Fed up with reduced hours, staffing shortages, customers shift to local pharmacies

As Walgreens is offering bonuses up to $75,000 to recruit pharmacists and workforce shortages are hindering pharmacy services, such as prescribing COVID-19 antiviral drugs, some local pharmacies may soon see more customers. 

One local pharmacy owner in Englewood, Colo., told ABC News he's seen more demand in the past year as the two closest Walgreens reduced their operating hours to only include weekdays. 

"The hours being cut back in corporate pharmacies, the staffing being kept out at corporate pharmacies, have really added up to people leaning on us when they never knew they could," said Michael Scruggs, PharmD, the co-owner of Front Range Pharmacy.

Another pharmacy manager in Connecticut echoed Dr. Scruggs.

"They were going to the pharmacy that they usually go to and they were noticing that they were closed, so they weren't able to pick up their prescriptions and it is mostly due to staffing issues at other pharmacies," Cailin Wadja, a pharmacy manager at Nutmeg Pharmacy in Taftville, Conn., told NBC News. "So we are able to accommodate them."

Locally owned pharmacies in Kentucky are also reporting difficulties in retaining workers, according to Spectrum News, but there isn't a way to track which is faring worse. 

Addison Capell recently made the shift from picking up prescriptions from Walgreens to a local pharmacy in Colorado after feeling frustrated with long pharmacy lines and the customer service.

"They were just very apathetic, didn't really care," Ms. Capell told ABC News. "They're like, 'Sorry. You can wait for another 30 minutes, and then we'll be ready.' "

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