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US pharmacy chain quits tobacco
CVS Caremark is the first national pharmacy chain in the US to commit to ending the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Pharmacy chains in America are different from most across Europe, commonly serving as a hybrid convenience store and drugstore. But as pharmacy chains such as CVS are increasingly positioning themselves as a healthcare destination by introducing services such as on-site counselling and treatments, the sale of cigarettes is increasingly at odds with their mission. “Tobacco products have no place in a setting where care is delivered,” says CVS chief executive Larry Merlo.
The move is precedent-setting in the US, made all the more clear by the president’s public statement of support. “As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example, and decision will help advance my administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer and heart disease, as well as bring down healthcare costs – ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come,” says Barack Obama.
While the company anticipates it will lose about $2bn a year in revenue as a result of quitting tobacco, CVS has identified...