WOONSOCKET, R.I. — The largest drugstore chain in the country is taking steps to discontinue sales of products it now considers to be at odds with its healthcare mission.
In addition to cigarettes, CVS/Caremark announced that it will stop selling candy bars, energy drinks, and “worthless” vitamin supplements by October.
“This is a great example of how we’re evolving from a retail company to a health care company,” said Helena Foulkes, CVS’s executive vice president.
The decision to give up an estimated $2 billion in tobacco sales alone was “not easy,” according to Foulkes, “but after we made that hard decision, we figured why stop there? So we inventoried the rest of the store and identified all of the other unhealthy crap and unproven supplements that do nothing to benefit the welfare of Americans.”
In 1996, the Cigarette Value Store officially changed its trade name to CVS Corporation as it shed its non-pharmacy stores and tried to freshen its image.
“Still,” noted long-time CVS pharmacist Philip Len, “we regularly turned a blind eye to the reality that many of our customers were supporting unhealthy lifestyles with our products.”
The company was ordered to pay over $77 million in 2010 after running afoul of the Controlled Substances Act for the illegal sale of an ingredient used to make methamphetamine. More insidious problems remain, with the rate of decline in smoking leveling off and obesity continuing to grow.
“Get rid of the candy! Toss the energy drinks!” one store manager told his overworked employees in Spokane as they guzzled down the surplus 5-hour Energy to keep up the frantic pace of the clear out.
Not even vitamins are safe from the purge at CVS. While billions are spent on supplements every year, medical professionals have recently become far more vocal in their position that vitamin and mineral pills offer nothing but a “waste of money” to healthy individuals and may even prove harmful.
By October 1, thousands of feet of shelf space will be freed and made available for “a range of wholesome products consumers have come to expect from CVS, like prune juice, high-fiber cereals, and insanely overpriced Brita water filters,” claimed Foulkes.
“We’ll more than make up for the loss in sales by continuing to lead the pack in unreasonably marking up the prices of all non-store-branded products,” she said.