CVS—the new drug pushers

CVS is a major pharmacy chain. I don’t believe it’s reached all parts of the country so some of you may not be familiar with them.

Their new business model includes making sure people stay on their drugs. So now we’re gonna get the you gotta take your drugs or you’ll die line at our pharmacist counter too. And the thing is psych drugs aren’t the only terribly over-prescribed drugs that actually lead to more problems.

Statins and a lot of antacids have similar profiles just to name two class of drugs that often cause more problems.

From Business Week:

What does Ryan intend to do with his drugstore empire? His goal, he says, is to help transform America’s expensive and often ineffective health-care system. Seeking to take advantage of President Barack Obama’s commitment to health-care reform, Ryan wants to use CVS’s vast prescription database and burgeoning network of in-store clinics to treat patients with chronic diseases and help keep them out of the hospital, where most medical costs are incurred. “I don’t think our health-care system is broken,” Ryan says. “We are just spending too much, and it’s unproductive.” …

…Few industry experts would argue. Hospital visits prompted by chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis impose an immense burden on health resources in the U.S. The total annual bill for diabetes alone is upwards of $170 billion, according to the American Diabetes Assn. Many of these costs would evaporate if patients simply complied with their doctors’ orders and took their medications. In fact, about one-third of all patients who begin a drug regimen never refill the prescription, either because they don’t feel sick, they forget, or they don’t want to spend the money.

Ryan believes CVS could help solve this problem and, in the process, boost its own bottom line. (emphasis mine)

Yeah, you think that maybe it’s all about CVS’s bottom line and nothing about the health of Americans? I think so.

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9 thoughts on “CVS—the new drug pushers

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  1. Never really had a problem with CVS. The people are OK while the people at Walgreens and Rite Aid seem like the hate life and all who occupy it.

    I’m also drawn to aesthetics. CVS has better lighting, better aisle spacing (most of them anyway), and carpeted floors. *shrugs* I’m a little shallow.

  2. why do you love CVS?

    they seem like your average large chain pharmacy…I used one for a long time and found them just as inefficient as Walgreens, Longs, etc…

    My favorite pharmacies…there were two…was one in SF that was family owned and they were really nice…

    and also another really tiny private one in my rural county here in Appalachia…the people who worked there were awesome and caring…

    would bend over backwards to deal with all my weird multiple doses of everything while I was tapering off everything…

    I miss them…I’m back at a Walgreen’s now—impersonal and cold—which was my experience at the local CVSs I’ve been to as well.

  3. it’s beyond disgraceful it’s another sign of the deep corruption that goes on…for those of you who don’t know what we are talking about pharma buys info on physician prescribing habits so they know exactly how to hit on them when they visit their offices….

    I think I did a post on it once…my blog is getting too big and my brain is fried….I’ll see if I can find it….

    yes…I took it from Danny Carlat:

  4. They don’t want to spend the money or don’t have it? If CVS really wanted to hold medical care costs down they would stop selling their lists of physician prescribing patterns to drug companies (which they use to reward high prescribing behaviors)

  5. Gianna,

    This statement scares me –

    “Many of these costs would evaporate if patients simply complied with their doctors’ orders and took their medications.”

    And here’s why….(in fact I just made this comment on Safe Harbor) –

    With the new data bank of medical records our government is now gonna have in place, and with more and more people coming into the Social Security system….It will be easy to use such statments (backed by ‘studies) to try to reduce costs….

    In other words, if you want to keep the social security benefits (you worked your entire life to earn before retirement), and/or stay on SSI or SSDI, you must help keep costs down by ‘staying on medication’, and/or ‘compliance’ with psychiatric meds….

    I have long-feared this…..I hope I’m wrong….Time-alone will tell…..If they start to steer this way, it’s important we all make sure it doesn’t come to fruition……This entire thing – the data bank on public health records (at least in my mind) is a dream-come-true for big-pharma, and their big-brother partner.


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