Two organizations opposed to tobacco sales at pharmacy chains are turning their attention to Walgreens’ annual shareholder meeting on January 26.
Starting January 6, Truth Initiative and DoSomething.org is asking youth to sign a petition telling Walgreens that tobacco doesn’t belong on its shelves. “The Walgreens Board of Directors went to great lengths – twice – to block a vote from their agenda that would have been a step toward taking tobacco off Walgreens’ shelves,” Truth Initiative said in a statement to Drug Topics.
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Plus, shareholders of Walgreens Boots Alliance and members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility want Walgreens to discuss taking tobacco products off their shelves at the annual meeting.
However, Phil Caruso, a spokesperson for Walgreens, told Drug Topics that the subject is not scheduled to be discussed at the meeting. “We firmly believe that the most effective step retail pharmacies can take to help smokers quit is to address the root causes of smoking, which go far beyond the small percentage of smokers who access this product at pharmacies.”
Caruso said Walgreens offers smokers a number of solutions to “help them change behavior and quit smoking… A year ago, we began offering telemedicine consultations for smoking cessation with board-certified physicians through our program with MDLive, and we also began a pilot program to offer personal, face-to-face smoking cessation consultations with nurse practitioners at select Healthcare Clinics located inside Walgreens stores.”
In addition, the retailer’s Balance Rewards for healthy choices program offers smoking cessation content and tools on Walgreens.com, individual support through the Walgreens online Pharmacy Chat and tools to enable participants to track their progress toward smoking cessation while earning Balance Rewards points as an incentive.