CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo: Eight words to better health

4.7.2017 Article, General, Healthcare, Retail, School News

The marketplace demands that organizations consider and anticipate market changes in tandem with customer expectations. While many organizations struggle with the tension caused by changing demands, CVS Health’s commitment to their purpose has kept them on track.

“We have an eight-word purpose: ‘Helping people on the path to better health,’” said Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health. “It serves as a guidepost for everything we do,” Merlo told students in the Master of Arts in Management (MA) and Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) programs during his campus visit on April 5.

Merlo’s visit with School of Business students was part of the University’s broader Visiting Executive Program. This is just one way the School fulfills its educational mission to create honorable business professionals who are ready to make an impact with their careers.

Students in the School’s new MSBA program asked Merlo questions about how CVS is using loyalty card data, why data-driven decisions might result in clusters of competitor pharmacies in the same zip codes, and cyber security.

When talking with students in the MA program, Merlo shared ways CVS is innovating, such as bringing a generic epinephrine auto-injector (like an EpiPen) to the market for just over $100. Compare that to the name-brand version which costs more than $600, and has risen in price more than 400 percent in recent years. And that’s not all. “Now we’re offering an insulin solution that is $25 instead of the normal $150,” Merlo said.

He suggested that putting healthcare in the hands of consumers is something the company takes seriously. “We did a survey recently and found that 75 percent of Americans live within three miles of a CVS store.” For Merlo and CVS, that means more opportunities to help consumers take the medicines they need to manage short-term illness or chronic conditions.

Merlo also shared his thoughts about the current healthcare landscape. In his opinion, the Affordable Care Act has created both benefits and challenges. The disruption in the healthcare market creates opportunities, he said. CVS will be looking to innovate, always keeping the company’s guiding purpose in mind: Helping people on their path to better health.