Health Care Spillover in Aisle 7

CVS stores to undergo major renovations to make room for health care services as a result of the drug retailer’s acquisition of Aetna.

“I don’t see the size of the store changing from what you would know it to be today, but I do see some space being repurposed,” Larry Merlo, the CEO of CVS tells USA Today. Dedicating more floor space in its 10,000 locations to providing medical services will be the most noticeable outcome of CVS’s $70 billion purchase of Aetna, which was finalized on Wednesday.

CVS will no longer be just a store that happens to include a pharmacy, but an all-purpose health care destination, Merlo tells the newspaper. Some “concept stores” that should be operating by early next year will offer a peek at the new-look CVS.

And, oh yeah, CVS is promising better outcomes and lower costs. Now where have we heard that one before? “That’s a tall order, given that many industry players have tried and few have succeeded,” USA Today reports.

Vertical integration seems to be what CVS views as the answer. “CVS believes it can deliver healthier outcomes by controlling several key stages of the health care industry, including pharmacy, drug distribution and insurance,” the newspaper reports. “The goal is to cut excess costs and help treat patients more effectively and more efficiently.”

We’ll see.