The company has decided to shift focus to health care
CVS ended the sale of tobacco products in all of their locations in the United States on Sept. 3, one month earlier than originally planned. The company made this decision as part of a rebranding campaign to focus on being a health care promoter.
According to Forbes, removal of tobacco products from all stores is expected to cost the company around $2 billion in revenue, but CEO Larry Merlo has stated that the positive press releases resulting from the company's actions would increase the number of customers and drug prescriptions. In addition, CVS's shares have increased by around 21 percent since the tobacco announcement. CVS has estimated that this action could lead to around 65,000 fewer tobacco deaths a year.
CVS is also actively attempting to help people quit using tobacco products. Shelves which were once stocked with cigarettes now only stock nicotine gum and are decorated with anti-smoking signs. Additionally, the company has designed a personalized program to help people quit smoking. The program contains four parts: an assessment of the person's willingness to quit smoking, information and resources for quitting, medication support and motivation through coaching. "[The program] will be quite comprehensive in terms of providing services at all 7,600 of our pharmacies… and also bringing online tools to help our customers," CVS/pharmacy president Helena Foulkes said in a press release.
In February, CVS made the announcement that their stores would stop selling tobacco products by Oct. 1 as part of their mission to become better health care providers. Merlo told CBS that the company had gotten ready for the change sooner than they had anticipated, which led to them quitting just under a month earlier than planned. "As a pharmacy innovation company at the forefront of a changing health care landscape, we are delivering breakthrough products and services, from advising on prescriptions to helping manage chronic and specialty conditions," Merlo said.
As part of their rebranding campaign, the company has also changed their name from CVS Caremark to CVS Health. Stores around the US will act as walk-in clinics for services such as vaccinations and monitoring of chronic illnesses.
Arthi Vijaykumar. More »