CVS Health's Larry Merlo talks of name change, opportunities in health care on CNBC

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Shortly after announcing Wednesday morning its corporate name change to CVS Health, CEO Larry Merlo appeared on CNBC to weigh in on the name change and the opportunities to play a greater role in today’s healthcare market, as well as to highlight the fact that its stores are now officially tobacco-free.

“We think about today’s announcement of our corporate name change to CVS Health as really catching up with some of the things that we’ve been doing for the last couple of years. We’ve got a big focus on keeping people adherent and compliant to their prescription medications,” Merlo said Wednesday on CNBC.

“We have many opportunities to play a bigger role in healthcare delivery. We have our 7,700 CVS pharmacies, we have our leading benefit management company and we have walk-in medical clinics now. So, we are doing many things to help change and shape the future of healthcare delivery,” Merlo added.

Meanwhile, the news that CVS Health has now officially ended tobacco sales at its pharmacy locations — nearly a month ahead of the previously targeted date of Oct. 1 — drew accolades from the White House.

“WH applauds CVS for ending sale of tobacco products. WH says it sets “a powerful example that we hope others in the industry will follow,” tweeted CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller.

Those who visit the company’s website also will notice the change. Reflecting a new look and feel and the new corporate name, the revamped CVS Health site states on the home page: “Our name has changed, but our purpose remains the same: helping people on their path to better health.”

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