The Sustainable Pharmacy: Cabinet Health Brings First Refillable OTC Medicine Bottles To CVS

Cabinet Health, which has sold generic over-the-counter medications in refillable bottles online since 2018, has tapped 700 CVS stores in 35 states as its first brick-and-mortar locations.

Shoppers at those stores can purchase 14 Cabinet Health OTC medications in four generic categories: allergy relief, pain relief, digestive relief, and cold/flu. They are packaged in shatterproof frosted glass bottles, with refills on sale in compostable pouches made from wood pulp.

“Cabinet is the first and only sustainability packaged option for medicine in the OTC aisle today," says Russell Gong, president and co-founder of Cabinet Health.

"Having our products available in store is a critical path forward to further Cabinet’s mission of increasing accessibility to products with sustainable packaging, safer ingredients and superior performance,” Russell Gong, Cabinet Health president and co-founder, tells Marketing Daily.

He says that Cabinet plans to expand into more retail stores and to enter the prescription drug space with D2C offerings in the “near future.”

Gong says the company is supporting its CVS launch with in-store aisle endcaps that not only explain Cabinet’s mission and product proposition, but also educate consumers on the environmental impact of refillable bottles.

“Our goal is to build trust with shoppers that these are the same fast-acting, high-quality active ingredients that they’ve relied on for years, just without the plastic waste,” Gong says.

Cabinet’s retail bottles contain two to four times the pill counts of what it’s been selling D2C, and are said to save consumers up to 20% in costs compared with buying pills in plastic bottles.

“We're not only scaling awareness -- we're scaling impact by helping people continue to draw connections between everyday products and the health of our planet,” Gong says, “delivering an accessibly priced, sustainable alternative.”

Cabinet Health will also get its message out via a Sustainable Medicinemobile (a solar-powered Happier Camper), which will make stops in 10 CVS markets as it travels from Los Angeles to New York starting on June 20.

In each market on this “Sustainable Swap Tour,” the Medicine Mobile will collect plastic medicine bottles -- an expected 10,000 of them -- that will be transformed into a sculpture by artist/activist Kellie Gillespie.

In a collaboration with TikTok, Gillespie previously collected 5,000 old prescription bottles over a two-year period, turning them into a sculpture that she said would help fight two stigmas: mental health and taking prescription medication.

Consumers who bring in their plastic pill bottles may receive free Cabinet glass bottles or a prize from other participating sustainable brands like Lomi (which makes home composters).

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