Except it wasn't a typo. Yes, I once made a joke about the company getting into a new scandal every month that turned out not to be a joke because they seriously do seem to get busted for something with every turn of the calendar page.
And yes, the second most visited page in the history of my little blog garden is that in which I gave space to a CVS employee who opens up on the company with both barrels. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I've never....seen anything....like the hatred CVS employees seem to have for their corporate master.
But I meant it when I just said I am in awe of them this night. They may have just made the move from evil to evil genius.
Let's back up a bit and remember the last time the company made national headlines, getting even the President of The United States to notice they were no longer going to sell tobacco in their stores. Speculation ran rampant as to the motivations of such a move, which was estimated to cost them $2 billion in annual sales. "Well, tobacco is a no growth category" the conventional wisdom went, "they evidently feel the good publicity will be worth whatever loss in revenue will occur, and it probably will help their Minute Care clinics pick up a contract or two. "
Oh how you underestimated these guys mainstream business pundits. It's more than just a contract or two at stake here.
For those of you playing along at home who don't follow the prescription processing industry, I'll mention here that CVS also owns Caremark, the second largest prescription benefit manager in the country.
Now hold onto your seats, because here it comes, via The Wall Street Journal's Pharmalot blog:
Caremark... will soon require some customers to make an extra co-payment, in some cases up to $15, on any prescription that is filled at a pharmacy selling cigarettes and other tobacco products
...and in one fell swoop my friends, CVS can potentially cripple it's two main rivals though the 1 in 4 Americans whose prescriptions are managed by Caremark. Absolutely fucking brilliant. "We'll be agnostic [about] where the consumer fills their prescription," said CVS CEO Tom Ryan when the merger with Caremark was under regulatory review. " Well, it looks like they just found religion.
And I'm just....not sure how I feel about this. Other than being awed by the evil brilliance of the plan. I mean, there's no way you can say this isn't using the power of oligopoly to deliver Walgreens and Rite Aid a kick to the nuts, but ...if I were in a position to do it, I'd be more than happy to crush either one of those company's testicles. And you know, tobacco in pharmacies IS stupid. It was a burr up my ass every day I worked for Rite Aid and had to stare at the cigarettes on the other side of the store while selling people asthma meds. I even once wrote my State Representative and Senator, who was on the health committee at the time, making a case for the California pharmacy board to deny a license to any location that sold tobacco. Never heard back from the Representative. Got a letter full of nothing from the Senator.
Yet here we have a brutal bastard vs bastard vs bastard free market business free for all accomplishing what impotent government officials gave nothing but lip service to. The other "Big Two" are gonna either give up tobacco or lose a shitload of prescriptions.
Which... is exactly what should happen. I guess the free market wins this round, said the pinko pharmacist who never did sell tobacco in his store.