CVS Caremark pulls in record results
News that CVS Caremark pulled in record results for the fourth quarter and year 2008, in light of the current economy, not only speaks volumes of the company’s well-oiled team of merchants, marketing and operations executives but is also a testament to its evolving role as a pharmacy healthcare service company focused on healthcare reform.
There’s no doubt that 2008 was a difficult year for the nation as unemployment soared, housing prices plummeted and Wall Street crumbled, yet CVS Caremark managed to pull through with strong financials and ended the year with a list of significant accomplishments. On that list: industry leading retail same-store sales growth; the introduction of its Proactive Pharmacy Care offering; solid client retention and industry leading sales in its PBM business; and the acquisition of more than 500 Longs Drug Stores and the RxAmerica PBM unit. It also ended the year with more than 500 MinuteClinics.
The news came just days after Tom Ryan, chairman, president and CEO, took his message to mainstream America via an interview with BusinessWeek. He told BusinessWeek that his goal is to help transform America’s costly and often ineffective healthcare system and plans to take advantage of President Barack Obama’s commitment to healthcare reform.
That goal has already started to take shape as CVS Caremark works to bolster its arsenal of offerings aimed at increasing adherence and cutting costs (read: Proactive Pharmacy Care) and further leverages its network of MinuteClinics. In fact, during 2009 the company will make use of its retail ad spend to drive MinuteClinic awareness, will expand its service offerings to extend relevance and will further increase the number of in-network covered lives.
This is not to say that CVS Caremark is without its share of challenges given the recession, but it certainly seems well positioned for the road ahead.
As Ryan told analysts during Thursday’s conference call, “There’s no silver bullet.” No, there isn’t a silver bullet; it is doing a lot of different things well and, so far, CVS Caremark seems to be doing just that.
Study shows quick workouts help improve insulin sensitivity
LONDON A study published earlier this week in the online journal BMC Endocrine Disorders found that less than eight minutes per week of high-intensity exercise substantially improved insulin sensitivity in healthy, sedentary people.
The study involved 16 young men who performed two weeks of high-intensity interval training. Study participants were given an oral glucose test before and after the two-week training period. In the later test, the amount of time the men’s blood sugar and blood insulin levels were above normal was reduced by 12% and 37%, respectively.
“This novel time-efficient training paradigm can be used as a strategy to reduce metabolic risk factors in young and middle aged sedentary populations who otherwise would not adhere to time consuming traditional aerobic exercise regimes,” the authors concluded.
CDC: Young people face multiple health challenges
ATLANTA Increases in obesity, higher injury rates and lack of health insurance are just three of the challenges that young adults aged 18 to 29 in the United States face, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report, “Health, United States: 2008,” is the 32nd edition of the annual report, prepared by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.
Highlights of the report, which includes a special section on young adults, include:
- Obesity rates have tripled, to 24%, between the periods between the early 1970s and 2006
- Smoking rates among young women declined between 1997 and 2006 by nearly 20%, but not among young men; in 2006, 29% of young men were smokers
- In 2005, accidental injuries, homicide and suicide accounted for 70% of deaths among young adults
- Between 1999 and 2004, nearly 9% of those aged 20 to 29 reported depression, anxiety disorder or panic disorder in the past 12 months
- In 2006, 34% of those aged 20 to 24 lacked insurance, compared to 21% of 18- and 19-year-olds and 29% of those aged 25 to 29
- Between 2004 and 2006, 17% of those in the 18-29 group reported needing but not receiving medical care, prescription medicines, mental health care or eyeglasses due to lack of money
The report also revealed a number of trends among older adults.
- In 2006, life expectancies for men and women were 3.6 years and 1.9 years higher than in 1990, respectively, due to declines in death rates from heart disease, stroke and cancer
- Between 2003 and 2006, 65% of men and 80% of women 75 and older had high blood pressure or were taking medication to treat it, compared to 36% of adults aged 45 to 54
- Increased use of cholesterol-lowering drugs had partially contributed to a decline in the percentage of the population with high cholesterol
- About 25% of adults 60 and older had diabetes between 2003 and 2006
- Obesity rates remain high, but are not increasing as rapidly as before; more than a third of adults 20 and older were obese in 2005 and 2006