CVS Becomes “Healthy” – Ends Tobacco Sales
CVS announced that it changed its corporate name from CVS Caremark to CVS Health. The nation’s second-largest drugstore chain wanted the new name to reflect the company’s broader commitment to health care. On the same day the company announced the end of tobacco sales, nearly a month sooner than planned.
CVS and other drugstores have focused more on customer health care in recent years. This is in part to serve the aging Baby Boomers and the millions of uninsured people who are expected to gain coverage under Obamacare. Top drug retailers have built hundreds of walk-in clinics in their stores and have steadily expanded the services they provide. Drugstores now offer vaccinations and flu shots, and their clinics can help monitor chronic illnesses like high blood pressure or diabetes. CVS could no longer sell tobacco in a setting where health care is delivered, and the presence of that product was hard to justify when it tried teaming up with hospital groups and doctors.
The signs on its roughly 7,700 CVS drugstores won’t change, so the changes may not immediately register with shoppers. However, those customers will see a big change when they check out. The cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco that used to fill the shelves behind store cash registers have been replaced with nicotine gum and other products that help people kick the tobacco habit.
CVS Health announced this week it has hired an executive for a newly created position that will focus on identifying and expanding new opportunities as the company plays an increasingly prominent role in the evolving health care system. Mary Langowski was named Exec VP Strategy, Policy and Market Development, effective October 14. She will also lead the company’s government affairs and policy development teams providing counsel to help navigate the policies, regulations and market trends that today’s health care companies face.