Our history

Tracing back our history through our retail, pharmacy benefit management and retail clinic roots, today CVS Health is a health care innovation company that is reinventing pharmacy.

Explore key moments in our story

Our company has grown and changed over the years, but our commitment to our customers, clients and communities has never wavered. Learn how we’ve been helping people on their path to better health for more than 50 years.

A view inside one of our original CVS (Consumer Value Store) pharmacies in the 1960s.


1963 — The first CVS store, selling health and beauty products, is founded in Lowell, Massachusetts by brothers Stanley and Sidney Goldstein and partner Ralph Hoagland. CVS stands for Consumer Value Stores.

1964 — The chain grows to 17 stores. The original CVS logo is developed (CVS banner inside a shield, with the words “Consumer Value Stores” below) and displayed on store exteriors for the first time.

1967 — CVS begins operation of its first stores with pharmacy departments, opening locations in Warwick and Cumberland, Rhode Island.

1969 — CVS is sold to Melville Corporation.


1970 — CVS operates 100 stores in New England and the Northeast.

1972 — CVS nearly doubles in size with its acquisition of 84 Clinton Drug and Discount Stores. 

1974 — CVS achieves $100 million in annual sales.

1977 — CVS acquires the 36-store New Jersey-based Mack Drug chain.

1978 — CVS/pharmacy finds success and differentiates itself from the competition by opening small health and beauty aids stores in enclosed shopping malls.

Baxter Healthcare Corporation launches the first national hemophilia home service.


1981 — CVS breaks ground on the Store Support Center in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

1983 — Hemophilia patient home health care is launched.

1984 — Senior Vice President of Marketing Harvey Rosenthal is named President and CEO of CVS. He succeeds Stan Goldstein, who is named Executive Vice President of Melville Corporation.

1985 — CVS reaches $1 billion in annual sales.

Baxter taps its expertise in health care cost management to begin providing prescription benefit management services. As a division of Baxter, Caremark launches mail service pharmacy, IGIV home care services, and growth hormone distribution and services.

1986 — CVS co-founder Stanley Goldstein is named president and COO of Melville Corporation.

1987 — Stanley Goldstein takes over as chairman and CEO of Melville Corporation.

1988 — CVS/pharmacy celebrates its 25th anniversary, finishing the year with nearly 750 stores and sales of about $1.6 billion.


1990 — CVS acquires 500 stores from People’s Drug, which establishes the company in new mid-Atlantic markets including Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.

1991 — Caremark purchases Prescription Health Services (PHS).

1992 — Caremark spins off from Baxter. The Caremark formulary is developed and clinical intervention programs are introduced.

1994 — CVS launches PharmaCare, a pharmacy benefit management company providing a wide range of services to employers and insurers.

Tom Ryan is named President and CEO of CVS/pharmacy. Ryan began his career with CVS/pharmacy in 1974 as a pharmacy intern.

1995 — Caremark launches CarePatterns® disease management programs. 

1996 — Following the restructuring of Melville Corporation, CVS Corporation becomes a standalone company trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the CVS ticker. Stanley Goldstein is the company’s first chairman.

Caremark enters the multiple sclerosis marketplace.

1997 — CVS completes its acquisition of more than 2,500 stores from Revco, the largest acquisition in the history of the U.S. retail pharmacy industry. The acquisition of Revco gives CVS key drugstore locations primarily in the Midwest and Southeast.

Caremark merges the prescription benefit management business and the biotech business.

1998 — CVS acquires 200 stores from Arbor Drugs of Michigan to bring its store total to 4,100 across 24 states.

Caremark defines pharmaceutical services as its core operating unit and establishes a national pharmacy and therapeutics committee.

1999 —Caremark launches online prescription refills.

Tom Ryan is named chairman of CVS Corporation, succeeding company co-founder Stanley Goldstein.

CVS announces plans to enter Florida, with stores initially planned for the Tampa market.

CVS/pharmacy launches CVS.com, the first fully integrated online pharmacy in the United States.


2000 — Rick Krieger and partners Douglas Smith, M.D., Steve Pontius and Kevin Smith, RN, FNP found QuickMedx, the retail health care centers that became MinuteClinic.

CVS Corporation acquires Stadtlander pharmacy, making CVS ProCare the largest specialty pharmacy in the U.S. at the time.

