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CVS launches nationwide new Total Home line of household essentials

BY Jason Owen

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Today, CVS/pharmacy announced the official launch of Total Home, a new home care product line built on performance, reliability and premium quality that is now available exclusively at CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide.

The new Total Home line includes a wide range of products for everyday home care, ranging from cleaning and cooking to organizing, and has undergone rigorous quality testing to offer customers exceptional, reliable options at a 15-20% savings compared to popular national brands. Among the more than 150 items included in the line are facial and bath tissue, paper towels, trash bags, food storage necessities, kitchen and bathroom cleaners, bulbs, extension cords and more.

"Growing and enhancing our store brand offerings continues to be a priority for CVS/pharmacy," said George Coleman, vice president of Merchandising, Store Brands and Quality Assurance, CVS/pharmacy. "We offer customers the convenience of a one-stop shopping destination to find all their health, beauty and household essentials. We are confident that as customers give Total Home a try, these products will exceed their performance expectations and become a staple in their homes."

Maintaining a home is a tough job, which is why CVS/pharmacy aims to provide high-quality, dependable products that help families effectively complete everyday household tasks as conveniently and affordably as possible. Whether the day brings spills to clean up, leftovers to store or laundry to take care of, Total Home offers the products needed to get the job done affordably and efficiently.

Every Total Home product is tested to ensure that it meets or exceeds the performance and important product attributes of the leading comparable national brands. By unifying all home care-related products under the new Total Home brand with a new logo and packaging, CVS/pharmacy is making it easy for customers to recognize the line and stock up on home essentials.

CVS/pharmacy stands behind the quality of all its exclusive product lines including Total Home and offers a 100 percent money-back guarantee to ensure customer satisfaction. Now available at more than 7,400 locations, customers will have the convenience of picking up high-quality household essentials by stopping into their local CVS/pharmacy. Shoppers can also find the extensive line of Total Home products online on CVS.com.


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DEA collects more than 740,000 pounds of unused drugs

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The Drug Enforcement Administration collected more than 371 tons of unused medications last month as part of its sixth annual drug take-back program, the agency said.

For National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, on April 27, the DEA collected 742,497 pounds of medications at more than 5,800 locations, with cooperation from state, local and Native American tribal law enforcement agencies that partnered with the agency. The total amount of drugs collected over the past six years amounts to more than 2.8 million pounds. The purpose of the events is to prevent drugs from ending up in landfills and water supplies, as well as to keep controlled substances out of the hands of drug abusers.

According to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration survey, twice as many Americans regularly abused prescription drugs in 2011 as those who abused cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin and inhalants combined. According to the same survey, more than 70% of people abusing prescription pain relievers obtained them from friends or relatives.

 

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Merlo to shareholders: CVS Caremark ‘uniquely’ positioned to drive results

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — The damp weather here in Woonsocket, R.I., failed to dampen spirits during CVS Caremark’s annual shareholder meeting Thursday morning, as the pharmacy retailer recently wrapped up an “outstanding” 2012 and looks to the future with continued optimism.

“By virtually any measure, 2012 was just an outstanding year for CVS Caremark. Once again, we set challenging yet achievable goals and we certainly delivered on our promises,” president and CEO Larry Merlo told attendees who gathered in the company’s corporate headquarter office.

It is also important to note that Thursday marked an especially important day in the company’s history. On May 9, 1963 — 50 years ago — the very first Consumer Value Store opened in Lowell, Mass. It was founded by brothers Stanley and Sidney Goldstein and partner Ralph Hoagland. Both Stanley Goldstein and Hoagland were in attendance on Thursday and received a standing ovation for their vision, hard work and dedication.

(Stanley Goldstein, Ralph Hoagland and Larry Merlo)

“I know they are very proud of what was once an idea and a vision growing to, what is today, a household brand,” Merlo said.

During the meeting, Merlo provided an overview of some of the key financial highlights of 2012 — such as adjusted EPS growth of nearly 23% and a 13% boost in free cash flow year over year — and also discussed how its retail, PBM and MinuteClinic businesses are “thriving.”

However, it’s the future and how the company is positioning itself for long-term success amid a challenging and changing healthcare environment that was perhaps most intriguing to some company shareholders.

“Healthcare is going through this period of intense change and that change is being accelerated by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, as well as underlying demographic shifts, advances in technology and changes in both consumer and patient behavior,” Merlo said. “Given the confluence of all these events, the healthcare industry is expected to change more in the next 10 years than it has in the past 50.”

With some 30 million Americans gaining insurance come 2014, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, amid an ongoing shortage of primary care physicians, Merlo said he believes that the system will be forced to increasingly focus on high-quality, low-cost solutions and those who help to improve medication adherence will prevail. Merlo said he sees the greatest growth within pharmacy in the continued innovation in patented and biologic-specialty drugs. Furthermore, the transition to more tech-driven methods for informing and engaging patients will fundamentally reshape patient behavior and healthcare delivery.

“Given all the change that is underway, it’s critically important that we are able to pivot to address these challenges and to serve the changing needs of both clients and consumers,” Merlo said. “It has been six years since we’ve merged CVS and Caremark, and we’ve talked a lot about why we brought these assets together, and we always come back to three key goals: greater access and convenience to care, improving health outcomes for those we are serving and, at the same time, lowering the overall cost of care. We continue to believe that these goals align very well with where healthcare is headed and the fact that we will play an important role in solving what we refer to as this quality-cost-access-conundrum facing healthcare.”

With the company’s breadth of assets, CVS Caremark continues to find innovative ways to further differentiate its model, Merlo said. One such example, Merlo said, is the company’s patient care initiative that addresses the issue of medication non-adherence, which costs the healthcare system an estimated $300 billion a year in avoidable healthcare costs. The company has several programs in place to help improve adherence such as first-fill counseling, adherence outreach and refill reminders.

Additional drivers in the company’s consumer-engagement success include its ExtraCare loyalty card program, which currently accounts for more than 84% of total front-store sales.

Merlo also touched upon the MinuteClinic business, which he described as “a key enabler of our integrated pharmacy care offerings.” There are currently about 650 clinics in operation and about 25 affiliations with health systems in place, and, as previously reported by Drug Store News, the company has ramped up its expansion plans and now expects to have more than 1,500 clinics by 2017.

“You think about those 30 million Americans that I mentioned earlier that are expected to gain some form of healthcare coverage, we are expanding our clinics in order to meet the growing demand and alleviate what already exists today and that is a primary care physician shortage,” Merlo said.

As it relates to its PBM business, 2012 proved to be a year of “breakout” performance as it recorded operating profit growth of more than 20%. Merlo also noted that its PBM book of business has grown by more than 50% since 2010.

Looking ahead, building upon its leadership positions in both Medicare and Medicaid will be a critical component of its PBM growth strategy, Merlo told shareholders.

“In summary, we believe that we are well positioned for continued growth. We are growing and we continue to gain share across the enterprise. The rapidly changing environment certainly creates some challenges across the healthcare universe but these challenges also create significant opportunities for our company,” Merlo said. “With our integrated suite of assets, we are uniquely positioned to address these opportunities and drive results for our clients and for our customers, and, at the same time, we remain focused on enhancing shareholder value through healthy earnings growth, strong cash generation and disciplined capital allocation.”

 

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