WOONSOCKET, R.I., Feb. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO of CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS), was the guest speaker at a luncheon hosted by the Economic Club of Pittsburgh at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh today. During his remarks, Merlo discussed ways that CVS Caremark is reinventing pharmacy and helping people on their path to better health. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090226/NE75914LOGO) "Traditionally people have thought about pharmacies as pill dispensaries, but we know that a pharmacy is much more than that," Merlo said. "Delivering pharmacy care is about extending the front lines of health care to deliver better outcomes at lower cost to the people we serve. As a pharmacy innovation company, CVS Caremark is driving new approaches to do that." According to Merlo, CVS Caremark's pharmacists are the company's greatest asset. They are highly-trusted resources for patients and uniquely positioned to help them ensure that they take their medications properly, at the dosage, frequency and duration their doctor prescribed. Medication non-adherence costs the country's health care system about $300 billion a year, so focusing on efforts to reduce non-adherence can make a major impact not only on improving health, but reducing costs. CVS Caremark is also focusing efforts on helping customers manage chronic diseases, through its Pharmacy Advisor program. Pharmacists work with patients to help them stay on their medication and prevent complications, through phone outreach and e-mail reminders, in-store counseling and home consultation for the most complex cases. Lastly, CVS Caremark is helping improve access to high-quality and affordable health care through MinuteClinic, the nation's largest retail clinic provider. "When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, more than 30 million newly-insured Americans will have access to care. MinuteClinic is able to replace the use of higher cost sites, such as emergency rooms, as well as address unmet needs for access to primary care providers," said Merlo. "This helps to hold down overall costs of care."