CVS Health Fights Back on High Cost Drugs by Launching Industry's Most Comprehensive Approach to Saving Patients Money

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New CVS Health initiative seeks to solve one of the nation’s most pressing problems and a major source of consumer financial worry

Recognizing the threat of rising drug prices and high out-of-pocket costs, CVS Health providing most advanced solutions for prescribers, pharmacists and patients

CVS Pharmacists are key resource for patients in identifying opportunities to maximize their prescription benefits and save money at the pharmacy counter in communities nationwide

CVS Caremark mitigating impact of high drug costs by providing members and prescribers with robust information and innovative tools to choose lower cost prescription drugs

WOONSOCKET, R.I., April 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The high cost of prescription drugs is one of the nation's most pressing problems and a major source of financial worry for consumers across the nation. While CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) has made significant progress in mitigating the impact of high list prices set by pharmaceutical manufacturers, for too many Americans annual out-of-pocket drug costs are still significant. In response, CVS Health announced today that it is fighting back by launching the most comprehensive program in the industry to help patients save money on their medications.

According to a recent national poll, commissioned by CVS Health, 83 percent of Americans said they were concerned personally about the impact of rising prescription drug prices.1 As prescription drug prices continue to rise and enrollment in high deductible health plans grows, many patients are shouldering higher costs for their prescription medicine.

CVS Health will address this problem with a robust set of initiatives, including the new CVS Pharmacy Rx Savings Finder, which will enable the company's retail pharmacists for the first time to evaluate quickly and seamlessly individual prescription savings opportunities right at the pharmacy counter. This new tool further enhances existing savings opportunities the company's pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) CVS Caremark is currently offering its clients such as the preventive drug lists that make medications for many common, chronic conditions available at a $0 copay. In addition, CVS Caremark provides real-time, member-specific drug costs and lower-cost alternatives to prescribers through their electronic health record system and to CVS Caremark members through the member portal and newly updated app. These programs are part of CVS Health's commitment to helping consumers find the lowest cost prescription drugs by offering more pricing transparency for prescribers, pharmacists and patients.

"Today's consumers are faced with higher prescription drug prices than ever before and many of them are now paying for a larger share of their prescription drug costs out of their own pockets at the pharmacy counter due to growth in high deductible health plans," said Thomas Moriarty, Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer, CVS Health. "Until now, patients haven't had the appropriate tools available to them to help them manage these costs. To address this, CVS Health is giving expanded tools to patients, prescribers and pharmacists so they can evaluate prescription drug coverage in real-time and identify lower-cost alternatives. We are committed to finding the right drug at the lowest possible cost for patients to ensure they are able to access and stay on the medications they need. That's our promise."

At the Pharmacy Counter

The new CVS Pharmacy Rx Savings Finder enables the retail pharmacist to quickly and seamlessly review a patient's prescription regimen, medication history and insurance plan information to determine the best way for them to save money on out-of-pocket costs with the primary goal of helping the patient find the lowest cost alternative under their pharmacy benefits plan.

"Our direct experience is that patients who are confronted with high out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter are less likely to pick up their prescriptions and are less likely to be adherent to their prescribed therapy," said Kevin Hourican, Executive Vice President, Retail Pharmacy, CVS Pharmacy.

"Armed with the information available through our Rx Savings Finder, our more than 30,000 CVS pharmacists can play an important role by helping patients save money on their medications, providing advice on how and when to take them, and ultimately helping them achieve better health outcomes," Hourican added. "We are beginning this process with our CVS Caremark PBM members and expect to roll it out more broadly throughout the year."

The Rx Savings Finder will show pharmacy teams:

  1. First, if the prescribed medication is on the patient's formulary and is the lowest cost option available.
  2. Second, if there are lower-cost options covered under the patient's pharmacy benefit such as a generic medication or therapeutic alternative with equivalent efficacy of treatment.
  3. Third, if the patient may be able to save money by filling a 90-day prescription rather than a 30-day prescription.
  4. Finally, if neither a generic nor a lower-cost alternative is available, other potential savings options for eligible or uninsured patients where allowed by applicable laws and regulation.2

Pharmacists can also help patients enroll in the ExtraCare Loyalty Program and sign them up for Pharmacy and Health Rewards. Through Pharmacy and Health Rewards, patients receive $5 in ExtraBucks for every 10 prescriptions filled, earning up to $50 in ExtraBucks annually.

