Move comes amid friction between retailers, PBMs
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health has pulled out of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, depriving the retail pharmacy trade group of the country’s largest drug chain by number of stores. CVS also owns the nation’s biggest pharmacy benefits manager.
CVS’ nearly 10,000 stores made up almost a quarter of the pharmacies NACDS represents.
“Every day, CVS Pharmacy delivers innovative, community-based solutions to make health care simpler, more affordable and more accessible in communities across the country, and our pharmacy care teams provide trusted advice and counsel to help our patients get and stay healthy, CVS spokesman Matt Blanchette told Chain Drug Review. “While we have made the decision to step away from the association, we are fully committed to advancing and supporting the value of pharmacy and the critical role that pharmacists play as health care providers in their communities.”
NACDS said: “For the 89 years since the Association was established, NACDS has remained singularly focused and extremely effective on the pharmacy, health and wellness issues of critical importance to patients and the pharmacies that serve them. That has never changed. These issues include putting patients first, advancing pharmacies and pharmacy teams as the face of neighborhood healthcare, and establishing fairness for pharmacies and for patients on increasingly consequential payer and PBM issues. Thanks to the engagement and unity of the diverse NACDS chain and supplier membership and to the leadership of the NACDS Board of Directors, NACDS remains duly focused and stands in the strongest financial position in our 89-year history. NACDS has always acted as the collective and collaborative will of our members and we always will.”
Blanchette did not give a cause for CVS’ departure, but it comes amid friction between retailers and PBMs, whom pharmacies blame for direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees that they say raise prices and cut into their profits.
NACDS has hailed state legislation to regulate PBMs and commended the Federal Trade Commission’s planned investigation into their practices.