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Editorial: A bold and ethical move by CVS

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Posted: Saturday, February 8, 2014 12:00 am

American businesses don’t often put customer’s health before profits.

So you have to admire CVS Pharmacy’s announcement this week that it will stop selling tobacco by October.

Nationally, the big retailer expects to lose about $2 billion in sales — 1.6 percent of 2012 revenue.

All national drugstore chains are adapting to new realities in American medicine. They hope to expand their business by offering more health services — immunizing against flu, managing high blood pressure and treating minor maladies like sinus infection.

It’s a bit embarrassing to hold yourself out as a health care provider on Aisle One and profit from sales of a leading cause of cancer on Aisle Two.

Still, cutting out tobacco sales is remarkable moral leadership when you consider that smokers suffer an addiction — most will buy elsewhere rather than quit. And if they go to a competitor, CVS’ ethics may hurt its standing with stockholders.

It’s worth remembering this bold gamble next time you fill a prescription, go for a flu shot or are just buying a birthday card.

Perhaps that will help CVS’ competitors to consider ethics as part of the business of medicine and follow the CVS lead.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Ted Lauchland posted at 12:56 pm on Thu, Mar 6, 2014.

    Ted Lauchland Posts: 261

    Don't know - depends on what is trending today which is now even more instantaneous than ever before! Wine is food - alcohol is ---------alcohol. There are health benefits to it that is rarely talked about. What I want to know is which isle is the Marijuana going to be on. It will enhance my desire to eat food which will ruin my diet and my sense of sarcasm. Ding - there goes another freedom.

    Don't worry about it. Smoke shops will pick up the slack and make money on it until the government squeezes a little harder to pop them too. My dad smoked - he died early for more than just that. I wouldn't have tried to take it away from him for he had his own reasons . Glad my son stopped - for the same reasons. You can be addicted to just about anything. It's more in your personality than anything else. The question will still remain as to why you do it.

    Don't eat, drink or breathe - they will kill you. Don't forget to live happy - we can all do that. - What ever.

  • David Diskin posted at 5:45 pm on Wed, Feb 12, 2014.

    David Diskin Posts: 185

    I'd be thrilled if their next step is to remove the homeopathy aisle.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 2:14 pm on Sun, Feb 9, 2014.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2108

    Does this mean their junk food will go next? Or their alcohol?

    Not objecting to the move, just pointing out that once you start eliminating one product line for health reasons, then where des it stop?


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