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CVS releases first Corporate Social Responsibility report

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark announced on Tuesday that it has released its first Corporate Social Responsibility report.

The report, which is available online at www.CVS.com, covers such matters as prescription safety, customer privacy, environmental management, and the safety of its products such as personal care items.

In the report, the retailer also explains what it is doing to “provide exceptional customer service throughout its enterprise, create a great workplace environment, instill strong corporate governance practices and make a positive difference in local communities, and in particular among children with disabilities.”

“Publishing our first CSR Report has been a thorough and comprehensive endeavor that encompassed virtually every department across our broad organization. In many ways it has helped us gain a further understanding of the issues that matter most to our customers, stockholders, local communities, and other stakeholders,” stated Tom Ryan, chairman, president and chief executive officer of CVS Caremark. “And in turn, we hope our report will provide our stakeholders – including our employees – with a deeper appreciation of how our mission and core values are rooted in our commitment to corporate social responsibility.”

Data presented in the report is from 2007 and will serve as baseline for future reports. In some instances, the baseline data covers the entire enterprise; in other cases the data pertains just to CVS/pharmacy operations. Data from 2007 was provided rather than for multiple years, as is generally preferred for CSR reports, because of the timing of the merger between CVS and Caremark, which was finalized in mid-2007, the company stated.

Going forward, the intent is to establish companywide metrics, especially for environmental indicators, and report data for the entire enterprise.

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BY DSN STAFF

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. Merck has extended its enrollment deadline for eligible claimants with cases filed or tolled by Nov. 9, 2007, that are wishing to be part of the deal to resolve state and federal Vioxx-related myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke claims to June 30.

Merck extended the deadlines to allow claimants and their counsel additional time to complete the enrollment process and for the claims administrator and for the company to continue to verify the completeness and compliance of enrollment materials received so far.

In 2007, Merck recorded a pretax charge of $4.85 billion, which represents the fixed amount to be paid by the company to settle qualifying claims.

As of March 31, the claims administrator reports more than 28,250 eligible MI claimants have initiated enrollment and more than 16,750 eligible IS claimants have initiated enrollment. These numbers do not include an additional 5,500 enrollees whose eligibility has yet to be determined.

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Wal-Mart to cash stimulus checks for free

BY DSN STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. With Wal-Mart’s motto of ‘Save Money. Live Better,” it’s no surprise that the retailer has announced new incentives to get shoppers to spend their stimulus checks at its stores. The company announced that it will cash the rebates for free—with no purchase required—and will offer shoppers new rollbacks on items such as shampoo, breakfast juice and cereal.

As an added incentive to get shoppers to spend their checks at Wal-Mart stores, the company said it will refund the purchase fee on its Wal-Mart MoneyCard when any portion of the economic stimulus check is loaded onto the card.

Additionally, Sam’s Club will cash checks for free for its members. It will also offer its own economic stimulus bonus in the form of a $40 gift of membership on select product purchases May 11 through May 31 so new members will save all year long.

“We’re looking at this through the eyes of our customers, who need low prices all the time,” said John Fleming, evp and chief merchandising officer of Wal-Mart Stores, U.S. “And that’s what we’ve always done best,” he added.

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