CVS, Walgreens say they're feeling the pinch of pandemic costs

Despite an uptick in online sales and more foot traffic in stores, retail pharmacy chains are feeling the financial effects of COVID-19, according to The Wall Street Journal.

CVS and Walgreens are among the companies in the U.S. that are allowed to stay open even under the strictest lockdowns because they sell groceries and medications and have pharmacists on site. The nation's largest pharmacy chains also have said they will open COVID-19 testing sites in their parking lots. 

But despite an increase in sales, CVS Health warned investors that the pandemic would harm its results.

CVS attributed much of the financial hit to the company's Aetna insurance business. CVS said that medical costs are expected to rise without a bump in premiums paid by customers.

CVS also said its operating costs have increased as more employees work remotely with pay, the company offers more cash bonuses for workers in the stores  and it offers more worker support programs. .

Walgreens also is offering employees paid time off, bonuses and other financial relief programs that are expected to increase operating costs. 

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