CVS Pharmacy, OptumRx partner for new network pharmacy solution
WOONSOCKET, R.I. and CHICAGO — CVS Pharmacy and OptumRx are joining forces to utilize complementary capabilities in an effort to provide greater convenience and value to clients and consumers.
Combined, CVS Pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Health and OptumRx, UnitedHealth Group’s free-standing pharmacy care services business, will offer employers a new pharmacy network solution that:
- Provides eligible OptumRx members the option to fill 90-day prescriptions at prices equal to home delivery copay levels at CVS locations nationwide or through OptumRx home delivery;
- Increases consumer engagement and improves health outcomes through the combination of OptumRx’s leading pharmacy and clinical solutions with CVS Pharmacy’s leading in-store health and wellness capabilities; and
- Enables OptumRx and CVS Pharmacy to leverage a shared pharmacy platform to develop new pharmacy and health solutions for clients and consumers.
“We are very pleased to announce that we will be partnering with OptumRx, which will allow us to explore innovative ways of helping patients on their path to better health,” said Helena Foulkes, president of Woonsocket-based CVS Pharmacy. “This strategic relationship will enhance patients’ access to care, lower costs, and improve health outcomes through our unmatched clinical capabilities delivered by our 27,000 retail pharmacists nationwide.”
The long-term relationship will improve health outcomes and lower costs beyond the pharmacy, the companies stated. They expect the solution to be available to OptumRx commercial clients implementing 90-day prescription benefit designs, beginning July 1.
“Our new strategic relationship with CVS Pharmacy will benefit our clients and consumers by improving access to medications, driving better health outcomes, and reducing costs,” said Mark Thierer, CEO of Chicago-based OptumRx. “By deepening our relationship, we can develop innovations that further modernize and enhance pharmacy care.”
This piece doesn't give a launch date.
Menu, please: Drug stores need to take a page from other retailers
If you recall from my most recent blog post, I’m writing about honoring one my father’s favorite pastimes – dreaming up ideas that haven’t been thought of yet. Focusing on retail pharmacy, I’m happy to share another of my mind meanderings.
There is no disagreement that pharmacists remain the most accessible, trusted healthcare professionals within the healthcare community. Yet many consumers (aka patients) don’t take full advantage of the professional services available. I believe it’s because these same consumers don’t know what they don’t know.
Here’s a short list of some of those services:
- Compliance Tools – a way to help patients remember if and when medication has been taken.
- Flu Vaccinations – the convenient administration of annual flu vaccines (or other immunizations)
- Medication Checkup – a review of prescription and non-prescription medications to ensure they are being taken correctly and not posing a potential contraindication
- Compounding Prescriptions – for medications not commercially available in the dose or form prescribed, pharmacists may be able to mix small quantities of medications for patients
- Smoking Cessation Support – in addition to recommending over-the-counter medications to help consumers quit smoking, pharmacists may offer specific pharmacy smoking cessation programs along with counseling and coaching
- Clinical Education/Guidance – for more information about specific health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, pharmacies often conduct specialized clinic days that focus on education or risk assessment
- Medication Delivery – convenient home delivery for those patients unable to pick up prescriptions
- Auto-renewal/Synchronization – medication regimens for a chronic condition or longer-term treatment can benefit from synchronized refills to be delivered on a specific day of the month or establish auto renewals to encourage adherence
- Prescription Substitution – if clinically appropriate, pharmacists may be able to change the dose, dosage form, frequency, or route of administration of a prescription to better meet a patient’s specific insurance coverage
- Counseling services – pharmacists often offer advice and education about prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, natural health products, medical devices, and more
So, here’s the BIG idea. Virtually every other service-oriented retailer that I visit (auto repair shop, dry cleaner, chiropractic center, hair salon, etc.) posts their service offerings on some type of “menu board” with price ranges and/or special offers.
Why don’t we see such menu boards within retail pharmacy? One could argue that until somewhat recently, consumers did not feel empowered or overly-engaged with their healthcare. Today’s consumer has evolved rapidly and won’t know what retail pharmacies have to offer beyond prescription dispensing if nobody tells them.
Therefore, I would urge the pharmacy profession to take a page from other service-oriented businesses and start informing consumers what’s available – perhaps in the form of a menu.
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McKesson Canada names new president
ST-LAURENT, Quebec — McKesson Canada on Monday named Paula Keays president, effective immediately.
"I have worked alongside Paula for over 15 years, I've been impressed by her vision, drive and commitment to operational excellence," stated Paul Julian, EVP and group president McKesson Canada. "Our customers, business partners and employees will be well served by her leadership style, deep understanding of health care and passion for customer service."
"I am honoured to be taking on my new role as president of McKesson Canada," Keays said. "Canada's health care environment is becoming increasingly complex. Together with our people and our partners I'm looking forward to leading through an important moment in our history as we focus on our customers to deliver better value and patient care for Canadians from coast-to-coast."
In her new role, Keays will lead 4,000 employees and be responsible for McKesson's distribution solutions offerings in Canada, including pharmaceutical distribution, pharmacy technology, specialty pharmacy and infusion, procurement and independent retail banner solutions. Keays will report to Julian and will be responsible for driving sales, marketing and operations for the business.
Prior to this appointment, Keays served as McKesson Canada's SVP pharmaceutical distribution and operations. In this position, she led one of McKesson Canada's largest portfolios and was responsible for sales, marketing and operations. Under Keays' leadership, McKesson Canada successfully advanced its network optimization, which has helped deliver significant operational efficiencies and improvements to the overall business. She also drove the design and introduction of important sales and operations team initiatives which has enhanced customer service, strengthened business partnership and created shared success for customers across Canada.
Since joining McKesson in 2000, Keays has held increasingly senior positions, including VP and corporate controller; VP and CFO; and SVP, CFO and Six Sigma.
Until a new SVP pharmaceutical distribution and operations is appointed, Keays will continue to oversee the operations of the pharmaceutical distribution and operations portfolio in addition to her responsibilities as president.
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