At the Doctor's Office

Another component of the company's comprehensive savings approach is the recently launched real-time benefits program, which helps bring greater drug price transparency to prescribers and CVS Caremark members. At the point-of-prescribing, providers are able to see the member-specific cost for a selected drug, based on a member's coverage, along with up to five lowest-cost, clinically appropriate therapeutic alternatives based on the patient's formulary. PBM members have access to the same information on the CVS Caremark app and member portal. Early results show that prescribers accessing the real-time benefits information through their electronic health record switched their patient's drug from a non-covered drug to a drug on formulary 85 percent of the time. In addition, when the patient's drug is covered, prescribers using real-time benefits switch their patient to a lower-cost alternative 30 percent of the time. When the prescriber switched to a lower-cost drug, the difference was approximately $75 per prescription.

"We have been working hard to keep prescription medications affordable for patients," said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health. "In fact, in 2017, nearly 90 percent of our PBM plan members spent less than $300 out-of-pocket for their prescription medicines. While this signals progress, for those patients that cost is not insignificant. That is why we are committed to doing even more across our enterprise to help patients find and access the lowest cost drug at the pharmacy which ultimately will help improve clinical outcomes and remove higher downstream medical costs from the system."

Using Pharmacy Benefit Management Solutions

CVS Health is also making a variety of PBM solutions available to help further drive down drug trend for its PBM clients and drug costs for the patients they support. The company's Point of Sale (POS) rebate offering allows the value of negotiated rebates on branded drugs to be passed on directly to patients when they fill their prescriptions and the savings from this program can be significant. In 2013, CVS Health led the industry with the introduction of POS rebates to clients, and today nearly 10 million members are covered by and able to benefit from the program.

In 2017, despite manufacturer brand list price increases on drugs near 10 percent, CVS Health PBM strategies reduced drug trend for CVS Caremark commercial clients to the lowest level in five years, keeping drug price growth at a minimal 0.2 percent. In fact, 42 percent of CVS Caremark commercial clients spent less on their pharmacy benefit plan in 2017 than they had in 2016. CVS Caremark helped members reduce monthly out-of-pocket costs and improve adherence to its highest level in seven years in key categories such as diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia.

Prescription drug trend is the measure of growth in prescription spending per member per month. Trend calculations take into account the effects of drug price, drug utilization and the mix of branded versus generic drugs as well as the positive effect of negotiated rebates on overall trend. The 2017 trend performance is based on a cohort of CVS Health PBM commercial clients, employers and health plans.

About CVS Health

CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its more than 9,800 retail locations, more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 94 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, expanding specialty pharmacy services, and a leading stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, the company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable and 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 https://www.cvshealth.com.

Media Contacts

Erin Pensa
401-770-4786
Erin.Pensa@CVSHealth.com

Erin Britt
401-770-9237
Erin.Britt@CVSHealth.com

Investor Contact

Mike McGuire
401-770-4050
michael.mcguire@cvshealth.com

1 The Morning Consult poll was conducted from February 22-26, 2018, among a national sample of 1992 registered voters. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

2 Prescriptions submitted for reimbursement to Medicare, Medicaid or other federal or state programs are not eligible.

SOURCE CVS Health

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Sustainable Supplier Partner of the Year: Colgate-Palmolive

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Child brushing teeth

Support from our suppliers is vital to helping us deliver on our CSR strategy. In 2016, we introduced our supplier award program for sustainability and social responsibility to recognize our suppliers' efforts across our three key CSR pillars as well as their partnership with us on CSR initiatives. In 2017, we were pleased to recognize Colgate-Palmolive—a global consumer goods company focused on household, health care and personal care products—with this award.

Colgate champions sustainability and social responsibility through initiatives such as its Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program, providing millions of children around the world with oral health education. Colgate has also issued a commodity-specific Policy on Responsible and Sustainable Sourcing of Palm Oils; is ranked best-in-class on the CDP and Newsweek Green rankings; and is a member of the Consumer Goods Forum, demonstrating its commitment to fair labor practices.

As a leader in social responsibility, Colgate shares our vision for advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and is a fellow participant in the UN Global Compact. Like CVS Health, Colgate prioritizes product sustainability, values diversity within its supply chain, and has been named to DiversityInc.'s Top 50.

Colgate continues to stand out as a valuable and engaging supplier partner. In 2018, we plan to partner on a recycling initiative to help our customers properly dispose of difficult-to-recycle items such as toothpaste tubes.

