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Disability Action Center NW

EQUAL RIGHTS CENTER AND CVS/PHARMACY ANNOUNCE INITIATIVES TO MAKE STORES MORE ACCESSIBLE

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 2, 2010 – Today, the Equal Rights Center (ERC), a national non-profit civil rights organization, and CVS/pharmacy announced their agreement and initiatives to help ensure that CVS/pharmacy’s stores across the country will be more accessible to people with disabilities.

“For the millions of people with disabilities in our country, the ability to easily access CVS/pharmacy’s products and services, is a critical part of their everyday lives,” said Don Kahl, Executive Director of the ERC. “With this monumental nationwide agreement, CVS/pharmacy will work with the ERC to adopt or improve accessibility practices and policies that will better serve all people with disabilities. We certainly hope that other pharmacies will recognize their unique importance and responsibilities to the disability community and follow CVS/pharmacy’s example.”

Among other initiatives, CVS/pharmacy, one of the nation’s largest retail pharmacy chains with more than 7,100 locations, will survey and remove barriers to accessibility at any stores it remodels or alters. It will remove any barriers at each of its MinuteClinic retail health clinics within eighteen months. New or revised procedures and training of employees will ensure that its store aisles are kept clear and accessible, and an independent survey company will monitor the accessibility of the aisles. Within one year of the agreement, every CVS/pharmacy will have at least one wheelchair accessible front checkout and pharmacy counters if they do not already have them. CVS/pharmacy will also hire an independent consultant to review and monitor its policies and procedures for design and construction, remodels and barrier removal in order to ensure that its stores remain compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). CVS/pharmacy has also agreed to provide reports to the ERC on its progress, and to consider ERC’s input on policies and training.

“CVS/pharmacy is committed to ensuring that our stores are accessible to all of our customers,” said Scott Baker, Executive Vice President, CVS/pharmacy. “We are pleased to enter this agreement with the ERC to help enhance access to our pharmacy and health care services for people with disabilities.”

In 2009 the ERC was approached by several individuals who use wheelchairs who all identified accessibility issues at CVS locations due to aisles being blocked with merchandise and displays, a lack of accessible routes to sales counters and the pharmacy, a lack of accessible spaces in parking lots, and other barriers. The ERC conducted its own survey of CVS stores and identified similar accessibility issues. The ERC then approached CVS. After reviewing CVS’ current policies and practices to comply with the ADA, and the ERC’s concerns, CVS agreed to work with the ERC to make CVS stores more accessible to its customers with disabilities.

“As the Americans with Disabilities Act celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, we are happy to see another national business leader demonstrate its commitment to providing quality and accessible services to all individuals,” said Elaine Gardner, Disability Rights Project Director at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs.

In reaching this agreement, the ERC was represented by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs and the Washington law firm of Gilbert LLP. CVS/pharmacy has agreed to pay the plaintiffs for their claimed damages and attorneys’ fees incurred in this matter.

For Immediate Release:

Leah Maddox, Equal Rights Center, 202.370.3227

lmaddox@equalrightscenter.org