Inside This Issue - Opinion
CVS positions itself for the future of Rx
June 9th, 2014
Wayne Gretzkey, the legendary NHL star, said, "A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be."
That is as true in mass market retailing and health care as it is in ice hockey, something that CVS Caremark is currently demonstrating with the rollout of Specialty Connect. The program, which brings the company’s robust specialty pharmacy capabilities closer to the patient by leveraging its network of 7,600 drug stores, will give CVS/pharmacy a secure foothold in an area where many of its competitors, for a variety of reasons, are stymied.
The need for retailers in the prescription drug business to figure out that burgeoning sector is clear. Speciality medications, which are concentrated in such complex therapeutic categories as oncology, rheumatoid arthritis and hepatitis C, already account for the lion’s share of growth in pharmacy, and going forward they will be the focal point of advances in pharmaceutical therapy. According to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, spending on traditional, small-molecule drugs rose just 0.1% last year, while sales of biologics (which still account for less than 10% of the business) jumped 28%.
Speciality Connect is designed to enable patients and physicians to continue to interact with the local CVS pharmacist they have come to know and trust, while at the same time tapping into the company’s centralized expertise in such areas as clinical support and help in dealing with third-party payers. After dropping off a prescription, patients have the option of picking up the speciality medications at a CVS/pharmacy or having them delivered directly to their home. Specialty Connect empowers patients by enabling them to decide how they want to receive such products and related pharmacy care.
At the same time the program strengthens CVS Caremark’s already formidable position in the specialty pharmacy sector by ensuring the continued relevance of its drug stores at a time when advances in pharmaceutical science are leading to the development of treatments that require a high degree of expertise in the storage, handling and administration of such medications. CVS Caremark has grasped where the branded drug industry is headed and taken decisive steps to ensure that its retail pharmacy business will be as relevant tomorrow as it is today.