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CVS raises profit forecast, in talks with government to administer COVID-19 vaccines - Metro US

CVS raises profit forecast, in talks with government to administer COVID-19 vaccines

FILE PHOTO: Shoppers walk outside a CVS store and pharmacy in Medford

(Reuters) – Drugstore operator CVS Health Corp <CVS.N> raised its full-year profit forecast on Wednesday and said it was in talks with the U.S. government to administer coronavirus vaccines at its pharmacies once they become available.

CVS also said it was working with laboratories to cut down the turnaround time for coronavirus test results, which had spiked in July due to a massive increase in demand for tests.

A shortfall of adequate diagnostic testing has hampered the U.S. response to the pandemic, which has so far infected more than 4 million Americans.

CVS has been operating large-scale drive-through sites for coronavirus tests since April, and has opened over 1,800 sites across the United States.

“What is unique for us is this intersection of testing and vaccine creates a sustainable business model,” said Chief Executive Officer Larry Merlo.

Merlo said the company could apply the same digital health technology it had used for scheduling COVID-19 tests to vaccinations as well, once COVID-19 vaccines were available, to avoid delays.

CVS beat Wall Street expectations for second-quarter profit, as canceled medical procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to fewer claims at its health insurance business.

Health insurer Humana Inc <HUM.N> also posted better-than-expected quarterly profit, as claims fell.

CVS, however, warned that costs in its health insurance business would increase in the remainder of the year as Americans caught up on their surgeries.

The company raised its full-year profit forecast to between $7.14 per share and $7.27 per share from $7.04 per share to $7.17 per share.

Excluding items, the company earned $2.64 per share, beating analysts’ average estimate of $1.93, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

CVS’ shares were marginally down in morning trade.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Vinay Dwivedi)

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