CVS Pharmacy’s new initiatives better position the company to succeed in a market concerned about Amazon’s inroads into pharmacy and the reach of dollar stores into the front end of drug stores.
Consumer use of drug discount programs has shown rapid growth since launch, led by companies such as GoodRx and BlinkHealth for uninsured or patients considered underinsured. Drug discount programs allow underinsured patients to pay for their drugs when it is less expensive than a high copay.
CVS is launching Sharecare Rx in collaboration with the digital health company and its CVS Caremark PBM business. Sharecare Rx is a digital pharmacy savings card for uninsured or patients considered underinsured.
Sharecare Rx will offer access to discounts on drugs within the CVS Caremark national pharmacy network. Sharecare Rx leverages CVS Caremark’s scale and expertise in negotiating lower medication prices with pharmaceutical manufacturers to bring Sharecare users’ affordable prices.
CVS Pharmacy also recently announced that customers in the Greater Boston area can enroll in CarePass, a new pilot membership rewards program offering additional benefits to the company’s popular ExtraCare Rewards Program. CarePass offers members a suite of in-store and online perks including free delivery on most medications and purchases, access to a 24/7 pharmacist hotline and 20% off all CVS Health brand products.
Customers can join CarePass for $5 a month or $48 a year and also receive a monthly $10 CarePass promotional reward that can be used towards nearly all purchases in-store and online at CVS.com. CarePass’ market advantage will be its ability to bundle prescription drug delivery with its other front-end items.
The pilot program is live in more than 350 stores in the Boston area. Future moves may include a MinuteClinic offering, among other possibilities. CVS is also using Teladoc Health to provide telehealth services, and is working to expand the program. MinuteClinic recently opened in San Francisco which may be a precursor to open in new markets.
These activities by CVS Health continue to strengthen its current pharmacy offerings and move the company towards more value-based care. An area the company is thought to be looking at is outpatient care, leveraging their MinuteClinic services and locations, and their Aetna acquisition. This is a possible initiative that requires monitoring.