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.
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…”
…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 to CVS. A little more time and effort is worth it.