CVS’ Larry Merlo says goal can be to not leave room for Amazon to disrupt

CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo said he doesn’t lie awake at night worrying about Amazon yet he does want to make sure he’s not leaving any room for disruption.

What Merlo does worry about can be how CVS can meet the needs of its customers, he said Monday in an interview with David Rubenstein, president of the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. The company spends a lot of time listening to its customers to understand what they’re not happy about in addition to filling their unmet needs, he said.

“in order in which’s what we focus on as an organization, with the goal being: Don’t leave any white space for Amazon to disrupt,” Merlo said.

Amazon bought its way into the prescription drug delivery business using a $1 billion acquisition of online pharmacy company PillPack. The move spooked Wall Street in addition to shaved about $12.8 billion in market value through drugstores CVS, Walgreens Boots Alliance in addition to Rite Aid.

PillPack sorts a person’s medicines into clear pouches with labels explaining what’s inside in addition to when the person should take them. Merlo said This particular’s a “very niche product” since This particular’s designed for people with chronic conditions who take multiple drugs every day.

CVS said This particular offers a similar multi-dose-packaging product in which incorporates a proprietary dosing schedule technology.

“We have in which capability today,” Merlo said. “in addition to listen, with the acquisition of PillPack, there’s nothing proprietary about their technology. This particular’s off the shelf.”

CVS can be trying to become a disruptive force itself with its roughly $69 billion acquisition of health insurer Aetna. With the deal, CVS wants to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes at its MinuteClinics. They also want to steer people into these walk-in clinics in addition to away through more expensive sites such as emergency rooms.

The Department of Justice last week gave the deal preliminary approval. CVS still needs states’ approval. Merlo said Monday they’re inside “home stretch” of in which process.

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