WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark announced today that it is changing its corporate name to CVS Health to reflect its broader health care commitment and its expertise-driven approach to driving innovation in health care.
“For our patients and customers, health is everything and CVS Health is changing the way health care is delivered to increase access, lower costs and improve quality,” announced Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health. “As a pharmacy innovation company at the forefront of a changing healthcare landscape, we are delivering breakthrough products and services, from advising on prescriptions to helping manage chronic and specialty conditions.”
CVS Health includes the company’s retail business, which continues to be called CVS/pharmacy; its pharmacy benefit management business, CVS/caremark; its walk-in medical clinics, CVS/minuteclinic; and its growing specialty pharmacy services, CVS/specialty. All told, the company includes 7,700 retail pharmacies, 900 walk-in medical clinics, a pharmacy benefits manager with nearly 65 million plan members and expanding specialty pharmacy services.
“Each year, CVS Health touches more than 100 million people by playing an active, supportive role in each person’s unique health experience and in the greater healthcare environment,” said Merlo. “Consumers are increasingly taking control of their own health and, through our 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners, we are helping people on their path to better health.”
CVS Health has a portfolio of programs to help people manage chronic disease and connects patients with pharmacists. Digital capabilities are supplementing these programs to give customers a full view of their prescriptions. CVS Health’s Specialty Connect and Maintenance Choice programs integrate the company’s mail and retail capabilities, providing choice and convenience for patients. CVS Health also is forging strategic alliances with physicians and health plans through both CVS/pharmacy and CVS/minuteclinic to provide clinical support, medication counseling, chronic disease monitoring and wellness programs for their members.
As a further demonstration of its commitment to health, CVS Health also announced the end of tobacco sales at CVS/pharmacy as of Sept. 3, nearly a month ahead of the previously targeted date of Oct. 1. In February, the company announced that it would end the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at its CVS/pharmacy stores, making CVS/pharmacy the first and only national pharmacy chain to take this step in support of the health and well-being of its patients and customers.
"Along with the start of CVS Health, the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy ends today.”“Along with the start of CVS Health, the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy ends today. By eliminating cigarettes and tobacco products from sale in our stores, we can make a difference in the health of all Americans,” Merlo declared.
“The sale of tobacco in a retail pharmacy conflicts with the purpose of the healthcare services delivered there,” added Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer of CVS Health. “Even more important, there is evidence developing that indicates that removing tobacco products from retailers with pharmacies will lead to substantially lower rates of smoking with implications for reducing tobacco-related deaths.”
Results of a new study from CVS Health, included in a Health Affairs blog, show that the enactment of policies to eliminate the sale of tobacco products at retailers with pharmacies in San Francisco and Boston was associated with up to a 13.3% reduction in purchasers of tobacco products.
“Today should mark a call to action by all retailers involved in health care,” said Matthew Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “We urge other retailers with pharmacies to follow the powerful example set by CVS/pharmacy and end tobacco sales.”
In addition to removing cigarettes and tobacco products for sale, CVS Health kicked off a comprehensive and uniquely personalized smoking-cessation campaign to help millions of Americans to quit smoking.
“Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health and protect the health of your family, but quitting isn’t easy,” said Helena Foulkes, president of CVS/pharmacy.
The CVS Health smoking cessation program, designed with input from national experts, combines the efforts of CVS/pharmacy, CVS/minuteclinic and CVS/caremark to help smokers quit, and includes four critical components: an assessment of the smoker’s readiness to quit, education to give smokers the information and tools they need to quit, medication support to help curb the desire to use tobacco, and coaching to help individuals stay motivated and prevent relapses.
“We learned following our announcement in February that nearly everyone has a tobacco story and was eager to tell it,” Foulkes continued. “So, today we are launching a social campaign — #OneGoodReason — in which we are inviting everyone to share their personal stories of how smoking and tobacco use has affected their lives. Our hope is that through the sharing of these stories we can spark a movement that will make lasting improvements in health across our country.”
“Today, as CVS Health, we are tobacco-free, reinventing pharmacy and taking our place among leaders in the healthcare community,” Merlo concluded.