Pharmacy Careers
Volume 0

Ms. Sax is a freelance writer based in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Papatya Tankut, RPh

CVS Caremark, which combinesone of the nation's leading pharmaceuticalservices companies and thecountry's largest pharmacy chain, isthe nation's premier integrated pharmacyservices provider. With morethan 1 billion prescriptions filled ormanaged per year, the company ispositioned to be at the forefront of aconstantly evolving industry.

In a health care delivery marketplacethat is rapidly changing, CVS isuniquely positioned to provide solutionsthat will improve the pharmacyservices experience for patients. Thecompany is focused on managingcosts while improving health careoutcomes through its CVS/pharmacystores; its pharmacy benefit management,mail-order and specialty pharmacydivision, Caremark PharmacyServices; its retail-based health clinicsubsidiary, MinuteClinic; and itsonline pharmacy. This focus on thefuture of pharmacy practice createsan exciting work environment—onewith many opportunities for pharmacists.

"The CVS Caremark combinationis expected to improve the delivery ofpharmacy services and health caredecision making in an increasinglyconsumer-centric environment, enablingcustomers to benefit fromunparalleled access, greater convenience,and more choice," said PapatyaTankut, RPh, vice president ofpharmacy professional services forCVS/pharmacy.

Perhaps the biggest part of theequation is pharmacists. "Seventypercent of our retail business comesfrom the pharmacy, and it's the heartand soul of our business," saidTankut. "Because our pharmacists arethe most accessible points of contactfor our health care services, theirrelationship to our customers playsan important role in our mission toimprove the lives of those we serve bymaking innovative and high-qualityhealth and pharmacy services safe,affordable, and easy to access."

Tankut said thatdisease managementis an increasinglyimportant part ofpharmacy practiceand CVS. Throughits merger with Caremark,the companyis uniquely positionedto offer newend-to-end services for patients thatwill include disease management."Our pharmacists will play a criticalrole in executing these services," shesaid.

"The vision of CVS/Caremark isto strive to improve the quality ofhuman life. This vision extends toour retail pharmacies where we havethe most direct contact with customers,"said Tankut. Because CVSunderstands the value its pharmacistsprovide customers, the chain haspositioned pharmacists as accessible,valued providers of medication andeducation.

"CVS/pharmacy offers a workplacefor pharmacists that allows them tospend more time on the professionalaspects of their job such as counselingpatients and performing drugutilization review," said Tankut. "Oneof the key drivers in making this happenis the strategic design of ourworkflow. Pharmacy systems andworkflow are designed to providemore time for pharmacists to spendwith patients."

For example, insurance adjudicationissues are handled by the pharmacysupport staff at the point ofdrop-off. Bar-code scanning technologyand magnified images of the prescriptionson pharmacists' workstationsmake the process of ensuringaccuracy more efficient.

Once pharmacists come onboard,their careers can take many directions."There are many traditionaland nontraditional career pathsavailable for pharmacists, rangingfrom retail to hospital, to home infusion,"said Tankut. "We know that60% of newly graduating pharmacystudents will accept positions in aretail setting. At CVS/pharmacy, weare looking for pharmacists who havecompassion and empathy for takingcare of their patients, are professionaland knowledgeable, and have theability to integrate well with otherhealth care professionals to providethe patient with the optimal pharmaceuticalcare."

With more than 6200 stores acrossthe country, CVS has the ability tokeep its pharmacists employed withinthe company if their family movesto another state. The chain evenoffers pharmacists the opportunity towork in more than 1 state if they havedifferent seasonal residences. "Wealso offer our pharmacists a careerpath for those who desire to moveinto a field management position or aposition in our corporate offices,"said Tankut.

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