CVS/pharmacy announces plans to enter the Chicago market and continue expansion in Florida with stores slated for Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

2001 — CVS/pharmacy introduces the ExtraCare Card, becoming the first national pharmacy retailer to launch a loyalty card program.

2002 — CVS/pharmacy continues to grow, announcing plans to enter Texas with stores targeted for high-population-growth markets such as Dallas and Houston. The company’s first locations in Phoenix and Las Vegas are also announced.

QuickMedx is renamed MinuteClinic in December 2002.

2003 — Caremark Rx and AdvancePCS announce strategic combination, creating a $23 billion company.

2004 — CVS completes its acquisition of 1,268 Eckerd Stores and Eckerd Health Services, Eckerd’s mail order and pharmacy benefit management business.

CVS ProCare becomes part of PharmaCare.

2005 — CVS/pharmacy partners with MinuteClinic, announcing three clinics to open in CVS/pharmacy stores.

2006 — MinuteClinic becomes the first retail clinic to be accredited by The Joint Commission.

CVS acquires 700 stand-alone Sav-On and Osco drugstores from Albertsons, growing its presence in southern California and key Midwest markets.

CVS Corporation acquires MinuteClinic, America’s leading operator of in-store health clinics.

2007 — CVS Corporation and Caremark Rx, Inc. complete their transformative merger, creating CVS Caremark, the nation’s premier integrated pharmacy services provider.

2008 — CVS Caremark acquires 541 stores from Longs Drug in California, Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona, giving CVS/pharmacy immediate market leadership in Northern and Central California.

2009 — MinuteClinic begins a series of affiliations with major health systems across the U.S. to enhance access to high-quality, affordable health care services.


2011 — In March, Larry Merlo succeeds Tom Ryan as President and CEO of CVS Caremark. Merlo joined CVS/pharmacy in 1990 through the acquisition of People’s Drug.

2012 — CVS Caremark announces that it exceeded $100 billion in revenues in 2011.

2014 —CVS Caremark purchases Coram, the specialty infusion services and enteral nutrition business unit of Apria Healthcare Group Inc. 

In February, CVS Caremark announces it will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products in all of its CVS/pharmacy stores.

In September, CVS Caremark removes all cigarettes and tobacco products from its CVS/pharmacy stores and launches a national smoking cessation program.

CVS Caremark announces that its corporate name has changed to CVS Health to further reflect its broader commitment to health care.

CVS Health completes the purchase of Navarro Discount Pharmacy, the largest Hispanic-owned drugstore chain in the U.S.

2015 — CVS Health completes its acquisition of Omnicare, the leading provider of pharmacy services to long-term care facilities.

CVS Health completes its acquisition of Target’s 1,600+ pharmacies and clinics.

2016 — CVS Health announces Be The First, a five-year, $50 million initiative to help deliver the nation’s first tobacco-free generation.

2017 — CVS Pharmacy continues to expand access to the opioid overdose-reversal medication naloxone in more than 40 states as part of the company’s multi-faceted approach to combating the nation’s growing prescription drug abuse epidemic.

CVS Health offers patients lowest cash price in the market for generic epinephrine auto-injector to treat allergic reactions.

2018 — CVS Health fights back on high cost drugs by launching industry’s most comprehensive approach to saving patients money.

CVS Health completes acquisition of Aetna, marking the start of transforming the consumer health experience.

Three masked nurses stand in a hallway to smile for a picture.


2020 — CVS Health commits the full strength of the enterprise to focus on addressing the critical and urgent health care needs stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a leader on the frontlines, the company becomes America’s largest private provider of COVID-19 testing, administering more than 15 million tests across 4,800 sites (through January 2021) — with an emphasis on addressing racial health inequities in Black and Hispanic communities.

The company also contributes more than $50 million in philanthropic actions in response to COVID-19.

CVS Health invests nearly $600 million over five years to advance employee, community and public policy initiatives that address inequality faced by Black people and other disenfranchised communities.

2021 — In February, Karen S. Lynch succeeds Larry Merlo as President and Chief Executive Officer of CVS Health.

CVS Health begins administration of COVID-19 vaccines. In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the company is one of the first to offer on-site COVID-19 vaccination services for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the United States.

The company eventually offers COVID-19 inoculations at nearly 10,000 CVS Pharmacy locations. As of August, the company has administered 29 million COVID-19 tests and 30 million vaccine doses.

CVS Health introduces its new purpose statement.