Child brushing teeth
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Removing Chemicals of Consumer Concern

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Our customers have spoken, and they've told us that they prefer to purchase products that are effective but contain fewer ingredients of concern. In response, CVS Health announced that we will be removing parabens, phthalates and the most prevalent formaldehyde donors (preservative ingredients that can release formaldehyde over time) from our store brand CVS Health, Beauty 360, Essence of Beauty, and Blade product lines. We will begin rolling out products that do not contain these ingredients to our CVS Pharmacy stores in the months following the April 2017 announcement, and plan to stop shipping products that don't meet these standards to our distribution centers by the end of 2019.

Customer Feedback Helps Drive Decisions

This move is part of our journey toward more sustainable products that satisfy consumer expectations.

“We listened when customers voiced their desire for products that provide the benefits they need with fewer ingredients of concern,” said Cia Tucci, Vice President of Store Brands and Quality Assurance at CVS Health. “[Our] announcement is a natural step in the evolution of our comprehensive approach to chemical safety.”

In addition to announcing this "free from" milestone in April 2017, we also published our full list of restricted chemicals by category. This list will be updated on an annual basis. View the list.

Our store brand products have always been subject to stringent standards of safety, quality and environmental responsibility and – at a minimum – meet all federal and state requirements; customer feedback has driven this move to eliminate parabens, phthalates and the most prevalent formaldehyde donors. In addition, we’ve engaged with industry experts and key advocacy groups to ensure that product quality can be maintained through the transition.

Maintaining Transparency

Our chemical policy has evolved based on a foundation laid over the last decade to advance our chemical management efforts. In 2007, we became the first major drugstore to establish a Cosmetic Safety Policy.

Since then, CVS Health has made substantial progress toward sustainable chemical management, including:

  • The launch of the WERCSmart tool in 2013 to ensure suppliers register ingredient information for all chemical-based products.

  • In 2016, we became the first major pharmacy chain in the country to become a signatory of the Chemical Footprint Project.

“Our consumers expect both transparency and quality when it comes to ingredients in the products they use,” said Eileen Howard Boone, Senior Vice President of CSR and Philanthropy at CVS Health. “This is an important step, and we look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders to address additional chemicals of consumer concern and focus on more product categories in the future.”

CVS Health is removing chemicals of consumer concern from 600 of our store brand products
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Our Commitment to Reducing Our Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Science Based Targets logo.

CVS Health is pleased to announce its greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction targets have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), as part of our commitment to ensuring our company’s actions are aligned with current climate science.

As part of our goal, CVS Health is committed to reducing absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions 36 percent by 2030 from a 2010 base-year. CVS Health also commits that 70 percent of its suppliers by emissions will set science-based emissions reduction targets on their scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2023.

The SBTi is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The SBTi defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting and independently assesses and approves companies’ targets.

Science-based targets provide companies with a clearly defined pathway to future-proof growth by specifying how much and how quickly they need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Targets adopted by companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are considered “science-based” if they are in line with the level of decarbonization required to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial temperatures.

To learn more about our commitment to sustainable operations, read our 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility report.

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Every day is Earth Day for the “GreenTeam”

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CVS Health colleagues are committed to giving back to their local communities, whether volunteering at a community health center to offer medical screenings, serving on a nonprofit board, or talking to local students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

To extend this spirit of volunteerism and as part of our commitment to increase our engagement around environmental sustainability among our colleagues, we developed the new GreenTeam Colleague Resource Group (CRG). The goal of the GreenTeam is to harness this enthusiasm and engage colleagues across the organization in supporting the health of the environment.

“When launching the GreenTeam CRG, our goal was to inspire and drive passion among colleagues regarding environmental sustainability,” says Nadine King, Manager, Corporate Environmental at CVS Health and Enterprise Co-Chair for the GreenTeam. “A lot of people who aren’t in the corporate environmental department at CVS Health still want to do something for the greater good, and together we can have a big impact.”

Early progress

The GreenTeam was formally launched in 2016, and has hosted events throughout early 2017 to engage colleagues in green initiatives and grow membership. The GreenTeam has garnered support from senior leaders including its Executive Sponsor, Eileen Howard Boone, SVP of Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy. By early 2017, more than 150 colleagues had joined the first chapter at CVS Health’s Rhode Island headquarters. The GreenTeam has plans to expand nationwide; colleagues across the country have indicated interest in forming new chapters.

