COVID-19: How We're Monitoring the Drug Supply Chain

April 21, 2020

We are in the midst of an unprecedented situation, and we know you have many questions and concerns about the well-being of your plan members, your family and yourselves. As the facts about COVID-19 and the steps we need to take to mitigate its effects evolve, we want to assure you that we, as your business partner and provider, are staying ahead of what comes next.

We are closely monitoring the global pharmaceutical manufacturing environment and working with our suppliers to ensure we can continue filling prescriptions for our pharmacy patients and members at CVS Health.  We are actively managing our supply to ensure our ability to continue to fill prescriptions in our retail, mail and specialty pharmacies.

Our monitoring process is real-time and includes the supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients, as well as brand and generic pharmaceutical products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also closely monitoring medications that are manufactured throughout the world.

We’re also balancing the growing interest in off-label use of certain prescription medications to treat COVID-19 pneumonia with the ongoing needs of patients and members who are prescribed these drugs to help manage chronic conditions such as lupus, HIV, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Our goal is to limit stockpiling of medication that could result in future shortages and gaps in care.

We are seeing increased demand for medications being prescribed to treat COVID-19 as reported by the media and our pharmacies have experienced some temporary out of stocks. As it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not uncommon for pharmacies to have temporary out of stocks of individual products and our pharmacies have standard processes in place to resolve those situations. In addition to standard processes at the pharmacy level, we implemented new measures across our enterprise for these medications, such as adhering to state-level dispensing guidelines in our retail pharmacies and, as a PBM, setting coverage limits on quantity for pharmacies in our network. 

As always, we use predictive analytics to monitor usage trends so that we can anticipate, and adjust to, future needs well in advance. Please note that occasional shortages or product recalls that are not related to the virus may happen.

Go back to the COVID-19 PBM Partner Resource Center >

Given the fluid nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, we will continue to monitor the situation and work with our suppliers to address issues as they arise. We will alert clinicians to potential disruptions and share any contingency plans to address them. We will also keep you informed. We are here to support you. If you have any questions or concerns at all, we encourage you to reach out to your account representative. We’re in this together.

This article was originally published on March 24 and updated on April 21.

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April 21, 2020

Image source: Licensed from Getty Images, 2020.

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