American Cancer Society

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Supporting the fight against cancer

CVS Health understands how important it is to attack cancer from every angle. That’s why we’ve pledged to raise a minimum of $10 million for the American Cancer Society® over three years. The money raised will fund breakthrough research with a focus on reducing smoking and tobacco use. Donate today.

The second annual campaign kicks off with in-store fundraising from August 4 through 24, 2019, giving CVS Pharmacy customers the opportunity to donate at the registers of 8,000 locations nationwide.

In addition to in-store fundraising, CVS Health and American Cancer Society are working together to identify opportunities along a patient’s cancer journey to increase access to health products and services along the way. CVS Health is also the official pharmacy retailer of American Cancer Society.

This year, CVS Pharmacy customers can also support the American Cancer Society by purchasing a Hallmark greeting card. For every Hallmark card purchased from August 4 through 24, $1 will go to the American Cancer Society, up to $50,000. Shoppers will also find an exclusive line of cards that Hallmark developed with the American Cancer Society to help people connect when they may not have the words.


A long-standing partnership

The CVS Health Foundation and American Cancer Society partnered in 2016 to deliver more than $3.5 million in grants to 125 institutions of higher learning to help accelerate and expand the number of 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free college and university campuses throughout the United States. The grants help institutions take a comprehensive approach to implement tobacco-free campus policies, including cessation, education and support services for students.

The partnership created the Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative, part of Be The First, CVS Health’s five-year, $50 million initiative that supports education, advocacy, tobacco control and healthy behavior programming.

Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative

Accelerating and expanding the adoption of 100% smoke- and tobacco-free policies on college and university campuses across the nation.

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American Cancer Society and CVS Health announce second annual campaign to fund cancer patient services and breakthrough research

An in-store opportunity to honor and support family and friends affected by cancer.

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Expanding precision oncology care

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Tech entrepreneurs talk as much about working “on their business” as working “in their business” — another way of saying that innovating is as important as working on the day-in and day-out needs for a business to succeed. While the daily demands of patient care take a majority of their focus, oncologists, like smart tech executives, see technological advances and innovative oncology therapeutics as essential to improving the patient journey.

Today’s health care environment includes expanding the use of precision medicine, genomics, and technology, as well as increasing access to appropriate treatments to help improve patient experiences and outcomes. 

Precision medicine and the role of genomics

The late Clayton Christensen, renowned author and Harvard Business School professor who wrote at length on “disruptive innovation,” noted that precision medicine could aid in driving down health care costs without compromising quality or outcomes. Oncology evidence-based guidelines have been shown to improve treatment, outcomes, and costs by quickly starting patients on the most effective treatment, often with fewer side effects and less treatment time.https://ascopubs.org/doi/pdf/10.1200/JOP.17.00091

CVS Health’s Divisional Head of Enterprise Oncology Dr. Roger Brito describes the company’s precision approach that employs disruptive innovation: “The critical period between diagnosis and starting on therapy is an incredibly stressful and scary time for a patient. The ideal situation is to formulate the optimum treatment plan and get the patient started on the appropriate therapy as soon as possible.” 

Still, with approximately 700 updates in 24 months across 59 different National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) treatment and supportive care regimens, and a 63 percent expansion in oncology drugs in development in the last decade (IMS Health, R&D Focus, IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, May 2016.), applying the most current therapies in daily practice is difficult for many oncologists.

“Keeping up with all of the changes in treatment, like the rapidly expanding oncology drug pipeline and evolving clinical guidelines for cancer treatment, can be very challenging for oncologists. 60% of community oncologists regularly use cancer pathwaysHigh-quality oncology clinical pathways are detailed, evidence-based treatment protocols for delivering cancer care to patients with specific disease types and stages. When properly designed and implemented, oncology pathways can serve as an important tool in improving care quality and reducing costs. https://www.asco.org/practice-policy/cancer-care-initiatives, so there is an opportunity to better support them in delivering the latest in cancer care,” says Brito.

On top of that, consider the exciting opportunity to enhance precision medicine with the latest genomics science and technology. “Identifying the genomic landscape of an individual patient’s tumor enables oncologists to treat the root cause specifically and more effectively,” says CVS Health’s Transformation Vice President for Complex Chronic Disease Anne Claussen.

CVS Health’s analysis suggests that broad-panel genomic sequencing may result in cost savings, and a pilot is underway that will explore this in depth.

With little debate over the efficacy of genomic testing, many wonder why 60 percent of advanced cancer care patients receive no genetic testing.https://www.foundationmedicine.com/blog/uncovering-insights-in-pancreatic-and-prostate-cancers “There are currently 125 approved cancer drugs and 86% of those in late-stage development that require genetic testing, yet few eligible patients receive a companion lab test. And even when advanced testing is administered, patients often receive the less comprehensive single gene mutation test, which does not provide a patient’s complete genetic profile,” says Claussen.

Testing a patient’s tumor, looking at DNA and RNA sequencing, and pairing that data with a patient’s health information is complicated and requires expertise in pharmacogenomics to interpret. Further, oncologists also need experience and training with such data to explain results to their patients. Here again, time is critically important to get the patient on the appropriate therapy as soon as possible.

