In this paper, a discussion of law and ethics is made in regard to the decision by CVS Caremark to phase out the sale of tobacco products. CVS is a national outlet company headquartered in Woonsocket. It is the leading outlet of pharmacy and health care products in the United States. The outlet's major aim is to enhance access to care, lowering overall healthcare costs and according assistance to patients on their path to better health. The chain store has approximately 7,600 stores and more than 800 minute clinics.
CVS has been storing and selling tobacco products together with other drugs to the public. Civil society organizations and health provider groups have recently raised concerns over the practice. Anti-smoking campaigners have also put pressure on retail stores to abandon the arrangement as it encourages smoking of tobacco products. The income generated by the sales of tobacco products to CVS is estimated at $2 billion annually. The amount is substantially reasonable and would require a thorough examination before making the final decision.
There are reported alternative ways for the Pharmacy store to recoup the loss of revenue in case they pull out of the tobacco business. Numerous health care providers, such as hospitals and health care insurance companies, have shown interest to partner with CVS to provide easy access to the provision and prescription of medical care. To gain from the opportunities promised by mainstream medical care providers, CVS has decided to quit the business of tobacco
. Therefore, the company has portrayed itself as committed to the enhancement of betterment in healthcare provision. It is envisaged that decent partnerships with other players would cover any losses occasioned by failure in the tobacco trade.
Various ethical and corporate responsibility issues are involved in the activities or decisions of CVS. In the mission statement, the chain store indicates that one of its primary objectives is to help patients improve health and aid in their path towards better health. The statement points to a very noble cause: to help society improve on their health. The practice of storing and selling health care products, such as drugs, augurs well for the welfare of society. Patients are able to access medication easily for their use. A healthy population promises prosperity.
On the other hand, CVS is said to store and sell the products of tobacco, including cigarettes. The harmful effects of the products of tobacco are disastrous for the health of users. They cause stroke and cancer among other ailments. The suffering caused to patients of such ailments is dire. Funds are required for medication. Patients would not be able to undertake their duties or constructive tasks effectively for the creation of wealth. Addiction to tobacco products has also harmful consequences. It becomes a challenge to quit smoking.
In its mission statement, CVS proclaims access to health care and patient assistance in improving their health. The management of the stores is to be aware of or reasonably foresee the effects of tobacco smoking. It is ironic that CVS engages in activities that promote actions against what the company states as its objective. Ethics would require the stores to be involved in affairs that promote better health care. It is commendable that the company has decided to phase out tobacco products.
There are various stakeholders in the tobacco business. Companies or individuals who plant, process, and manufacture tobacco products are the main stakeholders. Their interest in trade is for commercial purposes. They aim at a profit or return. Stakeholders would pray for a better demand for their products in the market so that they could have a steady income. The decision to phase out tobacco products would adversely impact on the growers and processors of the plant
CVS is another stakeholder. The company was an agent in the chain of production and trade. It is reported that its annual revenue from tobacco products is $2 billion. It is a substantial income in business. The decision will undoubtedly harm CVS. It will lose a similar amount in the near future due to the withdrawal of the service. The loss may be greater than what is reported. The reason is that the users of tobacco products may completely shun the stores.
The clients of tobacco stores are the last set of stakeholders. They have collected their favorite products from CVS. Now, they will be forced to relocate to other shops where the necessary products are sold. The decision has an effect of causing inconvenience to users. They will be required to travel long distances or get used to new providers or sellers. Some may be forced to quit smoking altogether. It is to this group of tobacco consumers that CVS owed the most. In fact, the consumption of tobacco products has harmful effects on the health of users. Thus, the decision to stop the storage and sale of products can only serve to benefit smokers. If they follow suit and quit smoking tobacco products, their health and productivity would improve.
The practice or habit of storing and selling medical products and tobacco products from one store and by one enterprise was wrong. To indicate the company's objectives and take part in activities contrary to the said objectives is a misrepresentation of facts to the public. It would be misleading to purport to promote the enhancement of better healthcare while engaging in activities that compromise the attainment of good health. The concerted efforts of anti-smoking campaigners and health care providers yielded much-needed pressure to compel the stores to phase out tobacco products from their shelves.
The decision to quit the trade is appropriate and in line with what the company offers. It is expected that numerous opportunities will occur way once it phases out tobacco products. New partnerships with hospitals and health care insurance providers would be a step towards the enhancement of healthcare. It is the right and ethical decision. CVS has also got plans to engage in campaigns that encourage the cessation of smoking and promote better health care. These practices are expected by the stores in light of the challenges faced by the society.
The government has a role to protect its citizens. Various ways are available to the government to perform its duty. Smoking of cigarettes and the use of other tobacco products harm the health of users. The government spends huge amounts of money to fight and cure ailments, such as cancer, caused by the use of tobacco products. Proper legislation should guide the use of tobacco products. Companies involved in the production and sale of such products should be compelled to provide information on the harmful effects of consumption of the products explicitly. Hence, consumers would be informed before they make the final decision.
The government has not done enough to protect its citizens against the consumption of the harmful substance. Approximately 42% of the American population were smokers in 1962. Currently, the smokers rate is at 16% of the population. Noting significant reduction, the current percentage is still too high and worrying, given the effects of smoking on the economy. More stringent laws are required to curb the use of tobacco products.
The research has shown that tobacco products have harmful effects on everyone. The decision taken by CVS is a bold and wise one. The company should be supported for the worth of the path it has taken. Partnerships that promote awareness of the effects of smoking and help those addicted to it would be appropriate. President Obama noted, The route that has been taken by CVS will go a long way in reducing tobacco related deaths, cancer and heart diseases.The government should develop legislation that ensures the welfare of the society is guaranteed. Leaders should also take part in sensitizing the public to lifestyles that have harmful effects on their health and the economy. Where a culture of healthy lifestyle is promoted, the populace would be informed of the need to maintain appropriate living standards.
Future leaders and other players in the industry have a lot to learn. CVS has provided leadership in the face of the controversy surrounding the whole story. The amount to be lost by the stores is huge. However, as it has been noted above, the Pharmacy store would stand to benefit from other deals with health care providers. The new arrangements are lauded as worth much more than the loss of tobacco income. It is also worth noting to leaders and industry players that it is always appropriate and reasonable to engage in ethical practices than commercially beneficial arrangements that compromise on the health and welfare of society. Common good should prevail in any organization' operation. Commercial incentives should not override the well-being of society.