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CVS’ healthy makeover could mean big things for the wellness world


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Photos: CVS

Just how health-conscious is your average drugstore?

When you’re waiting in line, staring at a checkout counter lined with boxes of M&Ms and Marlboros, it’s easy to question their commitment to your well-being.

But thanks to CVS, that might be changing.

It started two years ago, when the megachain stopped selling cigarettes. The nicotine nix made waves (especially considering that most drugstores still prominently display their packs of Newports), but it was actually just the beginning of their Clueless-style healthy makeover: This spring CVS rolled out a new flagship line of wellness products (2,500 in all), under the moniker CVS Health, and in late June announced that they’d be upping their better-for-you snack offerings and swapping out 25 percent of candy by registers for grab-and-go options from Kind, Justin’s, Vega, and more.

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“After ending tobacco sales in 2014, expanding our focus around health and beauty was the next natural step in the evolution of the CVS Pharmacy retail business,” says Cia Tucci, vice president of store brands and quality assurance for CVS. “Our wellness-focused approach is driven by making it easier and more convenient for our customers to access the products they need to help them feel their best.”

CVS Health Manuka Honey BandagesThat translates into some seriously cool innovations. Think manuka honey adhesive pads, single-serve cold and flu medicine that you can pop into your Keurig for sippable relief (coming later this year), and 13 different types of super-trendy gummy vitamins for adults (including a probiotic option), all under the CVS Health umbrella. From Gold Emblem, the drugstore’s in-house food brand, you’ll find organic coconut water, almond butter, and even what they’re calling “organic functional teas” targeting sleep and stress.

Sure, you’ll still see bags of Doritos and bottles of Cetaphil—but they’re now surrounded by better alternatives. “Each customer’s wellness routine is different and unique, but one common thread is their desire to find high quality, easy-to-use products they can rely on,” notes Tucci.

Considering the company estimates that 76 percent of Americans live within a five-mile radius of a CVS Pharmacy, it could prove to be more impactful than any holistic-minded smoothie bar or apothecary could ever be.

Debating which nutrition bar to grab? Here’s our definitive guide to the healthiest options. And if you really can’t find a CVS near you, here’s how to use the herbs you’ve already got at home to help you with headaches, cramps, and more.