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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

CVS Fight Against Tobacco

If you happened to venture into a CVS pharmacy this fall, you may have noticed that something was missing at the checkout counter - cigarettes. In September, CVS stopped selling tobacco products, much to the dismay of many long time customers. CVS has taken their efforts one step further, now the company is pressuring other pharmacies to follow their lead, according to The Washington Post.

New rules issued by Caremark, the pharmacy benefits management arm of CVS, will require some customers to pay a $15 co-payment on prescriptions filled at non-CVS pharmacies that sell tobacco products. The new rules will have a two-fold effect, it will encourage customers to fill their prescriptions at CVS pharmacies and put a financial squeeze on other pharmacies in the Caremark network to stop selling tobacco products, according to the report.

“For clients who choose a tobacco-free network, plan members would be provided with a full list of participating pharmacies in advance of any network change,” CVS spokeswoman Carolyn Castel told the newspaper. “A tobacco-free network would include CVS/pharmacy and Target nationally as well as other local or regional pharmacies including numerous independent pharmacies that do not sell tobacco products.”

An unrestricted grant from CVS funded a study which found that 6 percent of customers that filled an asthma or COPD medicine, also made at least one cigarette purchase within the same week. The findings indicated that 5.1 percent of people taking high blood pressure medicines purchased tobacco products and 4.8 percent of those buying oral contraceptives.

The Caremark network includes more than 54,000 pharmacies; more than 20,000 of those are independent pharmacies.

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