CVS SWOT Analysis: A Huge Health Business with Unexplored Potential

PESTLEanalysis Team
PESTLEanalysis Team
CVS SWOT Analysis: A Huge Health Business with Unexplored Potential
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Our CVS SWOT Analysis investigates the internal and external factors that shape the business of CVS Health/Pharmacy in the healthcare and pharmaceutical world.

Health is the most important asset that any human being has. While a good lifestyle contributes a lot to maintaining health, the pharmaceutical industry also plays a big role because sometimes medication is necessary to mediate optimum health. CVS is a very famous pharmaceutical company that will be studied in detail in this CVS SWOT Analysis.

The company is a subsidiary of CVS Health, and it was founded in 1963 in Lowell, Massachusetts. The interesting thing is that it was then known as the Consumer Value Store. When they changed the name to what it is today, they exclusively became a health business and got rid of non-pharmacy operations.

The entire chain used to be owned by Melville Corporation until 1996, when CVS health became its own company. Currently, CVS Pharmacy is the biggest chain in the industry in the United States of America, with as many as 9,932 stores recorded in 2021.


Like most pharmacies, CVS also sells commodities other than prescription drugs; you can find beauty and cosmetic products, over-the-counter drugs, film and photo finishing services, seasonal merchandise, greeting cards, and convenience foods, etc. these products are available in-stores, on their website and in Longs Dung's retail stores which are owned by CVS.

It is an interesting case to see a chain of retail stores growing into one of the biggest pharmacies in the world. This is why plotting the SWOT matrix becomes absolutely essential to understand the success of the brand. Before moving on to the analysis, you should know a bit more about the SWOT template.

SWOT is basically an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. These major factors help identify events that are essential in building or breaking down an entity being studied, which in this case happens to be a company.

Another thing to note is that these four factors are also classified into two more categories, namely internal and external factors. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors, and threats and opportunities are external ones. Using examples will help to understand this clearly.

Internal factors are all called so because they arise internally and can be moderated and even controlled by the entity. External factors, on the other hand, occur externally and cannot be controlled in any way. They can and should, however, be adapted to.

If CVS has a large number of operating stores, this is a strength and hence an internal factor for the company because they planned and worked to make this growth possible. Now think of all of the competition CVS has.

This is a threat because they have no influence over the presence or absence of competitors, thereby being an external factor. Now that you know about the SWOT in a bit more detail let’s see how the SWOT explains it.

What are the biggest strengths CVS has?

For any brand, strengths are important to find and build on because these factors make sure that the business not only survives but also thrives. In any SWOT example you come across, the strengths are always the most coveted ones. Here are some of the biggest strengths that make CVS what it is today.

Strong Supplier Network

CVS is known to have a very big and reliable supplier network. Having a strong supplier network is a strength because it helps in making sure that there is no shortage of raw materials. It is also important to have good suppliers to have superior quality.

CVS has recently expanded its suppliers' list by making it more diverse, especially for women-owned businesses. As of 2022, they carry products from over a hundred different suppliers, and they want to connect with more to bring better and custom options for people.

They have started to include more and more products from Black-owned businesses as a part of their diversity efforts.

Diverse Brand Portfolio

CVS has become a conglomerate by keeping its portfolio in a diverse state. Having multiple businesses under one umbrella helps businesses stay competitive even if one of the streams starts to suffer.

By putting its eggs in different baskets, CVS has managed to become a giant in the business world.

They have CVS Health, Goodline Grooming Co., Live Better, poparazzi, beauty360, GSQ by Glamsquad, Gold Emblem, and Gold Emblem abound, among other brands, all under the CVS family.


Technological Prowess

It is no secret that for any business to survive for so long in the market and that too in such a grand manner, technology has a vital role to play in the success.

They have a mobile application that keeps a record of prescriptions so that patients don’t have to keep wads of paper-based prescriptions that also might get lost. They also have an electronic system called ScriptSync to refill prescriptions to avoid waiting in long queues.

This application also allows for online payments for customers who find it difficult to visit the pharmacy. They also have a loyalty program for app users.

They have also decided to have a partnership with Epic software which is the most famous of its kind in the States for digitizing the maintenance of medical records.

Mergers and Acquisitions

CVS has done a very impressive job in acquiring and merging different businesses over the years. So far, they have a total of 17 companies, 7 of which were acquired in the past five years. Their biggest acquisition was back in 2017 when they got Aetna.

