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CVS Caremark Says No More Tobacco, Sets October 1 Target Date

(photo courtesy CVS/Caremark)

(photo courtesy CVS/Caremark)

Woonsocket – In a bold move, the president and ceo of CVS Caremark, announced today that the national pharmacy chain will stop selling tobacco products at its more than 7,600 CVS pharmacy stores in support of “the health and well-being of its patients and customers.”

Larry J. Merlo, CEO, in a press release on Wednesday morning said that,

“Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health,” said Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Caremark. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

Loss of sales not expected to impact profits

Company estimates at loss margin due to the decrease is approximately $2 billion, or 17 cents per share. According to the release, the decision to exit the tobacco category does not affect the company’s 2014 segment operating profit guidance or projected profit guidance, with offsets identified.

Focusing on preventative care efforts within the healthcare community, Merlo said, “”As the delivery of health care evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, CVS Caremark is playing an expanded role in providing care through our pharmacists and nurse practitioners. 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 health care providers and better positions us for continued growth in the evolving health care marketplace.”

Prevention and cessation program planned

Aligning the position of the company with that of  the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and American Pharmacists Association, CVS Caremark also announced its plans for a national prevention and cessation program.

“CVS Caremark is continually looking for ways to promote health and reduce the burden of disease,” said CVS Caremark Chief Medical Officer Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H. in the release.  “Stopping the sale of cigarettes and tobacco will make a significant difference in reducing the chronic illnesses associated with tobacco use.”

The program, to be launched this Spring, is expected to include information and treatment on smoking cessation at CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations. Online resources are planned. The program is said to provide comprehensive programs for CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management plan members to help them to quit smoking.

“Every day, all across the country, customers and patients place their trust in our 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners to serve their health care needs,” commented Helena B. Foulkes, President, CVS/pharmacy. “Removing tobacco products from our stores is an important step in helping Americans to quit smoking and get healthy.”

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