‘Today’s norm to tomorrow’s everyday routines,’ CVS CEO says the pandemic will change customers’ shopping, health-care habits

- Advertisement -
  • During the pandemic, more customers have used digital services, such as telemedicine and delivery of prescriptions to the home.
  • CVS Chief Executive Larry Merlo said those emerging trends may become even more popular in the future.
  • The company, which has opened drive-thru testing for Covid-19, may expand into other kinds of diagnostic testing, too, Merlo said.
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
Larry Merlo, CEO, CVS
Larry Merlo, CEO, CVS

Months and even years from now, leaders of CVS Health say the coronavirus pandemic may still shape how customers shop and use health care — and influence how it operates its own business.

Telemedicine instead of urgent care appointments. Prescription deliveries to the home. Diagnostic tests at the local pharmacy instead of the doctor’s office.

The health-care company’s CEO Larry Merlo said those trends, which have gained popularity during the pandemic, may offer a preview of the future. He said in a Wednesday earnings call that CVS is starting to see “a new normal emerge.”

“We expect that elements of today’s new norm will become part of tomorrow’s everyday routines,” he added.

The drugstore chain had strong sales in the first quarter, as customers ordered 90-day supply of prescriptions, refilled medications early and stocked up on items in the front of the store. CVS beat Wall Street’s expectations for earnings and revenue for the quarter, which ended March 31.

The drugstore chain saw sudden and dramatic changes to its business because of Covid-19. Virtual visits through Minute Clinic, its urgent care service, were up 600% compared to the same quarter in 2019. Home delivery of prescriptions surged by 1000%. Use of the company’s app increased double-digits. And CVS had a four-fold increase in the number of customers adding front store items, such as toilet paper or soap, to prescription home deliveries.

Use of CVS-owned health insurance company, Aetna, spiked, too. More households used the Aetna Health app in the first quarter than the first three quarters of 2019 combined, he said.

The company’s Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Roberts said customers may want health care delivered differently because of the pandemic. For example, he said a recent survey indicated that more consumers want to get their flu shot at the local pharmacy instead of their doctor’s office.

He said telemedicine will “be an integral part of how we go-to-market moving forward.”

The pandemic may inspire CVS to offer new and different kinds of testing, Merlo said.

During the pandemic, the company has opened and staffed drive-thru testing sites for Covid-19. Patients must make an appointment and meet the criteria of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CVS has administered nearly 90,000 tests, Merlo said. The sites use a device made by Abbott Laboratories that can provide results in minutes. Last week, it announced plans to have nearly 1,000 drive-thru testing sites in its store parking lots by the end of May, so long as it can get supplies and lab capacity.

And, as researchers try to develop vaccines and treatments for Covid-19, Merlo said CVS is ready to provide another service. He said its stores across the country “are well-positioned to provide medication therapies and vaccines when they become available.”

Home of Science
Follow me

- Advertisement -




‘Europe’s largest’ solar power facility comes online as the industry faces coronavirus challenges

KEY POINTS Oil markets are facing their greatest moment of uncertainty in decades ahead of an OPEC and OPEC+ ⁠meeting on Thursday, which was delayed...

‘Overheated Momentum’ Doomed Stock Market to Quick Reversal

In a stock market inundated with retail investors rushing in to buy anything that moves, the swift reversal we’re seeing was more or less...

Mesothelioma Causes And Risk Factors

Mesothelioma Causes And Risk FactorsThere are various causes of mesothelioma, many of which are unknown. Most people who have been exposed to asbestos...

Maya Forstater: Woman wins tribunal appeal over transgender tweeton June 10, 2021 at 10:42 am

Maya Forstater lost her job at a think tank over tweets saying people cannot change their biological sex.image copyrightSexMattersOrgA woman who lost her job...

Downing Street refurbishment: What is the row over Boris Johnson’s flat?on April 26, 2021 at 12:25 pm

Boris Johnson is facing questions over how expensive works on his Downing Street flat were paid for.image copyrightPA MediaBoris Johnson is facing questions over...
Home of Science
Follow me