CVS Caremark Corp. has decided to change its name to CVS Health, repositioning itself as a leader in healthcare innovation through its various services, including 7,700 community pharmacies, 900 walk-in medical clinics, pharmacy benefit management of approximately 65 million plan members, and specialty pharmacy services.
More than 100 million people take advantage of CVS Health’s various programs annually, which help patients with chronic disease and connects them with pharmacists for better medication adherence. CVS Health has also forged alliances with doctors and health plans through its pharmacies and medical clinics to provide clinical services, medication counseling, chronic disease monitoring, and wellness programs for its members, according to a company statement.
In addition to the name change, CVS Health stopped all tobacco sales at its pharmacies, about one month earlier than previously stated.
“Along with the start of CVS Health, the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy ends today [September 3],” said President and CEO Larry J. Merlo in a prepared statement. “By eliminating cigarettes and tobacco products from sale in our stores, we can make a difference in the health of all Americans.”
Sylvia Burwell, Health and Human Services secretary, commended CVS Health for ending tobacco sales one month ahead of the company’s original deadline of October 1.
“CVS Health’s tobacco free policy is an unprecedented step in the retail industry, and will have an impact in bringing our country closer to achieving a tobacco-free generation, a call to action that we announced in January,” Burwell said in a news release. “We hope others will follow CVS Health’s lead in this important new step to curtail tobacco use.”
HHS also congratulated CVS Health on its national smoking cessation program, which has four critical components: an assessment to determine the smoker’s readiness to quit, education and tools to help smokers quit, medication support to reduce the desire for tobacco products, and coaching services to prevent relapses.
By removing the sale of tobacco products from pharmacies in two major cities—Boston and San Francisco, CVS Health has shown in a new study that tobacco purchases declined by 13%.
CVS Health is supporting the HHS social media campaign, #OneGoodReason, to be tobacco free. Hopefully, former smokers will be able to join the conversation to promote a tobacco-free environment.