ONLINE DRUGSTORES II: CVS, Healtheon/WebMD Plan Exclusive Pact
CVS Corp. and Healtheon/WebMD Corp. are expected to announce today an exclusive five-year deal that calls for mutual promotion and support of the companies' products and services, the Wall Street Journal reports. The agreement will allow consumers visiting the WebMD cite to purchase prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and beauty supplies from CVS.com, while CVS.com consumers will have access to the health information and services provided by WebMD. CVS.com will be the only online pharmacy promoted by WebMD, and in return, Healtheon/WebMD will receive a percentage of all online purchases of over-the-counter products. The companies will establish a multi-million dollar campaign to promote their alliance and plan to develop a "seamless system" for processing prescriptions electronically. Under the agreement, CVS will transfer nearly 50 million transactions, including insurance verifications, to Healtheon/WebMD's network. The WebMD logo will be placed on CVS advertising circulars, shopping bags, in-store signs and banners. Although financial terms were not disclosed, CVS CEO Thomas Ryan said he expected CVS.com online sales to "quadruple" over the next year (Carrns, 1/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.