In the News

Shannon Brownlee: CVS clinics hurt America’s health care

September 17, 2014
By Shannon Brownlee

You know there’s a lot of money to be made in health care when a company voluntarily gives up peddling cigarettes — a $2-billion product line — to better market itself as a health-care-focused company. This month, all 7,700 CVS drugstores removed tobacco products from their shelves, and the company announced it was changing its name to CVS Health. Like Walmart and several other retailers, CVS is hoping to cash in on “retail medicine.”

Urgent care clinics, the “doc in a box” where people can bring their sore throats or get a flu vaccine, have been around for decades. Now, there’s a market for the millions of people who are newly insured under the Affordable Care Act. CVS will continue staffing its Minute Clinics with nurse practitioners, but other retail medicine outfits, like Walmart, are putting together clinics staffed by physicians. Either way, for-profit retail clinics are a bad sign to anyone who understands the special role of primary care in providing good health care to a very sick nation.

You know there’s a lot of money to be made in health care when a company voluntarily gives up peddling cigarettes — a $2-billion product line — to better market itself as a health-care-focused company. This month, all 7,700 CVS drugstores removed tobacco products from their shelves, and the company announced it was changing its name to CVS Health. Like Walmart and several other retailers, CVS is hoping to cash in on “retail medicine.”

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