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CVS’ reinvention will advance on many fronts

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health this month announced several moves to advance the company’s reinvention as a multifaceted health care provider.

The nation’s largest drug store chain said it would close 300 stores a year over the next three years as it adds primary care capabilities at some stores and converts more locations into HealthHub clinics, staffed with health care professionals and equipped with up-to-date medical technology.

The ongoing evolution is aimed at helping CVS meet customers wherever they are on their health and wellness journeys, company officials have said.

Among the recently announced moves, Prem Shah was named to the newly created role of chief pharmacy officer and will oversee the omnichannel pharmacy strategy.

Shah and Michelle Peluso will become co-presidents of CVS Health’s retail business on January 1, with Peluso ­overseeing front-store strategy and operations.

Shah joined CVS Health in 2013 and prior to his new assignment served as executive vice president of specialty pharmacy and product innovation.

Peluso joined CVS Health in 2021 as executive vice president and chief customer officer.

“Prem and Michelle are ideally suited for their new roles and will be instrumental to CVS Health as we continue to execute against our strategy of delivering an integrated health care experience centered around the consumer,” Karen Lynch, president and chief executive officer of CVS Health, said in a statement.

The company also announced that Neela Montgomery, executive vice president and president of CVS Retail/Pharmacy, has decided to leave the company at the end of the year.

“We appreciate Neela’s contributions during an incredibly challenging and dynamic period when our retail stores played a critical role in the country’s fight against COVID-19,” Lynch said.

As part of the company’s strategic review of its retail business, CVS Health will create new store formats to drive higher engagement with consumers. Three distinct models will serve as community health destinations:

• Sites dedicated to offering primary care services.

• An enhanced version of HealthHUB locations with products and services designed for everyday health and wellness needs.

• Traditional CVS Pharmacy stores that provide prescription services and health, wellness, personal care and other convenient retail offerings.

The roots of CVS reach back nearly 60 years to the opening of a Consumer Value Stores outlet offering health and beauty aids in Lowell, Mass. Expansion began almost immediately, and today CVS operates more than 9,900 retail pharmacies in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It employs more than 300,000 people, including more than 40,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses and nurse practitioners.

The company has been evaluating changes in population, consumer buying patterns and future health needs to ensure it has the right kinds of stores in the right locations for consumers and for the business.

“Our retail stores are fundamental to our strategy and who we are as a company,” said Lynch. “We remain focused on the competitive advantage provided by our presence in thousands of communities across the country, which complements our rapidly expanding digital presence.”

Recent changes are meant to go well beyond products on the shelves, and to help the company shift the mindset of shoppers who enter a CVS store with a specific task in mind. Company officials expect that the experiences customers encounter at the HealthHubs, where they can engage with health care professionals and learn about new products, will help them see CVS stores as a valued partner in their health and wellness journeys.

Company officials said that consumers’ response during the pandemic — when the CVS was the first national retailer to stand up COVID-19 testing — suggests that the recent changes have helped the retailer gain market share and establish CVS Pharmacy as consumers’ outlet of choice for immunizations, testing and other health care services.


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