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The Boston Globe features an interview with CVS CEO Tom Ryan, in which he addresses some of the major issues facing the 5,000-store drug chain.

  • On converting acquired Eckerd units to the CVS format: “Eighty percent of the stores are in Texas and Florida. Despite the fact that we had four hurricanes, it's just going tremendously. We are on schedule. We have trained over 40,000 people.

    “Now the plan is to go in market by market, begin to change the look of the store to represent the CVS brand. We're going to lower the shelves. We're going to widen the aisles. We're lowering prices on 5,000 items. And then the proverbial CVS carpeting will be put down. At that point, once that's all done and colleagues in the stores all trained in the CVS way, then we put the name on the door.”

  • On which company is number one, CVS or Walgreen: “We don't spend a lot of time worrying about it. Honestly, the pure and simple answer is that customers don't care. The customer cares when they walk into a store in Brockton: How's my service? How's my shopping experience? Is it in stock?”

  • On allowing drug imports from Canada: “Customers were coming into our stores, obviously complaining about the prices of prescriptions, and saying they could get prescriptions cheaper in Canada. But it was unregulated, they were playing Russian roulette with prescriptions. So we were concerned about the safety issue.

    “As long as you have these arbitrary, huge discrepancies between prices of prescriptions in various countries, you're going to have imports. Individuals can actually buy drugs cheaper from some countries than CVS can buy, and we're the largest purchaser of pharmaceuticals in the world.”

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