CVS Pharmacy sign in red

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#CVSDeniesCare: CVS cuts spark concerns over birth control access

People are condemning proposed cuts to CVS’ prescription reimbursements.


Samira Sadeque


CVS is facing immense backlash on social media after it was revealed that CVS Caremark, its prescription management service, is reportedly cutting reimbursement rates for mail-order birth control providers serving women who are unable to easily get birth control. 

Ilyse Hogue, president of pro-choice organization National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL), shared the update on Twitter on Thursday morning. 

Hogue wrote the cutback on reimbursement rates is “making [birth control pills] more expensive and potentially out of reach for tens of thousands of women who for many reasons cannot get to the pharmacy every month.”

“Women need birth control delivered for many reasons—physical challenges getting to the pharmacy, living in very rural areas, simple privacy concerns, or something else—it really doesn’t matter,” Hogue wrote in a follow-up tweet. “What matters is that they should not be financially punished by CVS.”

Pill Club, a startup that does birth control delivery, took the fight online, sparking #CVSDeniesCare and #BoycottCVS.

Hogue also pointed out that CVS Healthcare PAC is donating to President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.

“Trump and Pence have already made birth control harder to get and a little digging shows that CVS Health Pac is a big giver to Trump’s reelection campaign and to GOP electeds who have voted time after time to limit women’s reproductive freedom,” Hogue tweeted. “Shame on CVS.”

Many pointed out that only four of CVS’ 16 board members are female.

Pill Club said in a statement to the Hill that its services benefit marginalized women such as women of color, young women, and low-income women without insurance. On its website on Thursday afternoon, Pill Club explained the effects of CVS’ decision and called on the pharmacy chain to not go through with the cuts.

“We believe that CVS simply doesn’t understand how devastating these cuts will be to Pill Club and the women we serve. We believe they are trying to save money without knowing all of the consequences,” read a plea under the title “CVS, don’t take away access to birth control.”

In a statement to the Hill, a CVS spokesperson said Pill Club’s statements about the reimbursement cuts are “extremely misleading” and that there was “no impact” on customers’ access to birth control.

“We are committed to providing access to women’s health care and it is irresponsible for Pill Club to suggest otherwise in an effort to maximize their profits at the expense of our PBM clients,” the spokesperson said.

According to Pill Club’s statistics, 70% of its current members had difficulty obtaining birth control from previous providers, and more than 50% of their customers say they would stop taking birth control without Pill Club.

“If we cannot convince CVS to change course in the next few weeks, we will have no choice but to stop serving people with CVS Caremark pharmacy benefits,” Pill Club’s statement said.


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