CVS’ new Twitter avatar – debuted this morning
CVS Caremark, the nation’s second-largest drugstore chain, plans to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 retail stores by Oct. 1, a landmark decision that would make it the first national pharmacy company to cease tobacco sales.
The move, which the company announced Wednesday, comes after years of pressure from public health advocates and medical providers, who have urged retailers to make tobacco products and advertising less available, particularly to children and teenagers.
It also marks a major turn for one of the country’s biggest healthcare companies, which said it is giving up about $2 billion in annual sales, or about 1.6% of the company’s 2012 revenues.
CVS, which is second only to Walgreen Co. in retail locations, has been steadily increasing its business providing medical care through its pharmacists and a growing number of urgent care clinics at its retail locations.
“As the delivery of healthcare evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, CVS Caremark is playing an expanded role in providing care,” Larry J. Merlo, the president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose…”
Public health advocates hailed the CVS decision, expressing optimism that it could catalyze new efforts to curb tobacco use…
No major retailer has taken steps to limit tobacco sales since Target announced in 1996 that it would stop selling tobacco products.
And though pressure on pharmacies has been growing, Walgreen went to court to try to stop San Francisco from imposing a ban on tobacco sales in pharmacies. The challenge was dismissed by a federal court. Boston has enacted a similar ban…
Walgreen’s is one of the pharmacies currently listed as a resource for my one prescription covered by Medicare. I’m reasonably unmedicated for an old fart. The reason for using Walgreen’s is simple. It is the nearest pharmacy to my home. I will now change that.
Today, I will find the nearest CVS Caremark and have my insurance coverage changed to make that pharmacy my prime source. My mother, my father, my sister – all died from cigarette-related illness. I was lucky and quit smoking 54 years ago. They didn’t quit until it was too late.
Now that I have a choice to change pharmacies and still maintain the insured cost for that one prescription, it’s worth the extra time and effort to go elsewhere.