The nation’s second-largest drugstore chain took a stand last week: By October, it will no longer sell tobacco products at its 7,600 stores.
To that, we say good for you, CVS, even if you are being inconsistent in your message.
CVS’ Caremark unit is a major pharmacy benefits manager for businesses and the U.S. government’s Medicare program. As such, it has become a major health-care business, trailing only Walgreen Co. as the largest pharmacy chain in the country.
CVS made a “bold, precedent-setting move,” said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, the chief executive officer of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “because it acknowledges that pharmacies have become health-care settings.”
Analysts believe CVS’ decision could convince Walgreen Co., Rite Aid Corp. — the third-largest pharmacy chain — and other pharmacies throughout the country to make a similar move to help eliminate smoking in the United States.
Piggybacking the decision to halt tobacco sales, CVS executives said the company would replace some of the lost sales through smoking cessation programs.
It’s hard to argue with CVS’ decision, as any move to improve public health has to be seen as positive. But it’s a little hypocritical, don’t you think?
If the reason why CVS will stop selling tobacco is because it believes it is a “health-care setting,” then shouldn’t it stop selling other unhealthy items such as greasy potato chips, sugary soft drinks and other processed foods as well? Does this country also not have an obesity problem?
One step at a time, you say? That makes sense. Smoking first; obesity second. Sounds like a plan.
In all seriousness, good for CVS. Good for taking a stand that, even if it might improve the bottom line in the long run, will surely hurt it in the short term.
Other pharmacies should follow suit. “Health-care settings” should promote healthy living.