CVS Caremark pulls in record results

News that CVS Caremark pulled in record results for the fourth quarter and year 2008, in light of the current economy, not only speaks volumes of the company’s well-oiled team of merchants, marketing and operations executives but is also a testament to its evolving role as a pharmacy healthcare service company focused on healthcare reform.

There’s no doubt that 2008 was a difficult year for the nation as unemployment soared, housing prices plummeted and Wall Street crumbled, yet CVS Caremark managed to pull through with strong financials and ended the year with a list of significant accomplishments. On that list: industry leading retail same-store sales growth; the introduction of its Proactive Pharmacy Care offering; solid client retention and industry leading sales in its PBM business; and the acquisition of more than 500 Longs Drug Stores and the RxAmerica PBM unit. It also ended the year with more than 500 MinuteClinics.

The news came just days after Tom Ryan, chairman, president and CEO, took his message to mainstream America via an interview with BusinessWeek. He told BusinessWeek that his goal is to help transform America’s costly and often ineffective healthcare system and plans to take advantage of President Barack Obama’s commitment to healthcare reform.

That goal has already started to take shape as CVS Caremark works to bolster its arsenal of offerings aimed at increasing adherence and cutting costs (read: Proactive Pharmacy Care) and further leverages its network of MinuteClinics. In fact, during 2009 the company will make use of its retail ad spend to drive MinuteClinic awareness, will expand its service offerings to extend relevance and will further increase the number of in-network covered lives.

This is not to say that CVS Caremark is without its share of challenges given the recession, but it certainly seems well positioned for the road ahead.

As Ryan told analysts during Thursday’s conference call, “There’s no silver bullet.” No, there isn’t a silver bullet; it is doing a lot of different things well and, so far, CVS Caremark seems to be doing just that.

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