Drugstore chain continues its journey of becoming a single location for consumer health and wellness
By NACS Online
CVS Health and Aetna announced a definitive merger under which CVS Health will acquire all outstanding shares of Aetna. The companies say that this transaction fills an unmet need in the current health-care system and presents a unique opportunity to redefine access to high-quality care in lower cost, local settings whether in the community, at home or through digital tools.
CVS Health President and CEO Larry J. Merlo said, “This combination brings together the expertise of two great companies to remake the consumer health-care experience. With the analytics of Aetna and CVS Health’s human touch, we will create a health care platform built around individuals.”
The companies say that the merger is a natural evolution as they seek to put the consumer at the center of health care delivery. CVS Health has steadily become an integrated health care company, and Aetna has moved beyond being a traditional insurer to focus more on consumer well-being.
“This is the next step in our journey, positioning the combined company to dramatically further empower consumers. Together with CVS Health, we will better understand our members’ health goals, guide them through the health care system and help them achieve their best health,” said Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna chairman and CEO.
CVS Pharmacy locations will include space for wellness, clinical and pharmacy services, vision, hearing, nutrition, beauty, and medical equipment, in addition to products and services. An entirely new health services offering available in many locations will function as a community-based health hub, answering patients’ questions about their health conditions, as well as prescription drugs and health coverage.
This personalized health-care experience will be delivered by connecting Aetna’s extensive network of providers with greater consumer access through CVS Health. This includes more than 9,700 CVS Pharmacy locations and 1,100 MinuteClinic walk-in clinics.
CVS made a few announcements earlier this year that highlight the company’s growing presence in the health and wellness space. In September, CVS introduced automated retail vending machines stocked with products like over-the-counter health products, better-for-you snacks and personal care products. The vending machines are designed “to help maximize convenience and meet customers where they are with on-the-go wellness solutions outside the traditional retail space,” notes a press release. The machines are placed in well-trafficked areas by residents and travelers alike who may need products in a pinch, “eliminating the need to make a special trip to a retail location.” The company plans an additional 50+ locations that includes college campuses, corporate offices, hotels and other transportation hubs.
In April, CVS unveiled a new store design that features a new assortment of healthier foods, health-focused products and expanded beauty selections. CVS has introduced 27 new healthy options under its Gold Emblem Abound product line. The catalyst for the evolution of the retail stores was the company’s decision in 2014 to stop selling tobacco.