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    CVS to stop selling tobacco products in October

    The first major pharmacy chain in the United States to ban nicotine

    CVS Caremark has decided to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at all of its CVS pharmacies nationwide by October 1, 2014, which makes the company the first major pharmacy chain in the United States to do so.

    CVS Caremark’s decision to exit the tobacco category is based on its role in the evolving healthcare marketplace, said Larry J. Merlo, CVS Caremark’s president and CEO.  With more than 7,600 CVS pharmacies and 800 MinuteClinics nationwide, CVS Caremark is focused on its expanded role in providing healthcare.

    “Tobacco products have no place in a setting where healthcare is being delivered,” explained Merlo, during a February 5 media call.

    “The significant action we’re taking today by removing tobacco products from our retail shelves further distinguishes us in how we are serving our patients, clients, and healthcare providers and better positions us for continued growth,” he said.

    Troy A. Brennan, MD, MPH, CVS Caremark’s chief medical officer, said he believes that stopping the sale of tobacco will make a significant difference in the lives of patients by reducing the chronic illnesses associated with its use, such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes.

    “Our company’s mission is to help our customers lead tobacco-free lives,” Brennan said during the media call. “Our action alone won’t have a significant impact, but by setting an example for others there may be the possibility of reduced availability of tobacco products. We do think this could have a real public health impact.”

    Julia Talsma, Content Channel Director
    Julia Talsma is lead editor for Drug Topics magazine.


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    • Anonymous
      One wonders if this isn't atonement for the company's very recent citations for billing fraud and failure to counsel patients. Praise for this action should probably be reserved when it's demonstrated that this company is truly capable of cleaning up its act. It was hilarious to read the kudos they got from the White House knowing that just last year they were settling cases involving the defrauding of Federal programs. Maybe I'd feel better if they stopped selling liquor and candy too.
    • BobKatz
      Kudos to CVS. Hope the other chains follow the example of CVS. I often wondered how you could promote good health by selling unhealthy products
    • BarryBrewer
      This is all fine and good, but Shopko stores stopped selling tobacco procducts 7 or 8 years ago. They are only regional however, North Central US, so no press coverage.