2023 Pharmacy Closures
Healthcare Ready is currently MONITORING for any impacts from Pharmacy Closures and Walk-outs. We are monitoring supply chain needs and community impact with the assistance of our private and public sector partners.
Employees in several retail pharmacy stores have announced planned walk-outs to bring attention to increasing concerns surrounding staffing shortages and workplace conditions. These temporary closures are happening on the tail of recent announcements for broader store closures among retail chain pharmacies. With several recent retail pharmacy closures and staffing challenges, Healthcare Ready would like to highlight the concerns and potential supply chain impacts.
- Pharmacists, technicians, and support staff staged a walk out from Oct 9-11, impacting approximately 9,000 stores
- Without a centralized organizing body, it is difficult to estimate how many pharmacies are closed.
- Earlier this year, Walgreens announced they were closing 150 stores in the U.S. and 300 more in the UK.
- In September, CVS pharmacists closed 22 pharmacies from two separate walk-outs over the course of two weeks within the Kansas City metropolitan area.
- This follows CVS’s closure of 244 stores between 2018 – 2020, and 2021 announcement for the planned closure of 900 stores by 2024.
- Rite Aid has 2,000+ stores
- 200 locations were closed before the bankruptcy announcement on 10/15
- Several hundred of Rite Aid pharmacies are at further risk of closure since the organization’s bankruptcy announcement
- Rite Aid will continue to fill prescriptions for patients or will transfer prescriptions to the nearest available pharmacy.
Potential Impacts to Healthcare
Pharmacy closures can have a ripple effect throughout the healthcare supply chain, resulting in medication shortages, distribution challenges, increased costs, and potential health disparities. It is crucial for stakeholders to adapt and plan for these disruptions to maintain a resilient supply chain. Potential impacts include:
- Increasing Health Disparities: Current and anticipated closures disproportionately affect already disadvantaged communities, including communities with higher rates of chronic conditions, and where people must travel further to get to their nearest pharmacy. Closures and other operational impacts may lead to reduced medication adherence, increasing health disparities as these populations face greater challenges in accessing essential medications.
- Medication Shortages: Pharmacy closures can lead to local or regional shortages of essential medications, which can disrupt the supply chain and affect patient access to necessary drugs. Patients have already reported challenges in locating the most recent COVID-19 vaccine in their local area. Long-term closures may pose risk in patients’ ability to access supplies for the upcoming flu seasons.
- Increased Workload: When pharmacies close, the remaining ones in the area may experience increased demand, leading to potential delays in medication dispensing and heightened stress on staff.
- Cost Increases: Supply chain disruptions caused by pharmacy closures can lead to increased costs for healthcare providers, payers, and patients due to the need for alternative distribution methods and transportation of medications.
- Inventory Management: Supply chain stakeholders, including wholesalers and pharmacies, must manage their inventory differently to accommodate the closures, which can lead to inefficiencies and added expenses.
Healthcare Ready' Role during the Pharmacy Closures
Healthcare Ready works to monitor and evaluate the situation around the possible damage and provide analysis of the implications. We aim to provide information across sectors to supply information to all parties involved or impacted. Healthcare Ready is focusing efforts on highlighting challenges and supporting solutions to these challenges.
About Healthcare Ready
Healthcare Ready is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to ensure patient access to healthcare in times of disaster, emergency, and disease outbreaks. We leverage unique relationships with government, nonprofit and medical supply chains to build and enhance the resiliency of communities before, during and after disasters. Learn more about Healthcare Ready
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