CVS execs take part in ongoing health care debate

Chain Drug Review, News


WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Two CVS Health executives were in the spotlight last month at events discussing the new challenges facing the health care ­industry.

Tom Moriarty, chief policy and external affairs officer and general counsel at CVS Health, was interviewed by Patrick Steel, chief executive officer of Politico, to discuss the chain’s commitment to addressing the nation’s most pressing health care challenges, including access to affordable care, prescription drug costs and the opioid crisis. The forum “Health Care Innovators” is a new event series by Politico, sponsored by CVS Health, highlighting the new faces and best practices in health care innovation.

Delivering better care at a lower price is a long-sought goal in the health care system where Moriarty sees progress. Recent trends that empower patients as consumers are helping to ensure the system is responding to their needs and desires, particularly around affordability, transparency and convenience.

“With the rise in enrollment in high-deductible health plans, patients are taking more responsibility for their health care decisions and costs, creating increased demand for affordable, high-quality care options,” said Moriarty. “For example, our MinuteClinic locations give individuals seeking care for many acute conditions an alternative to high-cost emergency rooms.”

He emphasized that CVS Health is well positioned to support the health care needs of patients in their own communities so they can conveniently access care when they need it. “In fact, eight out of 10 Americans live within 10 miles of a CVS pharmacy, and 62% of people report going to their local pharmacy at least once a month,” he explained.

On the issue of addressing rising drug prices, Steel asked Moriarty about what should be done to rein in costs. “CVS Health has long been committed to utilizing all possible tools to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. These tools, combined with increasing competition in the marketplace by making more generics available, increasing the use of biosimilars and advocating for eliminating tactics that stall competition, are essential in tackling the problem of high-cost drugs.”

On the opioid epidemic, he said the company has invested in data and analytics to better track and determine if prescriptions seen at the pharmacy are legitimate. “As the result of several strategies, the volume of opioids dispensed from CVS Pharmacy decreased by 30% over the past five years. That introduced a policy in 2017 to limit the supply of opioid prescriptions to ‘opioid naive’ patients to seven days in alignment with guidelines by the CDC.”

Elsewhere, at HLTH 2018, a health care innovation conference in Las Vegas, CVS Health chief medical officer Dr. Troy Brennan delivered a keynote address outlining CVS Health’s unique potential to help change current paradigms for addressing population health.

Chronic disease in America is growing, and our ability to pay for it is shrinking,” said Brennan. “At CVS Health, our goal is to make care more accessible, affordable and convenient to help create a healthier population. Our unique enterprise-wide capabilities, including our vast physical retail footprint and digital and analytic capabilities, put us within reach of nearly every American, which allows us to help create a new standard for health care ­engagement.”

Brennan also discussed the potential for CVS Health to “create a new, unique chassis for population health management” by complementing the traditional use of telephonic case management with digitally gathered information and real medical intelligence combined with in-person visits to conveniently located health care hubs at MinuteClinic and CVS Pharmacy.

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