When the debate was raging in Massachusetts about whether to allow MinuteClinics in drug stores I heard some Massachusetts doctors talking about a clever plan to put CVS and its ilk on the defensive: institute a rule barring health care providers from selling tobacco products. Boston Mayor Menino picked up the idea, and based on today’s Wall Street Journal Health Blog post it sounds as though the idea has some resonance.
I don’t like the protectionist angle that would keep drug stores from opening clinics, but the idea of restricting cigarette availability isn’t a bad one. As Health Blog reports, CVS hasn’t ruled out getting rid of cigarettes. On the other hand, it’s a slippery slope.
Drug stores sell a lot of dangerous (or at least unhealthy) products including junk food, soft drinks, herbal medications, insecticides, children’s toys with phthalates, magazines advocating dangerous behaviors, and even prescription drugs with questionable safety profiles. Not in Massachusetts, but elsewhere, drugstores sell alcohol.
If I were a drugstore chain I wouldn’t give in too quickly to product category bans.July 29, 2008