TAMPA, FL- At its national convention here today, The American Association of Business Journalists agreed that any story about leading drugstore operator and pharmacy benefits manager CVS/Caremark that involved the company being the target of a law enforcement investigation, getting sued, reaching a settlement while admitting no wrongdoing, or assuring the public that despite this incident "we value nothing more than the relationship we have with our customers" is no longer officially newsworthy. The resolution was proposed, debated and passed nearly unanimously in a record 15 minutes.
"I admit I'm a little sorry to see the old newsroom staple of the 'shocking CVS' story come to an end" said Robert Mitchell of the Providence Journal. "I have fond memories of covering the trial of two CVS executives who were accused of trying to bribe a Rhode Island state senator, and the story about the CVS pharmacist who received over $4 million for exposing how the company was overbilling Medicaid was a compelling tale about the little guy prevailing over the giant corporation, but by the time we heard of how they were overcharging customers in their Medicare Part D plans, we were really stretching for a unique angle to present"
At one time, the abundance of material produced journalists who specialized in specific aspects of the company's legal troubles.
"My beat was the out of control CVS pharmacist" said Melinda Gomez of the Associated Press. "My editor assigned me the woman who wasn't a pharmacist who was able to do what CVS expected of its pharmacists with no trouble story, but by the time we got to the CVS pharmacist who used customer information to post a fake sex ad on Craigslist it was taking up so much time we made it a full time position. Or maybe that was after the CVS pharmacist who let a customer have an asthma attack when they were a couple dollars short. Wait. No. It was when the CVS pharmacist wanted to trade Xanax for sex. Oh hell, I don't remember. It all blends together after awhile."
Many agreed that the high point of the CVS as unethical news story came with the revelation that the company seems to be disregarding the obvious intention of the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy that pharmacists in that state should not work more than a 12 hour shift.
"I've never met the man who wrote that story" said Mary Russel of the Columbus Dispatch, but his raw sexuality comes through in every word. The way he made that spokesman look stupid with just a few phone calls to CVS stores shows an intellect that I can't help but to find attractive."
Some expressed concern that CVS, once in the spotlight, may have started acting out in an effort to gain more attention.
"I remember joking that at least they haven't been busted for actual illegal drug sales, but almost right after that came the crystal meth story, and then the DEA suspending the license of two of their stores for going through almost 21 times the amount of oxycodone an average pharmacy does. It was almost like they felt the need to do something more and more outrageous to stay in the news. The only thing now I can think of they haven't done is rape or kill anyone in cold blood."
"That I know of." He quickly added.
The resolution added that while these type of stories no longer met the definition of news, and reporters would no longer be assigned to cover them, it was still perfectly acceptable to say something about CVS doing something stupid in cases where space or dead airtime needed to be filled, as the company gives no indication of changing its ways.