cvs-pharmacyLast week, CVS was selling cigarettes.

This week, not only have they stopped selling cigarettes, but they want you to think of them as a health care provider and go to one of their 900 new in-store clinics for all your primary care medical needs.


“We’ve stopped selling cigarettes,” isn’t the best reason to replace your doctor with your corner pharmacy.

How aggressive will these stores become in pushing their medical services? When I go to CVS or Walgreens, I often ask someone in the store a question if I’m looking for an over-the-counter medication. Will “Try this one” be replaced with “Maybe you should see our doctor first”?

Of course, CVS isn’t looking to replace your doctor. They’re looking to pick up business from the doc-in-the-box quick care medical clinics and from the millions of newly insured. They also looking to pick up some cash business from those who still don’t have insurance.

But “We stopped selling cigarettes last week” just shouldn’t instill confidence in their long-term medical experience. In fact, it says, “Practicing medicine since right after Labor Day.” Perfect — if you’re looking for someone who has days of medical experience.

So far, the new “CVS Health” (as the company has renamed itself) ad campaign reminds me that there are two Walgreens in the neighborhood. At least all their cashiers are trained to ask is, “Can I get you a flu shot with that?”