Boston's mayor objects to retail clinic approval

Just yesterday, it looked like it would now be clear sailing for CVS Caremark, which had sought approval from Massachusetts authorities to open 25 to 30 MinuteClinics around the Boston metro area. While imposing some limitations on their operations, after months of deliberations the state's Public Health Council had agreed that they could proceed. Now, it seems that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino wants to make sure the clinics never open.

Not only is Menino criticizing the council's decision vigorously--arguing that it "jeopardizes patient safety"--he's asked the city's Public Health Commission to consider banning retail clinics from Boston. Now, the panel is investigating whether it can bar them through the back-door method of forbidding stores with clinics from selling tobacco products, a requirement which would prove very costly to the stores. Given the 11th hour timing of Menino's broadside, it makes one wonder what motivated him to come forward. Seems to me that Menino and the Massachusetts Medical Society must have had a frank dialog, to say the least.

CVS Caremark executives must be mad enough to spit nails at this point, but in their public statement, they only said that they'd "be happy to talk to Mayor Menino about any of his concerns."  We'll see how this shakes out, but man, this is a particularly nasty dispute, isn't it?

To learn more about the controversy:
- read this article from The Boston Globe

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