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Activists to protest CVS stores' condom policy [Updated]

June 18, 2009 | 12:05 pm

A national activist group is planning a protest today in San Diego against what it calls a policy by the CVS pharmacy chain to put condoms in locked cases in stores located in minority neighborhoods.

Corporate officials say that condoms are put in locked cases only in stores where shoplifting is a problem.

But activists from the Change to Win group say that forcing shoppers to ask clerks to unlock a case so they can buy condoms decreases the odds that they will purchase the products.

"CVS policy is not only irresponsible, it is contradicting what should be done to help prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the spread of disease," activist Brian Hayes says.

The protest is set for 5 p.m. outside the pharmacy at 1380 S. 43rd St. A similar protest is set for a CVS store in Pomona.

[Updated at 2:30 p.m.: Mike DeAngelis, director of public relations for CVS, said in a statement that Change to Win is distorting the company's policy.

"In stores where condoms have been heavily shoplifted, a selection of condoms may be kept in a locked display to ensure that there is a stock available for customers to purchase," he said in the statement.

"In stores that have a locked condom display," he continued, "we maintain a selection of condoms that are not locked and are available for customers to purchase without asking for assistance from store employees."

-- Tony Perry in San Diego