Most people only think of CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) as a drug store chain. The reality could not be more different. CVS has created a new, bold business model that unites its retail franchise and long standing pharmacy benefits management (PBM) unit, Caremark, with giant health insurer, Aetna. The company’s goal is to create an integrated healthcare business. Improved operational efficiencies, technological innovation, and negotiating muscle should lead to lower patient costs and improved medical outcomes. In its own words, CVS’s mission continues to be to “utilize our broad range of assets to provide a comprehensive set of health services with market leading affordability.” As the COVID-19 pandemic slowly recedes, I think that the vast expanse of CVS Health’s unique franchise will come back into focus and highlight its long term investment value. Here’s why.

Female pharmacy employee wearing stethoscope, white coat, and badge holds a clipboard standing in between shelves of medication

Image source: Getty Images

How has CVS performed?

Merger integration and innovation takes time. It has been slightly over two years since the closing of the CVS and Aetna deal. The deal was slowed by the now settled legal fight over repealing portions or all of the Affordable Care Act, and recent pandemic-related issues affecting the entire healthcare industry. Yet, the combined entity has made significant strides in two key areas. 

First, CVS has assumed a leadership role in diagnostic testing and vaccination. CVS, just ahead of chief