Using technology to speed and expand support

CVS Health is building on its experience and bringing together capabilities across our health plan and pharmacy businesses to make precision medicine and genomics more accessible while easing adoption for oncologists with our Transform Oncology Care program.

Claussen stated, “We are proactively partnering with oncologists to develop and enhance our oncology care solutions by facilitating frequent, two-way feedback and providing reporting that highlights opportunities and gaps to improve health outcomes.”

CVS Health is helping oncologists employ broad-panel gene sequencing tests with the latest NCCN treatment and supportive care guidelines that help in the selection of the most precise and appropriate treatment regimen based on the patient’s clinical and genetic profile. Additionally, providers are notified of applicable clinical trials that their patients may qualify to participate in. “Here is where we see the power of precision medicine and evidence-based tools such as our Transform Oncology Care program, which allows providers to request an authorization online and receive approval within minutes. Patient anxiety is eased because they will get their treatment in a timely manner, and the provider’s process flow is streamlined, resulting in a much better patient experience,” explains Dr. Brito.

Transform Oncology Care strives to provide targeted strategies for every step of the cancer care journey.

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New research at ASCO 2020 reinforces the value of CVS Health offerings

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Identifying unaddressed challenges to better ensure quality, cost and access

We believe that in order to improve the health care quadruple aim — better quality, lower cost, and improvements in both patient and provider experience — the important first step is identifying the unaddressed challenges. This helps build a framework for developing strategies and solutions that address the areas of need. While treatments themselves are incredibly important, research that helps identify such gaps is critical, because it enables us to ensure clinically appropriate access and services to improve health outcomes for patients, and to develop comprehensive solutions that help payors manage costs.

Each year, the oncology community comes together at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) annual meeting to unveil the latest research in cancer care. While the meeting is most known for debuting breaking advancements in cancer treatments, the data presented goes far beyond. At this year’s meeting, we will be presenting data reinforcing the importance of innovative specialty management in cancer care. Here, we share some of the highlights:

Digital engagement helps support patient adherence

It is not uncommon for a patient on specialty medications — especially when they first begin treatment — to experience unpleasant side-effects. Treatment non-adherence as a result of that is all too common, and an ongoing challenge for patients and health care providers. Secure messaging has been shown to improve medication adherence in patients. In one abstract presented at ASCO, we examine how digital engagement in the form of secure two-way messaging from a nurse helped improve patient adherence to an oral chemotherapy known for significant adverse side-effects. Our research found that using CVS Specialty’s secure messaging platform to determine whether patients were experiencing common medication side effects enabled nurses to get involved quickly, leading to an improvement in patients’ symptoms and adherence to therapy. Secure two-way messaging is one of the digital and online engagement tools CVS Specialty uses to help patients better manage their conditions.

Precision treatment: Better outcomes, more cost-effective care

Unfortunately, lung cancer patients are frequently diagnosed late with advanced or metastatic disease. However, it’s been shown that targeted therapies can increase survival when compared to conventional treatments. Broad gene sequencing tests help support use of targeted therapies by identifying the best treatment for a specific patient. A CVS Health analysis found that by identifying the broader genomic landscape of a patient’s tumor early on, doctors armed with this information make timely and precise treatment decisions, which ultimately can lead to better outcomes and are more cost effective. The findings are an example of the types of analytics CVS Health is evaluating consistently to inform programs focused on transforming the oncology experience for patients and their support teams.

The challenge to increasing biosimilar prescribing

Biosimilars are the fastest-growing class of therapeutic products in the United States. Despite the availability and proven efficacy and safety of biosimilars, their uptake has been slow. This is, in part, due to patent litigation and pay-for-delay strategies by brand manufacturers that often delay the launch of many of these products, even after they’ve been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As part of the research we are presenting, we surveyed oncologists to evaluate their willingness to prescribe biosimilars. While those surveyed deemed biosimilars to be safe and effective, physicians reported there were still certain factors that affected their willingness to prescribe. Given the potential of biosimilars to create competition and therefore lower cost, we continually monitor the pipeline to optimize the use of lower cost therapies and expand our value-based provider contracts in order to help improve patient access. 

Data can improve patient care journey, payor and provider tools

We will also be presenting data from Novologix, CVS Health’s proprietary technology platform, which demonstrated that by engaging oncology practices through an enhanced payor-provider partnership and training providers on the prior authorization tool, we can help facilitate higher-quality oncology care. As part of another study, we surveyed patients on their cancer treatment history and care experience, as well as how they worked with their health care providers. We also surveyed health care providers for information on their practice, their referral process for their patients to an oncologist, and how they engage with their patients. There were two key findings. First, there is a compelling opportunity to develop a data-driven oncologist selection tool that helps primary care providers direct their patients to high-quality and low-cost oncologists. Second, it is important for providers to initiate the conversation around an advanced directive at the start of a patient’s cancer care in order to help those close to the patient fully understand their desires for end-of-life care.

This research is part of our ongoing focus on helping transform the health care experience for all patients while addressing challenges of oncology management for payors.

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