In 2022 they have decided to acquire Signify Health which is a company from Dallas. It is spread all across 50 American states and has over 10,000 clinicians. They have many high-profile clients, one of which happens to be Aetna.

Brand Equity

Being the biggest retailer for healthcare in the USA more than helps CVS in its success. Having a strong and well-recognized brand presence is absolutely crucial for long-term success.


What are the biggest weaknesses CVS has?

Even brands as big as CVS have their fair share of weaknesses. As long as companies can identify how to improve upon these weaknesses, they have nothing to worry about. Here are some of the weaknesses CVS should have an eye out for.

No International Presence

In the USA, CVS is a mammoth of its industry. One would expect to see a business of this caliber have an international presence, but unfortunately, CVS is nowhere to be seen.

In fact, people outside the states can’t even access their website because it is only available to residents of the country. Isolating themselves this way doesn’t do them much favor when so many markets can give them a welcoming presence.


Not every form of publicity is of the good kind. If a company becomes famous for having lawsuits against them, are they really that great? Unfortunately, CVS has plenty of lawsuits that have been filed against the company over the years.

They were sued by a couple of Blue’s insurers because, allegedly, CVS sold drugs to them at higher prices than their actual rates.

These include Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.

The city of New York also filed a lawsuit against CVS because the company allegedly violated the state antitrust law by coercing hospitals catering to low-income earning people to pay huge amounts of money to have access to medication.

Simple Business Model

Though CVS has more than adequate resources at its disposal, its business model isn’t very complicated, and it can be replicated by local and international competitors very easily.

This might make things difficult for the company in the future unless they devise a suitable solution to it.

What are some of the biggest opportunities for CVS?

Successful businesses always identify and act on the opportunities that present themselves. CVS has done that over the years. Here are some exciting opportunities the brand can look towards for the future.

International Expansion

CVS has got to focus on expanding its company to other nations. Though China is an excellent option in terms of business potential, because of the constant political rifts between the two countries, they should step into China sometime in the future.

India, on the other hand, serves as an exciting opportunity. The country has a huge population, and they have a very promising start-up and technological revolution going on. CVS can achieve a lot by venturing into India.

CSR Programs

CVS has the golden opportunity to participate in huge charities and awareness programs regarding health, especially for marginalized communities who don’t always receive the best health care.

Though CSR programs can be costly, they ultimately help in business success as well because people these days are more supportive of businesses that give back to society.

Online Healthcare

They can start e-clinics for people who don’t have access to CVS. This will also help them expand to other countries without physically moving there immediately. They can have doctors and healthcare professionals offer consultation and advice to people with medical concerns.

What are the biggest threats that loom over CVS?

CVS is a big business that seemingly is invincible. This is not true because there are threats big enough even to harm the likes of CVS if not dealt with proactively. Here are some of the important ones.


Having competitors is a universal threat to all sorts of businesses unless there is a monopoly. In the case of the health industry, there is an immense competition that keeps CVS under threat.

Some of the biggest competitors for the company include Express Scripts, Avella Specialty Pharmacy, Apollo, Walgreens, and Rite Aid.

Counterfeit Medicine

Because CVS is not available everywhere, especially in many low-income regions, they are constantly suffering because of the sale of counterfeits. Fake medicine made under horrible quality standards is extremely dangerous for health, yes, but here the discussion is about business success.

Because of the availability of cheap counterfeits, many people don’t choose CVS.

Online Retailers

During the Covid-19 pandemic, people exclusively started relying on online stores such as Amazon to get their drugs and medication. Businesses like CVS that use the traditional sales model have the threat of becoming rather irrelevant in today’s world.

They should have an online store to counter this issue, and the store should be accessible to everyone, at least in the United States.

CVS SWOT Analysis: Final Thoughts

Now that you have completely read through this analysis, you have a very good idea of how a SWOT analysis is done.

To sum up, what we have gathered about CVS, it can safely be said that CVS is a huge business with a lot of unexplored potential which serves as a double-edged sword.

If they choose to act on the potential by expanding their business, they will prosper. However, if they choose stagnancy, then CVS will probably be overshadowed by others.

The lawsuits that have been piled up against the company, however, have to be dealt with not only by solving them but by making sure there aren’t any new ones.

A healthcare company under so many lawsuits loses its credibility. After all, the pharmaceutical world is full of other options to turn to. If you would like to know more about it, you can always read about the pharmaceutical industry analysis to know about the dynamics that shape it.

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