February 5, 2014 |
CVS Caremark Corp.'s imminent exit from the cigarette and tobacco business - an unprecedented move for a major pharmacy company - is being cheered by many medical professionals and lawmakers as a triumph of corporate responsibility over the bottom line. But industry experts say the strategy shift is less an altruistic endeavor than a savvy marketing ploy from a drugstore giant trying to promote itself as a retail health hub in an age of increasingly self-serve healthcare. "It's smart business on CVS' part," said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia, a state steeped in tobacco history.
February 5, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - CVS Caremark, the nation's second-largest drugstore chain, plans to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 retail stores by Oct. 1, a landmark decision that would make it the first national pharmacy company to cease tobacco sales. The move, which the company announced Wednesday, comes after years of pressure from public health advocates and medical providers, who have urged retailers to make tobacco products and advertising less available, particularly to children and teenagers.
September 12, 2013 |
CVS Caremark insists that it's just complying with federal law by informing customers that their medical information could be "redisclosed" if they sign up for the company's prescription-drug reward program. Privacy experts, though, question whether CVS is complying with state law. "California's privacy law is stricter than federal law," said Charles Googooian, a La Canada Flintridge lawyer who specializes in medical-privacy issues. "It doesn't seem like CVS is complying with either the spirit or the letter of state law. " CVS has been scrambling to defend its ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards program since I recently reported that customers are being required to give up important federal privacy safeguards in return for up to $50 a year in store credits.
August 15, 2013 |
Since February, CVS Caremark has been pushing its pharmacists to enroll customers in a prescription-drug rewards program. The benefit to customers is the opportunity to earn up to $50 a year in store credits that can be used to buy shampoo, toothpaste or other products. The benefit to CVS is persuading pharmacy customers, through questionable means, to give up federal privacy safeguards for their medical information and permitting the company to share people's drug purchases with others.
July 25, 2013 |
"Good news - you've been accepted!" the letter says. "Get up to 75% off when you use these free cards at your favorite pharmacy!" Enclosed are two plastic cards from National Prescription Savings Network that include personal "member identification numbers" and the pledge that "you will not be turned down for a pre-existing condition. " The cards are "pre-activated and ready to use immediately," the letter says. "They entitle you - and every member of your family - to discounts on every FDA-approved prescription medication sold at pharmacies everywhere in the United States.
July 22, 2013 |
Susan Segal normally spends about $30 for a three-month supply of a thyroid medication from CVS Caremark's mail-order pharmacy. Recently, though, CVS sent her a different thyroid drug, which cost $23 more - a 77% increase. Segal, 56, called to complain. A CVS service rep told the Irvine resident that the pharmacy wasn't trying to pull a fast one. Have a consumer question? Ask Laz The rep explained that Segal's usual med, Levoxyl, couldn't be obtained, so CVS called her doctor and received permission to send her a similar drug, Synthroid, instead.