The Food and Drug Administration’s outgoing Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Wednesday (April 3) he's not sure about the move on the part of Walgreens and CVS to sell CBD products in their stores.
According to a report in CNBC, Gottlieb said during a House appropriations committee hearing that the FDA expressed "concern" about Walgreens and CVS entering the market. "So you now see big-box stores seeking to market CBD products for some uses where the claims seem to be potentially over the line, for the treatment of pain, for example,” Gottlieb said.
In March, Walgreens and CVS said they would start selling CBD-infused products such as creams in its stores. The news comes after hemp-derived CBD was legalized in 2018, noted CNBC. The FDA still bans companies from adding CBD to food or dietary supplements, but CBD-infused beauty products are not seen as harmful.
When Walgreens announced the move, it said it will sell CBD products in close to 1,500 stores in select states. “This product offering is in line with our efforts to provide a wider range of accessible health and well-being products and services to best meet the needs and preferences of our customers,” Walgreens spokesman Brian Faith told CNBC at the time. CVS announced it would begin selling CBD products from Curaleaf at 800 stores in 10 states.
The popularity of CBD products is growing among consumers, and drug store operators want to capitalize on that. According to a recent Cowen & Co. analysis, nearly 7 percent of Americans say they use CBD products, and the market could reach $16 billion by the year 2025. The biggest demographic using the substance, according to the survey, are people between the ages of 18 and 34. The majority of the usage comes from tinctures, at 44 percent, followed by topical products at 26 percent and capsules at 22 percent. Beverages account for 19 percent of use.