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How we’re advancing the future of pharmacy

June 14, 2024

Pharmacists working at a CVS Pharmacy

CVS Health® is investing in promoting the future of pharmacy care. It’s one of the many ways we’re building a world of health around consumers.

Our Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM), CVS Caremark®, provides customers with pharmacy benefit options that control costs while giving members convenient and accessible choices for obtaining their prescriptions. An important part of delivering a high-quality member experience is supporting community pharmacy to make picking up prescriptions simple and convenient. We’re also helping to ensure a healthy future for retail pharmacies through CVS Caremark’s broad pharmacy networks and sustainable reimbursement.

In addition, CVS Pharmacy ® has introduced an innovative new pharmacy reimbursement model, CVS CostVantage, that will shift how CVS Pharmacy is compensated by more closely aligning reimbursement to the value we create as a local community pharmacy for the millions of patients we serve.

CVS Health supports community pharmacy


of pharmacies in our national PBM network are independent


independent pharmacies in the U.S.


of PBM plan members have convenient access to local pharmacies, exceeding CMS standards

What to know

1. Our PBM supports a healthy pharmacy ecosystem.
Local, independently owned pharmacies serve as vital partners in CVS Caremark pharmacy networks. They are essential to ensuring consumers can conveniently access needed medications.

Our pharmacy networks are built to support broad access to high-quality care within local communities, while helping control costs. As such, our networks include more than 65,000 pharmacies across the country, almost 43% of which are independent pharmacies,* demonstrating our commitment to foster robust and diverse health care partnerships.

2. Independent pharmacies are competitive and have significant market power.
There are more than 23,000* independent pharmacies in the U.S. today. Independent pharmacies are a $94 billion* industry annually, indicating their ability to grow and thrive in the market despite challenges facing the community pharmacy industry.

Independent pharmacies also do not negotiate alone. Their reimbursements and participation in pharmacy networks are determined by contracts negotiated by pharmacy services administrative organizations (PSAOs), which represent thousands of pharmacies and take place in the context of a highly competitive and dynamic marketplace.

3. We’re creating a more sustainable community pharmacy industry.
With CVS CostVantage, CVS Pharmacy is changing the pharmacy reimbursement model to be more closely aligned to the value we create as a local community pharmacy for the millions of patients we serve every week. Beginning in 2025, CVS CostVantage will provide a simpler way for CVS Pharmacy to be reimbursed by payors, based on a transparent formula built on the underlying cost of the drug, plus a defined markup, and a dispensing fee tied to the care and value our community pharmacy teams provide.

CVS Caremark TrueCost, our transformative new PBM pricing model, also helps set the stage to contract with network pharmacies in a way that provides them with reimbursements that are more closely aligned to their individual acquisition costs, with dispensing fees to cover their services.

And, to support the next generation of pharmacists, we’re investing in new offerings for pharmacy students: an enhanced PharmD tuition assistance program for eligible CVS Pharmacy interns and a new scholarship for students enrolled in pharmacy schools nationwide.

Learn more about the future of community pharmacy

  • *FOR 43% OF WHICH ARE INDEPENDENT PHARMACIES SOURCE: CVS Health Retail Pharmacy Network Management Services, 2023.

  • *FOR MORE THAN 23,000 INDEPENDENT PHARMACIES SOURCE: Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA). The State of the Pharmacy Market. n.d. 

  • *FOR $94 BILLION SOURCE: National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA). NCPA Releases 2023 Digest Report. 2023, Oct. 15.

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