking of MinuteClinic, the clinic operator has more than 650 clinics in 25 states and expects to operate more than 1,000 clinics by 2016. Since its inception in 2000, MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants have seen more than 11 million patients and more than 10 million in the last five years.

What’s especially interesting is that MinuteClinic, which will break-even by the end of 2011 on an enterprise basis, is experiencing a significant uptick in non-acute visits.

“We are continuing to expand the scope of services we provide. Non-acute care is our fastest growing segment and we expect non-acute visits and non-flu vaccinations to reach 25% of our services over the next five years,” said Andrew Sussman, president of MinuteClinic and SVP and associate chief medical officer for CVS Caremark. “These services include chronic disease monitoring for diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and asthma with associated point of care testing. We also provide physical exams for camps, sports and other administrative purposes.”

This trend is important to note as chronic diseases are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality and, with the shortage of primary care physicians, MinuteClinic clinicians ideally are positioned to treat patients and improve health outcomes and lower overall healthcare costs.

Sussman also told analysts that MinuteClinic is collaborating with Caremark clients to provide cost-effective solutions.

“Providing access to both acute and chronic care for the 60 million Caremark members is an important integration sweet spot for our company,” Sussman said. “To facilitate this care, Caremark is now offering an exciting new program where clients have the opportunity to change their benefit structure to substantially reduce and, in some cases completely eliminate, co-pays at MinuteClinic in order to lower overall healthcare costs.”

MinuteClinic also offers for clients flu vaccination programs, biometric screening programs, wellness programs and on-site employer-based clinics.

Driving the Front-End

However, the front of store undoubtedly remains a significant focus for the company as it works to drive future growth through its ExtraCare loyalty program, enhanced digital capabilities and store clustering initiatives.

While its ExtraCare program has 69 million active members and 67% of front-store transactions and 82% of front-store sales coming through the program, CVS Caremark continues to see opportunities for further growth. In fact, the company sees a $1.5 billion opportunity in beauty alone, Mark Cosby, EVP of CVS Caremark and president of CVS/pharmacy, told analysts.

“We do have a very rich loyalty program history and the program has become a true competitive differentiator for us. We are not resting on this history as we have an aggressive plan in place to take our leadership position to an even higher level,” Cosby said. “… We will define and enhance the [CVS Beauty Club] that we started this year. The beauty business is a big priority for us and we now have 10 million folks that we’ve signed up just in this past year. We will work over the course of this next year to enhance this offering and encourage more repeat business. We will also pilot a ‘Healthy Rewards’ program in 2012.”

According to Cosby, the “Healthy Rewards” program will offer additional incentives to encourage even greater pharmacy loyalty. If it proves successful, the program will be rolled out nationally in 2013. CVS/pharmacy also will enhance its digital capabilities via a personalized advertising and ExtraCare dashboard, growth in digital commerce, greater mobile capabilities and social media. Recognizing that “one size does not fit all” in retail, the company will continue to drive sales through segmentation and store clustering initiatives. Come 2012, the company will expand its segmentation approach.

“We will test several demographic-based segmentation approaches. Our first two demographic-based clusters will be Hispanic and various clusters focused on income extremes,” said Cosby. “We will also test several volume-based clusters, including a program for our top pharmacy stores and a program for our top beauty stores. We are very bullish on this ‘My CVS’ program and we believe it will be one of our big sales-driving competitive differentiators as we move into the future.”

Store brands also are a key sales driver, representing 17.5% of sales and 32% of front-store growth over the past four years. One example is the success of its recently launched exclusive Nuance Salma Hayek beauty brand, developed in partnership with actress Salma Hayek. Cosby told analysts that 50% of the Nuance customers are new to CVS beauty. In 2012, the company plans to double the size of the brand.

2012 Guidance

During its Analyst Day meeting, the company also provided its 2012 guidance. The company expects to deliver adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $3.15 to $3.25, an increase of 13% to 16.5% based on the mid-point of the company’s current 2011 guidance, and GAAP diluted EPS from continuing operations of $2.93 to $3.03 per share in 2012. It expects the retail segment’s operating profit to increase by 7% to 9% and the pharmacy services segment operating profit to increase by 11% to 15%. The company also expects to generate free cash flow in 2012 of $4.3 billion to $4.6 billion, up from the $4 billion to $4.2 billion in free cash flow expected to be generated in 2011.

The 2012 guidance estimates assume the completion of $3 billion in share repurchases, the amount remaining in the share repurchase program authorized earlier this year by CVS Caremark’s board. In addition, it does not include the potential benefit from the impasse between Walgreens and Express Scripts, the company noted.

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