(NYSE:CVS) plans to close its hearing centers across the U.S. ahead of an anticipated FDA move to allow the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids.
The drugstore chain began offering audiology services in a few stores in Ohio and Texas in 2015, expanding to 50 stores nationwide with the majority in California and Florida, according to its website. But it was no match for Costco, which has more than 676 hearing aid centers worldwide, including 509 in the U.S.
CVS also cited the emergence of new technology that will enable self-serve hearing testing and care as a reason for the March 30 closure of standalone audiology centers within its stores.
“We are shifting our audiology strategy to better position CVS Pharmacy as a leader in offering clinically effective, lower priced hearing devices once the new over-the-counter category is approved by the FDA,” a CVS spokeswoman told Mass Device.
FDA notified hearing aid manufacturers in July that it anticipates publishing proposed regulations for OTC hearing aids by August 18, 2020, and final regulations within 180 days after closing a comment period.
Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS closed a $70 billion merger with health insurer Aetna in November.