CVS Corrects Misinformation on Coronavirus Prevention in Letter to Staff


CVS mistakenly sent unproven information to employees surrounding drinking warm water to combat the novel coronavirus.

CVS mistakenly sent false information surrounding proper hygiene and wellness habits to combat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

In an email sent on Monday to CVS employees, Troy Brennan, MD, chief medical officer at CVS, gave tips for prevention against COVID-19. Along with tips such as practicing social distancing and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, the tips included drinking warm water to wash the virus from the stomach, which has not been verified as being effective.1

Robert Legare Atmar, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN that there is no evidence that drinking warm water is effective against the virus. “Even if it worked at all, which it doesn’t, people still breathe in from their nose, not just their mouths. This would only protect the mouth and not the nose,” Atmar told CNN.2

TJ Crawford, a spokesperson for CVS, told Pharmacy Times® that the company strives for accuracy in any communication. “If a mistake is made, we make a quick and highly-visible correction, as was the case here,” said Crawford.

CVS has recently updated the published guidance from Brennan on its website, which has since removed the claims and includes tips on social distancing, such as refraining from get togethers as well as maintaining healthy habits with diet and exercise.3

“We all need to do our part during these times, even if it means some discomfort,” Brennan concluded in the letter.3

“We continue to focus on using our scale and unmatched capabilities in the most impactful way possible and building on steps we’ve already taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic, such as waiving charges for home delivery of prescription medications and making telemedicine more accessible,” Crawford told Pharmacy Times®.


  • Weinburg, Abigail. CVS’s Chief Medical Officer Sent All Employees an Email With Coronavirus Misinformation. Mother Jones. Published March 16, 2020. Accessed March 19, 2020.
  • O’Sullivan, Donie. CVS sent false coronavirus information to staff. CNN Business. Published March 17, 2020. Accessed March 19, 2020.
  • A message from our Chief Medical Officer Troy Brennan, M.D. to CVS Health colleagues with helpful guidance for all. CVS Health website. Published March 16, 2020. Accessed March 19, 2020

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