CVS's Moment of Profitable Morality

Posted: 02/27/14

In February 2014, CVS Caremark Corp., a $126 billion pharmacy and health care company, stunned U.S. consumers and businesses by announcing it would give up $2 billion in revenue this fall by no longer selling cigarettes at its 7,660 drugstores (most of which are in the U.S.). Our client Hank Cardello, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and the leader of its Obesity Solutions Initiative, seized on the historic announcement – only to find it was not-so-historic.

In fact, Cardello wrote in a article published on Feb. 27 that a number of other companies including Apple, Danone, Costco and Walt Disney Company have made a similar move over the last decade. That move is one Cardello refers to as having a “moment of profitable morality.”

What he means is companies deciding to give up short-term revenue by abandoning a controversial but profitable product or practice to pursue more profitable opportunities. His article, “CVS and the Rise of Corporate Profitable Morality,” which we helped him publish on, can be found here