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Report to allege retail bias at CVS

By By Nicole C. Wong
Globe staff / December 4, 2008
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A coalition of labor and immigrant advocacy groups plans to release a national report today detailing alleged discriminatory retailing practices by CVS Caremark, according to Eva A. Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition who saw the report's executive summary.

The report claims the country's largest pharmacy chain has located fewer stores in minority areas than in white neighborhoods nationwide, Millona said. The report also shows that the Woonsocket, R.I., company has kept some products - like condoms, infant formula, and baby food - in locked cabinets in Greater Boston neighborhoods dominated by people of color, while stocking those items on open shelves in white suburban neighborhoods, she said. "The report highlights the inequity with which CVS serves some of its customers," said Millona. "We urge CVS to address that."

In a statement, CVS spokesman Michael DeAngelis said "ethnicity plays no role in loss-prevention procedures" such as locked cabinets and the report is "based on inaccurate and outdated information."

"CVS Caremark does not discriminate in our policies or store operations, or tolerate discrimination of any kind in our organization," DeAngelis said in the statement.

Change to Win, a union consortium representing CVS workers, plans to release the report today.

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