CVS Health Corp (NYSE:CVS) is venturing deeper into patient care with an eye on doctors’ turf as it continues to explore ways of countering slower store sales and the defection of big insurance companies. Buoyed by the success of the Transform Diabetes Care Program, the pharmaceutical giant is planning to roll out a new program targeting patients struggling with depression.
CVS Health Depression Program
Information about the new program is still sketchy even as the company moves to model it the same way as the diabetes care program. Initial indication is that CVS plans to marshal pharmacists as well as on-site medical clinics and vast data network to help patient’s battle depression.
Anyone wishing to participate in the program will have to belong to a health plan that has CVS pharmacy benefits.
“We tell our [insurance] clients that these members have to be in one of our channels to get the value of these programs. There will be a share shift that comes as clients adopt these programs, and we demonstrate our ability to lower overall health care cost,” said Jonathan Roberts, CVS’s chief operating officer.
CVS Health plans to use the depression program to lure back insurers to its pharmacy benefits management services that has taken a hit over the past year.
Depression Treatment Costs
The depression program seeks to bring down the costs for both patients and insurance providers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the financial toll of depression came in at about $210 billion in 2010. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that 1 out of 20 Americans aged 12 years and above are struggling with moderate to severe symptoms of depression.
Treatment of chronic diseases such as depression accounts for 70% of $4 trillion spent in the U.S healthcare sector, presenting a unique opportunity that CVS plans to take advantage of, with its patient care program. However, the company would be entering into a space where competition is the order of the day. Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (NASDAQ:WBA) already has a program with Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ:ESRX) targeting chronic diseases such as diabetes.
CVS Health was up by 0.34% in Friday’s trading session to end the week at $79.41 a share.