Merlo touts advances in pharmacy care at Pittsburgh luncheon

CVS Caremark chief executive presents children's hospital with $50,000 grant

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark president and CEO Larry Merlo presented a $50,000 check Tuesday to the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center before attending a luncheon sponsored by the Economic Club of Pittsburgh.

During his remarks at the luncheon, which took place at the Omni William Penn Hotel, Merlo said CVS was reinventing pharmacy and helping people on their path to better health. The hospital donation, from the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, will support a program that provides resources for families of children newly diagnosed with vision disabilities.

"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 much better outcomes at lower cost to the people we serve. As a pharmacy innovation company, CVS Caremark is driving new approaches to do that."

Merlo called the more than 7,400-store chain's pharmacists its greatest asset, saying they were highly trusted resources for patients who were "uniquely positioned" to help patients take their medications properly and as directed by prescribers.

Merlo also described how the company's Pharmacy Advisor program is focusing on helping customers manage chronic diseases, as well as touting MinuteClinic and talking about how it was increasing access to health care.

"When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, more than 30 million newly insured Americans will have access to care," Merlo said. "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 hold down overall costs of care."

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