Report Details Differences in Practices at CVS Stores Located in Minority, White Communities
A report released on Thursday by Change To Win, a coalition of union interest groups alleging discrimination at CVS pharmacies nationwide, details the findings of a 14-month long investigation that cites differences in practices between stores located in minority and white neighborhoods, the Detroit Free Press reports (Anstett, Detroit Free Press, 12/5). CVS has more than 6,000 pharmacies nationwide. The group gathered outside of several CVS pharmacies in New York City and four other cities to protest what it says are unequal services provided to minority communities across the country (Kaiser Health Disparities Report, 12/4). Several community groups also are involved in the campaign (Clark, Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/5).
The report -- titled "CureCVS: From High Prices to Low Quality" -- claims that CVS stores located in communities with large minority populations have been cited for selling expired food and having higher prices and poorer service than stores in white communities. CVS stores in communities where the majority of residents are minorities also had 65% more health violations per store than stores where the majority of residents were white, according to the report (Hunter, Detroit News, 12/4). The minority communities also had fewer 24-hour stores and had more stores with unsanitary conditions, according to the group (Detroit Free Press, 12/5).
Nancy Jowski, head of the group, said that CVS has "failed to serve communities where minorities live," adding, "We believe minority communities deserve better" (Detroit News, 12/4). Whyatt Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, during a press conference said, "Drugstore red-lining is a real problem. Health care is a critical issue in Philadelphia, and when people don't have access to get their prescriptions filled or get formula for their babies to take care of their basic needs, it does affect the way they live."
CVS has denied the allegations and said in a statement, "We do not discriminate in our policies or store operations or tolerate discrimination of any kind in our organization. We will carefully review the information that has been released and contact the NAACP to follow up" (Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/5). CVS spokesperson Michael DeAngelis added that he believes the group's campaign is part of an attempt by unions to organize nonunion workers at some of its stores (Detroit Free Press, 12/5).
CVS said that since 2007, Change to Win "has attempted to pressure CVS to deny our employees the full benefit of voting rights afforded to them under federal law. This 'report' and the accompanying media outreach is the latest attempt by CTW to achieve this objective" (Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/5).
The report is available online.