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CVS Pharmacy partners with OptumRx

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OptumRx members can fill 90-day scripts at CVS for same co-pay

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WOONSOCKET, R.I., and CHICAGO — UnitedHealth Group’s OptumRx aims to bring more prescription drug and pharmacy care options to clients and members through a new partnership with CVS Pharmacy.

The companies said Tuesday that they will offer employers a new pharmacy network solution enabling eligible OptumRx members to fill 90-day prescriptions at the more than 9,600 CVS locations nationwide or via OptumRx home delivery. Those choosing the in-store option for their scripts will be able to fill them at prices equal to home delivery co-payment levels.

OptumRx and CVS said they expect the new 90-day pharmacy solution to be available to OptumRx commercial clients implementing new 90-day prescription benefit designs starting on July 1, 2017.

“We are very pleased to announce that we will be partnering with OptumRx, which will allow us to explore innovative ways of helping patients on their path to better health,” CVS Pharmacy president Helena Foulkes said in a statement. “This strategic relationship will enhance patients’ access to care, lower costs and improve health outcomes through our unmatched clinical capabilities delivered by our 27,000 retail pharmacists nationwide.”

The combination of OptumRx’s pharmacy and clinical solutions and CVS Pharmacy’s in-store health and wellness offerings will boost consumer engagement and improve patient health outcomes while reining in costs, the companies noted. In turn, the alliance allows OptumRx and CVS to leverage a shared pharmacy platform to develop new pharmacy, health and wellness solutions for clients and consumers.

OptumRx said the arrangement builds on its long-term business relationship with CVS Pharmacy as a traditional pharmacy network partner.

“Our new strategic relationship with CVS Pharmacy will benefit our clients and consumers by improving access to medications, driving better health outcomes, and reducing costs,” stated Mark Thierer, chief executive officer of OptumRx, the freestanding pharmacy services business of health insurer UnitedHealth. “By deepening our relationship, we can develop innovations that further modernize and enhance pharmacy care.”

Overall, OptumRx serves more than 65 million members and has a network of over 67,000 community pharmacies and home delivery pharmacies.

Earlier this year, CVS rival Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) unveiled a partnership with OptumRx that, among other benefits, gave OptumRx members the option to fill 90-day scripts at mail-order co-pay levels at any Walgreens pharmacy or through OptumRx home delivery.

“OptumRx will have similar nonexclusive relationships with both CVS and WBA in which OptumRx can sell to clients either WBA or CVS as the core pharmacy for a preferred network to employer or health plan clients,” Deutsche Bank Securities analyst George Hill said in a research note. “While a nice deal for Optum, we believe demand for preferred networks in commercial books is still relatively low. The offering through OptumRx’s relationship with CVS will be available to commercial clients starting in July 2017, while WBA’s offering will be available starting in January 2017.”

*Editor’s Note: Article updated with analyst comment.


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