Company took too long to stop selling tobacco

March 3, 2014 at 5:04 p.m.
Updated March 2, 2014 at 9:03 p.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

As an independent pharmacy owner, it concerns me that our media and president find it newsworthy to praise one of the largest pharmacies in America, CVS, for making the decision to phase out tobacco from their pharmacies. Remember, one of the largest health care managers, Caremark, owns CVS pharmacy. So how disappointing is it that it took decades for them to realize the harmful effects of tobacco use for their customers?

Independent pharmacies have always chosen not to sell tobacco products. Now that's newsworthy, given independent pharmacies as a whole still fill the majority of prescriptions in America. How about a little praise for the pharmacies that have been health conscious about reducing tobacco-related deaths, cancer and heart disease as well as bringing down health care costs for years?

Instead, our efforts are rewarded with reduced reimbursements and more regulations and paperwork.

Shame on CVS for taking decades to take a stand for health. Shame on CVS for being concerned about the $2 billion in revenue they will lose. And shame on them for taking eight months to phase tobacco products out of their pharmacies. Why not just pull the products from their shelves this week? Why does CVS express the desire to be seen as a health care provider but take eight months to stop selling tobacco? Will it affect their bottom line too quickly? Do they want us to forget that they have capitalized on the harmful effects of tobacco-induced health issues for years every time they fill a prescription?

Walgreens has decided to continue evaluating the products their customers want, and we haven't heard from Wal-Mart. It will be interesting to see how much lost revenue dictates the moral character of these pharmacies.

The extraordinary pharmacy helps solve your problems, offers their expertise and cares about your family. Find the closest independent pharmacy to you and build a relationship with them where your health will always be important.

Paula Grahmann, Yoakum



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