02/21/2014 - 4:27pm

CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic is testing telehealth at more than two-dozen sites in California and is looking to expand the pilot to a second state.

The pilot program not only further illustrates CVS Caremark’s goal of creating a national platform to support primary care but it also speaks to larger trend playing out within the country’s healthcare landscape — telehealth.

02/07/2014 - 12:38pm

CVS Caremark made big news — BIG news — when it announced on Feb. 5 that it would pull tobacco products from all of its pharmacy locations.

This is an extremely important step for the company as it sends the strong message that it is truly dedicated to helping people on their path to better health. Stripping away the roughly $2 billion in revenues garnered from the tobacco shopper likely wasn’t an easy decision but it makes sense — a lot of sense — for CVS. It clearly demonstrates to its shoppers, health systems and PBM clients that it is placing patients’ health front and center.

01/31/2014 - 3:31pm

If you don't succeed the first time, try, try again. That's exactly what McKesson did when it announced that it reached an agreement with Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH to acquire its entire holding of Celesio shares. And in a separate and subsequent agreement, McKesson also picked up the Celesio convertible bonds from Elliott.

Nothing good is ever easy. "While the path to securing this acquisition was certainly not what we had originally expected, it would seem that the interested parties to this transaction continued to see the compelling strategic benefit of McKesson and Celesio uniting to form a global leader in health care services," John Hammergren, McKesson chairman, CEO and president, said of the deal. "I never lost sight of the value this transaction will bring to our customers, our supply chain partners, the employees of both organizations and our shareholders."

01/24/2014 - 3:43pm

Target is looking to open a new, smaller — much smaller — store in the base of an apartment building currently under construction near the University of Minnesota campus that will serve as a test for the new format dubbed TargetExpress, the New York Times has reported.

Clearly, the trend toward smaller continues. First it was Walmart Express and then CityTarget’s 80,000- to 125,000-sq.-ft. footprint, and now the even tinier TargetExpress. In fact, taking a look back at DSN’s “12 for 2012” story, which examined trends and issues impacting retail pharmacy in 2012, smaller formats were highlighted as one trend to watch. Obviously, it’s still one to watch.

01/17/2014 - 3:42pm

The National Community Pharmacists Association shared a proof of concept study that affirmed the value retail pharmacy can deliver in saving healthcare dollars. Patients who opted-in to medication synchronization programs offered through their community pharmacy averaged more than 100 additional days on therapy per year and were 30% more likely to take their medication as prescribed.

At a time when health systems and payers are actively seeking sound strategies to keep their patients from being readmitted to a hospital, pharmacy could very well be their panacea. Sticking to a prescribed drug therapy script does just that — it helps prevent re-hospitalizations, which will be a key metric with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The community pharmacist also sees the patients more often than other healthcare practitioners and has as many opportunities to provide appropriate course correction, if necessary, around a particular medicinal regimen if it isn't working. And medication synchronization augments the pharmacists' ability to keep their patients on point.

01/10/2014 - 4:13pm

With the launch of Family Vitamin Center, CVS/pharmacy created a new health hub on CVS.com to help educate customers on the vitamins and supplements that can support their personal health goals. The site is designed to declutter the dietary supplement aisle with features like an interactive questionnaire and guidance tools that provide personalized supplement recommendations. It also allows users to shop by goal, such as heart health or immune support, and get the latest health tips. And perhaps most important, there's an automatic replenishment program.

It's a smart play. Those who supplement regularly fall into one of two categories — they're supplementing as part of a major lifestyle improvement change, or they're supplementing because they're already living that healthier lifestyle. In either case, you've got a consumer looking for — and willing to pay for — healthier solutions. CVS/pharmacy is positioning itself to be that solution.

01/03/2014 - 3:37pm

According to reports, as many as 2.1 million Americans signed up for new insurance coverage that went into effect Jan. 1. However, even though these newly insured people had coverage, what they perhaps didn't have was the identification card to process claims, such as prescriptions, for example. But don't worry, retail pharmacy was fast to the rescue, offering those 2.1 million patients who had obtained insurance through a health exchange the benefit of the doubt and a 30-day supply of their prescriptions at no upfront cost once their coverage was verified.

12/20/2013 - 12:07pm

Walgreens posted a first-quarter sales increase of 5.9% to a record $18.3 billion. Front-end comparable store sales for the quarter increased 2.4% in the first quarter, customer traffic in comparable stores increased 0.2% and basket size increased 2.2%, while total sales in comparable stores increased 5.4%. Prescription sales, which accounted for 64.7% of sales in the quarter ended Nov. 30, increased 7.3%, while prescription sales in comparable stores increased 7.2%.

Front-end comps are up. Prescription comps are up. Business is good. And that's not the story. Rather, that's the kind of results you can expect from the story. The story is Walgreens is priming a three-pistoned growth engine that will quite likely drive what pharmacy will look like in the future — an efficient global supply chain beast that feeds a front-end that commands traffic in its own right, and a back-end that demands healthcare payers pay attention to how Walgreens can help improve adherence and patient-care metrics. So, how can suppliers better align with Walgreens?

12/20/2013 - 10:13am

Top CVS Caremark executives gathered in New York City on Wednesday for its 2013 Analyst Day to outline the company’s strategies to drive long-term enterprise growth through its vast pool of assets and its nimbleness in responding to the evolving healthcare landscape.

It marked the third year that the Woonsocket, R.I.-based company has hosted its Analyst Day meeting in Decembe, but this year’s event no doubt proved especially timely since we’re just days away from the start of the New Year when health reform will begin to significantly alter U.S. health care.