Walgreen and Rite Aid are unlikely to follow the lead of CVS in halting tobacco sales, experts say. Unlike CVS, which reported revenue growth in the third quarter of this year, its rivals do not have pharmacy benefit management units.
CVS on Tuesday reported third-quarter review growth of 9.7 percent, to $35 billion,Bloomberg reports. The company saw a 16 percent gain in its pharmacy services unit, which offset the loss of cigarette sales, the article notes.
Jeff Jonas, a portfolio manager at Gabelli Funds, said of Walgreen and Rite Aid, “They’re just not performing as well, so they kind of need those sales.” Both companies say they are taking steps to fight tobacco use. Walgreens says it will offer customers access to an online quit-smoking program, while Rite Aid’s pharmacists help teach customers how to reduce nicotine use.