Tested to be Trusted - CVS mandates third-party testing of vitamins and supplements

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Photo: Provided by CVS

Pharmacy giant CVS just launched a program that will require vitamins and supplements sold in its stores to be tested by third parties to make sure they contain only the ingredients listed on their label and not other additives, such as heavy metals or pesticides. Already, 1,400 vitamins and supplements have undergone testing through the program — called “Tested to be Trusted” — and 7% of these products failed the testing. The labels for some of these products were updated to reflect their true composition, while others were pulled from shelves altogether. 


The testing confirms the accuracy of the dietary ingredients listed on the supplement facts panel and to confirm products are free from certain additives and ingredients. 1,400 vitamins and supplements from 152 brands across 11 categories, including diet and nutrition, pain and digestive, have completed testing.

CVS Pharmacy is the first and only national retailer to implement a program that requires this caliber of standards for vitamins and supplements.

"CVS Pharmacy's requirement of third party testing of all vitamins and supplements uniquely positions us as a trusted retailer and health partner where consumers can shop for proactive wellness solutions with confidence," said Kevin Hourican, President of CVS Pharmacy and Executive Vice President, CVS Health. "We are seeing more customers focus on self-care as part of their overall health, and CVS is committed to providing access to new products and categories to empower people to practice self-care in their daily lives, especially since self-care varies based on an individual's needs."

The new self-care campaign features advertising centered around the "Tested to be Trusted" program and the several bold decisions CVS Pharmacy has made with the health of consumers in mind. Since the removal of tobacco from its stores in 2014, CVS Pharmacy has made a number of choices to bring its enterprise Purpose of helping people on their path to better health to life across its retail business. Recent major steps include:

  • The removal of SPF less than 15 from shelves;
  • The reformulation of nearly 600 store brand beauty and personal care products to remove parabens, phthalates and formaldehyde donors.
  • The CVS Beauty Mark initiative: the commitment to lead positive change around transparency in beauty in order to educate customers on the difference between authentic and digitally altered imagery.

New Testing Standards Apply to All Vitamins and Supplements In-Store and Online
To ensure greater transparency regarding the ingredients of all vitamins and supplements, in 2017 CVS Pharmacy announced it would require all products with a supplement panel to undergo third party testing and verification by the end of 2019 in order to be sold in-store or on CVS.com. While enhanced standards were already in place for all of CVS Pharmacy's exclusive store brand products, including the CVS Health, radiance and radiance PLATINUM lines, this marks the first time that all national brand vitamins and supplements carried in-store and online must receive specific and consistent third-party validation before they can be sold.

"By requiring third-party testing of the vitamins and supplements they sell, CVS Pharmacy is demonstrating a real commitment to trust, transparency and health," said David Trosin, Interim General Manager of Dietary Supplements at NSF International. "The Tested to be Trusted program is unprecedented in the retail industry and we're proud to serve CVS and its customers."

The "Tested to be Trusted" program, completed six months ahead of schedule, requires all products with a supplement panel at CVS Pharmacy to be certified either by NSF International, a global public health testing, inspection and certification organization, or verified by USP (The United States Pharmacopeia, a nonprofit organization that publishes an annual compendium of drug information), or participate in CVS Pharmacy's required third party testing program conducted through NSF or Eurofins, a laboratory specializing in food, pharma and environmental testing, which includes:

  • Dietary Ingredient review and testing: to verify that the dietary ingredients listed on the supplement facts panel are in the product in the amount stated
  • Contaminant review: testing (microbiological, analytical, etc.) to verify there are no harmful levels of certain specified contaminants in the product. For complete details on the testing, see https://www.cvs.com/content/tested-trusted.

Throughout the course of the testing, 7% of products failed, resulting in either an update to the supplement facts panel or removal of the product from CVS Pharmacy shelves.

New health and holistic wellness categories launching chain wide
As an evolving leader in the proactive wellness space, CVS Pharmacy is introducing more than 300 new items in six new health and wellness categories, with an emphasis on cognitive, nutrition, mood and sleep therapies, that focus on allowing consumers to treat themselves well and make it more accessible and convenient for consumers across the nation to do so.

The new product assortment, which includes collagen protein, essential oils and aromatherapy stress spray, bone broth protein, beet root powder, weighted blankets, yoga mats, free weights, bee pollen and honey immunity products will be available in more than 3,000 stores and on CVS.com by the middle of 2019.

To learn more about "Tested to be Trusted" and the "Treat Yourself Well" campaign, visit https://www.cvs.com/content/tested-trusted and https://www.cvs.com/shop/content/self-care.