In the words of Joe Biden … this is a big fucking deal.
CVS Pharmacies, the second biggest drug store chain in the country, will no longer sell any tobacco products in its 7,600 stores across the country. This means CVS will lose $2 billion a year in sales revenues … 1.6 percent of its total revenues every year. That’s a serious decision to just walk away from $2 billion a year retail.
Larry J. Merlo, the president and chief executive officer of CVS Caremark, said “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,” He added. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”
From the L.A. Times:
Making cigarettes available in pharmacies in essence ‘renormalizes’ the product by sending the subtle message that it cannot be all that unhealthy if it is available for purchase where medicines are sold,” the company’s chief medical officer, Dr. Troyen Brennan, wrote in a new article in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. The article is co-authored by Dr. Steven Schroeder, director of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at UC San Francisco.
Walgreens is the largest drug store chain in the country. In response to the CVS decision, Walgreens issued a statement saying it is “reviewing” tobacco sales at its stores.
It is pretty bizarre that a drug store would be selling cigarettes, when that drug store is selling probably all kinds of drugs and treatments for COPD and various cancers caused by cigarette smoking.
A great move that I applaud.