Drugstores’ slippery slope

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

2 thoughts on “Drugstores’ slippery slope”

  1. Great post David. Also, many pharmacies still put the “baby” aspirin, in the baby products section. This might seem logical, but because of Reye’s syndrome, children (and babies) shouldn’t be given aspirin at all. (The use of aspirin in kids has been replaced Tylenol and ibuprofen.) So-called “baby” aspirin (81 mg/pill) is now used mostly for adults as a preventative treatment related to cardiovascular risks. So why do pharmacies still put it on the shelf next to appropriate OTC pain medicines for children? This is really a public health risk – next time your in a pharmacy check it out. And if you see baby aspirin where it shouldn’t be, then talk to the store manager and the pharmacist on duty….. OK – I’ll get off my soap box now.

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