CVS’s Business Decision to Quit Tobacco

CVS’s parent company; CVS Caremark has made a milestone decision to remove all cigarettes and tobacco products from their 7,600 stores by October 1st. Larry Melow, the chief executive officer for CVS Caremark has admitted that this will cost the company’s bottom line $2 billion dollars in revenue.

Although most business would cringe at this fact, Troyen Brennan, the chief medical officer for CVS and former Harvard professor of medicine stated that this move will provide the company a competitive advantage that will lead to more credibility when working with physicians and hospitals.

CVS Caremark has stated that this decision was made as a result of their 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners helping millions of patients with conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes on a regular basis. All of the conditions mentioned are exacerbated by smoking. In addition, CVS is often asked by physicians and nurses why they continue to sell tobacco products as they have the belief you are either all in for healthcare, or you are not. CVS wants to prove that they are all in for its consumers’ health.

While CVS has received high praise from the American Cancer Society and the American Medical Association, it has left other CEOs and medical professionals questioning if the patient’s health or a new bottom line is the real motivation.

According to the CDC, obesity has replaced smoking as the number one killer across the United States. This dangerous epidemic leads to heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol as well as a host of other issues, all of which pharmacists and nurse practitioners help patients with on a daily basis. That being said, CVS has not made any announcements regarding removing their aisles dedicated to chips, cookies and candy. Is this business really all in for patients or themselves?