CVS Caremark vies for TN agreement

CVS Caremark is between 4 organizations vying for a condition of Tennessee agreement value roughly $300 million a calendar year to regulate pharmacy gains for 270,000 condition staff and their family members.        Successful this kind of a massive agreement has develop into critical for the drugstore chain that retains its pharmacy gains arm in Nashville.

The organization has lost important contracts value about $four.eight billion all around the country in new months and its inventory rate has fallen from a large over $44 a share in June 2008 to much less than $32 a share this 7 days. It also forecasts a 10 per cent to 12 per cent fall in the pharmacy gains unit’s operating revenue following calendar year.

The Woonsocket, R.I.-centered drugstore chain’s CaremarkPCS Health unit will contend in opposition to CIGNA Pharmacy Management, UnitedHealth Group’s Prescription Alternatives and Catalyst Health Solutions’ CatalystRx unit for the lucrative condition agreement. Final 7 days, CVS Caremark won a new agreement value almost $one billion to continue on handling pharmacy gains for retired Texas lecturers.

“It’s not terribly product to them from a economical level of check out, but just the point that they are winning contracts once more offers you some hope that they can flip it all around,” Jeff Jonas, an analyst with Rye, N.Y.-centered Gabelli & Co., mentioned of the Texas get.

The Tennessee bids will be evaluated with benefits despatched to a committee to select a winner so the agreement can start out early following calendar year, mentioned Joe Burchfield, spokesman for the state’s gains administration. The condition plans to change to a one agreement for pharmacy gains that have been dealt with by 3 different insurers.

Pharmacy gains administrators negotiate drug rates with suppliers and suppliers on behalf of customer health plans, companies and government entities.

Acquiring a one seller could guide to price personal savings for the condition, together with from the winning bidder purchasing medications in much larger quantities for all plan membersDrugstore chain CVS Corp. of Woonsocket, R.I., and CaremarkRx of Nashville touted their 2007 merger as one that would completely transform the drug services business enterprise. But the company’s new general performance and lost contracts have remaining buyers and lots of analysts questioning the price of the two-calendar year-previous mergerBad marketing and advertising?

Some inventory analysts say one purpose for CVS Caremark’s troubles has been its method to marketing and advertising the post-merger organization to opportunity consumers. Constant point out of the drugstore side of the business enterprise will make companies and health plans anxious about regardless of whether they are remaining pushed to get medications at CVS drugstores rather than by means of other channels, mentioned David Shove, an analyst with BMO Money Markets in New York.

“They have been promoting convenience — that you can use the retail merchants and get ninety-day prescriptions at the retail merchants,” Gabelli analyst Jonas mentioned. “But we are in the center of a recession. They definitely will need to be marketing and advertising small rates rather than convenience.”

Addressing a health-care convention very last thirty day period, CVS Caremark CEO Tom Ryan acknowledged the company’s marketing and advertising information could have been off base, introducing, “We will need to flip that information all around.”

But Ryan mentioned the notion state-of-the-art by critics that the drugstore business enterprise makes an ethical conflict with CVS Caremark’s pharmacy services and skews rates supplied to customers is “baloney.”

Domestically, CVS Caremark has lost business enterprise, together with a pharmacy gains agreement with Vanderbilt University, which on Jan. one will change to Madison Wis.-centered Navitus Health Alternatives. “Vanderbilt needed a pharmacy gains manager that would partner with us to command our prescription drug fees,” mentioned John Howser, its spokesman. “Navitus offers this prospect.”

Other lost contracts a short while ago bundled the condition governments of Ohio and New Jersey.
How Tennessee functions

Under the state’s present-day arrangement, CVS Caremark manages pharmacy gains for about 83,506 associates in insurer BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee’s favored supplier plan statewide.

Pharmacy gains models of CIGNA and UnitedHealth Group’s RxSolutions unit that does business enterprise as Prescription Alternatives manage services for personnel and others enrolled in their respective level-of-service plan and health servicing companies.

CIGNA promises to manage services nowadays for 153,000 of the all round 270,000 condition staff, dependents and others.

CatalystRx, the fourth bidder for the state’s pharmacy gains services agreement, has a number of condition customers and is identified to be a player in that niche.

Stock analyst Jonas of Gabelli & Co. sees CVS Caremark and Catalyst as the two front-runners for the Tennessee agreement.

But the stakes for CVS Caremark continue being specially large here, contemplating lingering fears about its business enterprise model, one more analyst mentioned.

“It isn’t really likely to make the distinction in between profitability and non-profitability,” mentioned Shove of BMO Money Markets. “But you will need to get as substantially business enterprise as you can.”