The GreenTeam’s mission is to make environmental sustainability a relevant part of every colleague’s role and responsibility. “We hope the GreenTeam will bring together colleagues from diverse backgrounds, perspectives and business areas,” says Caitlin O’Donnell, Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility at CVS Health and Enterprise Co-Chair for the GreenTeam. “This should help us develop innovative ideas that can be implemented across our business units.”

Incorporating colleague feedback

Colleague feedback is vital to sustaining membership, and the team takes member opinions into consideration when planning events and communications. The group will serve as a forum for information about CVS Health sustainability initiatives, offer tips about how colleagues can make an impact outside the office, and host events that support the environment and health of local communities.

“In our daily operations and even with special events, like the CVS Health Charity Classic, we strive to be mindful of the environment and think of ways to reduce our impact,” King says.

Setting a model for other chapters, the Rhode Island chapter will organize three or four volunteering events each year, such as cleanups at beaches and parks.

“By coming together, we can help promote sustainability not only for the company, but for ourselves, our families and our local communities,” O’Donnell says.

CVS Health Green Team Colleague Resource Group
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CVS Pharmacy store applauded for energy-efficient design

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Innovative features, such as high-efficiency lighting and an electric car charging station, make the CVS Pharmacy in West Haven, Connecticut, stand out among our company’s 9,600 stores. Now, with its receipt of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification, it’s officially the most energy efficient CVS Pharmacy in the U.S.

The West Haven location is the first CVS Pharmacy to be certified with the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) highest distinction and is CVS Health’s eighth LEED-certified building. CVS Health is piloting several environmental innovations and best practices at the store to determine which ones are the most successful, and incorporate these features into other stores and facilities. This initiative aligns closely with CVS Health’s overall CSR platform, Prescription for a Better Worldas the company is committed to reducing its impact on the environment.

The LEED system, developed by the USGBC, is the most internationally recognized program for green building certification. The Platinum level distinguishes those buildings that are designed, constructed and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.

The West Haven store’s design utilized recycled materials, landscaping that doesn’t require irrigation, high-efficiency lighting, HVAC and plumbing systems, day lighting technology, and a solar photovoltaic system to improve energy efficiency. With these features, the West Haven store uses 40 percent less energy and 50 percent less water compared to a traditional building of similar size.

You can learn more about CVS Health’s green building efforts in our Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

Our CVS Pharmacy in West Haven, Connecticut, has received LEED Platinum certification for energy efficiency.
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At the heart of health care delivery: Our 10th annual CSR report

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Our commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a major part of who we are as a pharmacy innovation company. Each year, we report our results to our stakeholders through our Prescription for a Better World annual Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Now in its tenth year, the report provides updates on progress against our CSR goals, and establishes new performance targets.

We are committed to making health care more affordable and accessible, reducing our environmental impact, and operating our business with integrity. These priorities are represented by the three pillars that support our strategy:

Health In Action — Through Health in Action, we are leading with heart by playing an active role in supporting the health and wellness of our patients, our customers, our colleagues, our communities and our nation. This includes helping to ensure more accessible and affordable care; encouraging our customers to consume healthier food; helping patients with chronic disease adhere to their medication regimens; and fighting tobacco and prescription drug addiction.        

Planet In Balance — We are committed to understanding the connection between our environmental impact and the health of our customers and communities, such as air pollution, water pollution, deforestation and climate change, and working to reduce those impacts. Our expanding environmental footprint includes thousands of retail pharmacies and a growing supply chain. We’re committed to assessing and reducing the direct and indirect environmental impacts of that footprint.

Leader In Growth — We follow through on our purpose of helping people on their path to better health — and on our values of integrity and accountability — by striving to create a safe, rewarding, engaging and inclusive workplace. We’re also committed to transparency and to the implementation of robust standards throughout our enterprise and across our supply chain.

Prescription for a Better World is more than the title of our report — it’s a comprehensive approach to CSR that engages colleagues across our organization to make measurable progress in fulfilling our purpose,” says Eileen Howard Boone, SVP of Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy for CVS Health. “As I look ahead to the next ten years, I see so many opportunities for our CSR strategy to play an even bigger role in supporting our business and delivering value to our customers, communities and stakeholders.”

Read Prescription for a Better World, our 2016 Corporate Social Responsibility report.

Our 10th annual report details our progress on our CSR goals.
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