CVS Health CEO to Address National Press Club on Landmark Decision to Quit Tobacco, Leadership in Health Care Innovation

WOONSOCKET, R.I., Sept. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO of CVS Health (NYSE: CVS), will speak before the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. today. Merlo will discuss the company's recent move to stop selling tobacco products and its leadership in driving the innovations needed to shape the future of health.

"Dramatic changes in our health care system pose enormous challenges to employers, consumers, health care providers and government," Merlo has said. "CVS Health has a truly unique combination of business assets that work together as a single, integrated model, allowing us to make a big difference in the health, well-being and financial outlook of our country."

Merlo will address the factors driving increasing health care spending, particularly the growing prevalence of chronic disease. Chronic disease accounts for three of every four dollars spent on health care and is expected to be an even more significant challenge in the future.

"Half of all Americans suffer from one or more chronic diseases, and that trend is expected to continue to rise over the next 20 years," Merlo has noted. "Compounding that problem, the number of people who don't take their medications as prescribed is growing, adding nearly $300 billion a year in avoidable costs to our healthcare system. Addressing chronic disease by helping people take their medication as prescribed is a critical focus of our efforts."

Merlo will also examine how the Affordable Care Act is changing the health care dynamic as well as the trend toward providers taking on greater financial risk through coordinated care models. CVS Health's innovative approach to navigate this changing environment includes improving care coordination, particularly for people with chronic illness, to deliver better patient outcomes at lower costs.

"Pharmacists are in a unique and trusted position to lead innovative approaches to reinventing pharmacy," according to Merlo. "Innovations like our Pharmacy Advisor program grow from our purpose of helping people on their path to better health and are showing real results increasing adherence while delivering a return on investment."

Merlo also plans to discuss the company's decision to stop selling cigarettes and the recent announcement it is officially tobacco-free. Along with the recently launched comprehensive smoking cessation campaign, Merlo will highlight the impact of the decision, saying "we believe that reducing access to tobacco products will help reduce tobacco use."

Results of a study from CVS Health, included in a Health Affairs blog, show that the enactment of policies to eliminate the sale of tobacco products at retailers with pharmacies in San Francisco and Boston was associated with up to a 13.3 percent reduction in purchasers of tobacco products. This evidence indicates that removing tobacco products from retailers with pharmacies will lead to substantially lower rates of smoking with implications for reducing tobacco-related deaths.

About CVS Health
CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through our 7,700 retail pharmacies, 900 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with nearly 65 million plan members, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, we enable people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable, effective ways. This unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at

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Carolyn Castel
Corporate Communications
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