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CVS Health Takes Major Step to Address Chemicals of Unknown Origin

In a move to show support for safer cosmetics and its other store brands, CVS Health will no longer ship products containing parabens, phthalates or formaldehyde to its distribution centers for sales. Customer feedback is what drove this decision, CVS said in a Corporate Social Responsibility news release on its website.

In the wake of a Washington Post article that just a few months ago highlighted CVS’ name brand Aloe Vera Moisturizing Gel for containing ZERO aloe vera, it makes me wonder what their name brand products will contain once they take the poisons out. This isn’t meant to demean their efforts; it’s good that their products will no longer contain parabens, phthalates or formaldehyde. But the bottom line is, where does their corporate responsibility go from here?

Specifically, I’m thinking of a recent Chicago Tribune investigation of 255 U.S. pharmacies that found high-profile pharmacies, including CVS, selling dangerous drug combinations that put millions of Americans at risk.

Among the individual pharmacy chains tested, CVS fared the worst, with Kmart and Costco coming in at a close second.

In response to the Tribune investigation, offending pharmacies announced they'd be taking steps to improve patient safety at their stores — but if you're on prescription drugs, drug safety needs to become a priority, not an afterthought, especially since the 21st Century Cures Act relaxes FDA standards and makes it easier for experimental drugs and vaccines to come to market without being adequately tested for safety.

What this adds up to is that, in addition to companies like CVS needing to continue to focus on consumer safety, you must be your own advocate. Read those labels. Don’t buy health and beauty aid products with ingredients you can’t pronounce. Ask your prescribing doctor what adverse reactions your medications may have before you fill the prescription.

Make a point of asking if the drugs you're prescribed are safe when taken together, and remind both your doctor and the pharmacist about your other medications (including over-the-counter drugs). It may just save your life.
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