CVS at least three times more likely to lock condoms in
communities of color in many markets, according to Cure CVS
WASHINGTON - A national coalition of more than
200 community organizations, health care educators and advocates
announced today they are uniting in an effort to stop CVS
Caremark Corp. from locking condoms in its drugstores nationwide.
Together, the Cure CVS: Unlock the Condoms Initiative is asking
CVS to adopt a corporate policy to keep all condoms unlocked at
all times. CVS's closest competitor Walgreen's has a policy
against locking up condoms in any of its stores.
Members of the Cure CVS: Unlock the Condoms Initiative rallied
outside a CVS store on Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. and held
a mid - day press conference where they unveiled a joint letter to
CVS Caremark Corp. CEO Tom Ryan that states, "We urge CVS to put
the health of our communities first and adopt a written policy
that ensures all condoms are permanently unlocked in all
communities across the country, regardless of race."
"The practice of locking up condoms makes it infinitely more
difficult for young people to access the full array of
contraceptive and safer sex products they need," said Sarah
Audelo from Advocates for Youth, a national organization that
champions efforts to help young people make informed and
responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.
"Far too many people will simply turn around and walk out of a
CVS empty handed rather than ask someone to unlock the case and
endure the scrutiny of others while they make their selection.
It's a real problem that can be easily overcome if CVS simply
adopts a new national policy."
CVS Locks Condoms in Communities Hardest Hit by HIV/AIDS
Surveys of more than 2,200 CVS stores found that CVS locks up
condoms in 19 of 21 markets surveyed. In 13 markets, CVS has a
pattern of locking condoms disproportionately in communities of
color, according to Cure CVS. In 9 of those markets, CVS is at
least three times more likely to lock condoms in communities of
color than in zip codes that are majority white.
HIV/AIDS is the number one killer of black American women between
the ages of 25 and 34, and that the rate of new HIV infections
among Latinos is three times the rate of whites.
"Increase in HIV infections is the result of lack of access to
HIV/AIDS care and prevention methods, and CVS's practice of
locking condom cases in predominantly Latino neighborhoods
contributes to this problem in our communities. Everyone in the
United States should be working to break down barriers that
impede individuals from preventing HIV transmission. Condoms
should be more readily available to everyone and CVS would do
well to be a leader in this effort," said Juan David
Gastolomendo, Program Director at Latino Commission on AIDS.
Cities Surveyed for Presence of Locked Condoms in CVS Stores
The cities where Cure CVS surveyors found locked condoms are:
Metro Atlanta; Metro Baltimore; Greater Boston; Metro Chicago;
Metro Dallas; Greater Detroit; Greater Houston; Metro
Indianapolis; Las Vegas area; Los Angeles County; Newark, New
Jersey area; New York City; South Florida, Metro Orlando,
Florida; Greater Philadelphia; Greater Phoenix; Greater
Pittsburgh; Greater Providence; and Greater San Diego,
Fairfield County, CT and Washington, D.C. are the only markets
where surveyors did not observe condom lockup.
CVS is the nation's largest drugstore chain with more than 6,900
stores. CVS Caremark Corporation fills or manages more than 1
billion prescriptions a year and claims 150 million people as its
customers � that is one in two Americans. CVS is the industry
leader and is in a position to set the standards for the industry
as a whole. CVS's closest competitor Walgreen's has a policy
against locking up condoms in any of its stores.
"We place great trust in the hands of pharmacies and stores like
CVS when we shop for health care products and services. We are
not going to be fooled by CVS as they continue to lock - up or make
inaccessible a product that is designed to protect against
unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and
HIV/AIDS. We must call out their unequal treatment of different
communities for what it is � a discriminatory practice. NOW has
been fighting for improved reproductive health care for more than
43 years and we will not be deterred from our goal of ensuring
full access to condoms across the country," said Melody Drnach,
Vice President Action, National Organization for Women (NOW).
Have a Heart, Unlock the Condoms
Today's announcement of a national coalition comes just four
months after public health advocates and CVS shoppers began
challenging CVS Caremark Corp. over its practice of keeping
condoms in locked cases. Last February, advocates rallied outside
CVS drugstores in several major U.S. cities and CVS shoppers sent
hundreds of Valentine's Day cards to CVS Caremark Corp. CEO Tom
Ryan, urging him to "have a heart, unlock the condoms."
For a complete list of organizations participating in the
national coalition visit www.CureCVSNow.org
Cure CVS is an initiative by Change to Win and partner
organizations to reform the drugstore industry, starting with
CVS, the country's leading provider of prescription drugs and
largest drugstore chain. By joining concerned citizen groups with
the six million members of Change to Win unions, Cure CVS aims to
ensure that CVS provides equal access across all communities and
income levels to its stores and services, offers fair and
accurate prices, provides quality products and services, protects
customers' privacy and puts quality pharmacy care first.
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Change to Win
Gina Bowers, 202 - 288 - 0257