opinion

COLUMN: CVS and the cash control on contraception



Most people don’t get jazzed by the thought of a large corporate merger or buy out. Most people, like myself, are actually indifferent a majority of the time.

Whether you know this already or not, CVS recently purchased Target pharmacies. Although I’m sure I could point to many other corporate mergers that negatively affect my life, this specific merger has angered me.

The merger or buy out of Target pharmacies by CVS was announced in January of last year and just recently went into effect at physical Target pharmacies around the country.

When I went to Target recently to pick up my birth control, the attendant politely informed me of the merger and told me that while I was receiving the exact same medication, the medication package looks different.

While I was surprised to hear of this change in the look of my birth control packaging, I wasn’t worried or upset. Then the attendant told me that instead of nine dollars every month, my birth control would now be 29 dollars per month due to the merger with CVS.

I nodded to let the girl know I understood, paid and walked away to another part of the store before I realized I had been robbed of 20 dollars.

Why would different packaging of the same medication lead the cost of said medication to triple?

I did some research in order to further understand this seemingly ridiculous price increase of my birth control and how the CVS purchase of Target pharmacies cheated me out of 20 dollars.

The CVS purchase of Target pharmacies is mutually beneficial, according to an article in Forbes Magazine, because it allows Target to get better at the things the company already does well while allowing CVS to gain more of the market share.

CVS will now have 9,500 stores across the country after purchasing Target pharmacies, making CVS the largest pharmacy company in the U.S. Forbes Magazine concluded this “will place CVS on a stronger footing when negotiating with drug manufacturers and will likely lead to lower drug acquisition costs.”

Considering CVS is trying gain more control over the market by becoming a larger corporation, it makes sense CVS would try to drive down prescription costs for consumers. Unfortunately for me and my birth control that is three times as expensive, the purchase of Target pharmacies hasn’t allowed CVS to address costs of prescriptions just yet.

In all honesty, I’m not sure I can trust a corporation that has a monopoly over the market to make good on their goal to lower prices.

Although the Affordable Care Act has given the government some control over the pricing of medications, there is nothing to make me believe that CVS, especially as a capitalist business, would do anything to make prescription costs as low as possible.

Unless CVS can make some magic happen, I guess I’ll either have to forgo my basic human right to contraception or just continue to cough up the extra 20 dollars.

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