CVS CEO: Retailer will look at M&A opportunities that expand its suite of services
NEW YORK — CVS Health has a “very strong balance sheet” and will “look into opportunities” in the merger and acquisition space that can help the retailer become even more helpful to its clients, president and CEO Larry Merlo said Wednesday during the UBS Healthcare Conference at the Grand Hyatt here.
“We want to be more impactful to the people we serve and continue to build up our portfolio of products,” he said, citing long-term care as among new areas CVS has moved into successfully in its goal to deliver the “last mile of care,” and its “ability to connect the dots across our suite of services.”
Merlo was joined by EVP and CFO Dave Denton at the event. The two CVS executives discussed a host of other topics, including improving the patient experience and making care more affordable and more accessible.
Among the other notes from both execs during the question-and-answer session were:
Healthcare literacy can be lacking in on the patient end, but CVS has the face-to-face interaction with customers every day to help improve this experience.
Transform Diabetes Care, a program intended to help the company’s pharmacy benefit management clients improve health outcomes of their members, lower pharmacy costs via aggressive trend management, and decrease medical costs by improving medication adherence, A1C control and lifestyle management, just launched early this year and has already been very successful.
Specialty pharmacy is another strong segment of CVS’ business. This strength can primarily be seen in CVS’ Specialty Connect is a specialty prescription services program offers patients choice and flexibility in how they access their specialty medications, while providing centralized, expert clinical support. Patients have the option to bring their specialty prescriptions to any CVS Pharmacy. After dropping off their prescription at the pharmacy, patients receive insurance guidance and dedicated clinical support by phone from a team of specialty pharmacy experts, trained in each therapeutic area, who are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Rebates are a “hot topic.” CVS confirmed that more than 90% of its rebate savings gets passed on to the customer.
Drug pricing is another important topic. At CVS, 87% of drugs dispensed are generic. CVS believes FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb shares its view of a need to drive down drug costs.
The retailer is “quite pleased with what it has accomplished” in reference to the SilverScript prescription drug plan, which features zero deductibles and low premiums. It is attractive for customers, and earned an overall 4-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the executives noted.