Editor’s note: A new journey
Why here? And Why now?
Two great questions as I begin my journey as the editor in chief of Drug Store News. Why here is an easy one. I am joining one of the premier retail business publications in the land, one that has a long and storied record of closely covering the rapidly changing and pretty complex chain pharmacy industry over the years. DSN has a well-deserved reputation for keeping retailers and suppliers in the know of what is going on now, as well as what may be happening down the line.
It is called staying ahead of the curve, and in the trade publishing industry, few publications have done a better job of that than what Drug Store News has done through its print and cutting-edge digital properties. So I am honored to be here and to join the team.
Why now is a much more difficult question to answer. It is no secret that the retail industry is reeling, hurt by a nasty combination of intense competition, increasing regulations and that 800-pound gorilla in the room that happens to go by the name of Amazon. There has not been a more challenging time for retailers in at least the last 100 years than right now.
But merchants — at least the good ones — are not just going to put up the white flag and go away quietly. As the industry has shown before, necessity is the mother of invention. Amazon and other digital-focused operations are quickly changing the retail landscape, forcing more entrenched and traditional operators to adopt their own unique merchandising strategies to survive in this brutal arena. Retail today is a giant test lab, or at least it should be.
I have no doubt that those that react quickly and effectively to this challenge will survive the onslaught of Amazon et al. They will develop programs and policies that will keep consumers coming through the front door and leaving, with lots of paid merchandise, through the checkstand. Those who do not will end up as part of the growing list of retailers who failed to see the future and the steps needed to get their company there.
Drug stores and other retailers that operate pharmacies are among the best-positioned merchants to fight off the Amazon challenge. Consumers want to directly interact with their pharmacist. They want and need answers to hard questions, and only an educated and readily available healthcare expert can do that. Shoppers also want the products most important to them — including their prescriptions, wellness and beauty items — to be available in a convenient, safe and reasonably priced location. We have a lot to build on.
But it will not be easy. It is going to take a lot of work and a lot of imagination on the parts of the retailers and, yes, their manufacturer partners.
This is a scary time to be a retailer. But, as we go through this transition to the digital age, it also is one of the most exciting times for our industry.
I’m happy to be part of this and super excited to be right in the middle of the action here at Drug Store News.
CVS Health to support Anthem’s newly launched IngenioRx PBM
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Health benefits company Anthem’s new pharmacy benefits manager IngenioRx will be getting an assist from CVS Health. The companies inked a five-year agreement that will see CVS Health’s Caremark PBM managing such services as claims processing and prescription fulfillment services for IngenioRx.
CVS Health also will leverage its CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic assets to bring its point-of-sale patient messaging and engagement tools to bear on its support of IngenioRx. The company said that by broadening the scope of clinical services offered at the pharmacy, it would drive better health outcomes.
“We believe that this agreement further validates the important role that CVS Health's integrated and innovative pharmacy care model plays in today's health care system and we look forward to working with Anthem and IngenioRx to provide services to help ensure coordinated, holistic care for their PBM members,” CVS Health president and CEO Larry Merlo said. “At CVS Health, we truly are the front door of health care, with nearly 5 million Americans walking into a CVS Pharmacy every day. Given our presence in the community, our pharmacists and nurse practitioners are able to engage in face-to-face personalized counseling and clinically-effective interventions that will enable us to help improve health outcomes and lower overall health care costs for Anthem and its members.”
The agreement will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
“This combination, paired with the clinical expertise, deep provider relationships and focus on customer centricity of Anthem’s affiliated health plans, will create a holistic, integrated approach to managing health and driving better outcomes,” Anthem EVP commercial and specialty division Brian Griffin said “In partnership with CVS, transitioning members seamlessly to our new solution will remain Anthem’s top priority.”
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