Staffed by a pharmacist, nurse and receptionist, each center will contain a lab, meeting rooms and offices. The facilities will offer testing for cholesterol and blood glucose levels and help manage chronic diseases such as congestive heart failure, asthma and diabetes.
The centers will provide care plans and between-physician office visits, then inform the patient's primary care physician of progress.
Harvard Pilgrim, which has a year exclusivity as a managed care provider, will offer Health Connection services free to its 1.2 million members in New England.
Sue Coleman, president of NCI Consulting, said the CVS effort is "consistent with the trend within retail pharmacy to get into a service role. The industry is so competitive with consolidation and price pressure from managed care."
Up to six stores are planned within the next year in the mid-Atlantic region, said Peter Brandt, VP-Pfizer Health Solutions, a subsidiary of Pfizer. One is already open in New Bedford, Mass.
CVS, which recently acquired Revco drugstores, has 4,000 outlets in 24 states.
Though Pfizer's brand does not appear in signage at the center, its name appears on materials available there. Pfizer's logo also runs in local CVS newspaper ads promoting the Health Connection.
No exclusivity is planned on use of Pfizer products, the company said.
"It's not an advertising vehicle-the goal is different from selling Pfizer pharmaceuticals," said Mr. Brandt. "We want it to be very community based."
Ms. Coleman said Pfizer will probably collect data on disease management, an area of interest to drug companies.