What Walgreens, Rite Aid closures mean for healthcare

Drug stores such as Walgreens and Rite Aid have been closing thousands of stores, leaving gaps in healthcare for some patient communities, MarketWatch reported Oct. 17. 

On Oct. 15, Rite Aid filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The Philadelphia-based company, which has 2,100 stores across the U.S., said it plans to close "underperforming" brick-and-mortar stores.

Rite Aid hasn't said yet which stores will close, but the move isn't new for the company. 

Over the past two years, Rite Aid shuttered more than 200 stores, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In addition, Walgreens announced earlier this year that it would be closing 150 U.S. stores out of its 9,000 locations. 

"When patients don't have access to pharmacists, that might mean that they have less access to healthcare and they have worse health outcomes," Lucas Berenbrok, PharmD, associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, told MarketWatch

Dr. Berenbrok said "the community pharmacy" is a foundational piece of the American health system.  

The closures also disproportionately affect Black and Latino city neighborhoods, as well as rural areas, according to Serena Guo, MD, PhD, an assistant professor at the Gainesville-based University of Florida College of Pharmacy. 

"Closure has the potential to worsen disparities in access to pharmacies," Dr. Guo told MarketWatch.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars