CVS was founded in Lowell, Massachusetts, by the Goldstein brothers in 1963. By 1964, there were 17 CVS stores selling primarily health and beauty items.
In 1967, CVS opened its first stores with pharmacy departments in Rhode Island. In 1969, CVS was sold to the Melville Corporation.
By 1970, there were 100 CVS stores in the New England and Northeastern US. In 1972, the chain acquired Clinton Drug and Discount, which nearly doubled the size of the chain.
In 1988, the 750th location was opened. In 1990, the chain acquired the 500 store chain Peoples Drug. The stores were converted to CVS branding in 1994.
In 2004, CVS acquired Eckerd Drug, a 1200+ store chain.
The acronym CVS was said to originally stand for Consumer Value Stores. Former CEO Thomas Ryan says it stands for Convenience, Value, and Service.
CVS has filed lawsuits in 2019 trying to prevent former employees and executives from working for a subsidiary of Amazon, PillPack. CVS and other pharmacies appear to have concerns that Amazon will, in the near future, deal directly with pharmaceutical companies and health insurers, cutting prescription drug prices dramatically.
In April 2019, the company instated a policy where they would only offer a maximum of 3 test strips for diabetics, regardless of doctor’s orders, the number of strips in a prescription, the amount covered by insurance, or patient circumstances.
In July 2018, CVS stated they planned to roll out a program called RX Savings Finder, designed to show customers that CVS has the lowest prices.
CVS currently operates over 9,800 pharmacies in the US. The CVS corporate office is located in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.