Medicine Shoppe International Inc. (MSI) and its Medicap Pharmacy units, which have more than 500 locations across the country and 200 pharmacies internationally, will no longer sell tobacco products — except at three units located within separate grocery stores that still do.
MSI, a Cardinal Health Inc. company, announced the move last month, stating that offering tobacco products conflicted with the company’s goal of promoting healthy communities. Smoking is perhaps the most well-known human health hazard, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke as the leading cause of preventable death, killing nearly half a million Americans annually and creating diseases that cost $300 billion a year to treat.
In 2010 the American Pharmacists Association called on drug stores to stop selling tobacco — a call many have answered.
By ridding its pharmacies of tobacco, the company could play a significant role in limiting access to tobacco and thereby help prevent tobacco-related death and disease, said MSI vice president John Fiacco.
Prior to the announcement, most MSI and Medicap Pharmacy locations were already tobacco free, but without a formal policy prohibiting the sale of tobacco, the company’s customers were subject to penalties imposed by managed care organizations on patients using pharmacies that carry tobacco.
“Announcing the policy to be tobacco free was a natural next step for our franchises and aligns with the goal to best serve their communities,” Fiacco said.