HCA pharmacy to consolidate as concerns mount

The Mission Cancer Center Pharmacy in Asheville, N.C., is set to close March 3, and services will be consolidated into the main hospital's pharmacy.

Christine Aiken, founder of Advocacy Allies and a former breast cancer patient at Mission, told ABC affiliate WLOS that many are "devastated by this news."

She told the outlet the cancer center pharmacy — which is owned by Mission's parent company, Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare — is not just a convenience to fill her 38 prescriptions but a "continuum of care."

The main hospital pharmacy is more difficult to get to, she said.

"Parking is difficult as it is, including handicap spaces," Ms. Aiken told WLOS. "It took me 20 minutes to get back there, and I was so exhausted I had to get someone to get a wheelchair for me."

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein told the news outlet he asked Mission about the decision and if it breached any stipulations it made when the system was sold to HCA. 

"We just want to understand what drove this decision and [if] they have any plans to change their offering of oncology services at HCA," Mr. Stein said.

A spokesperson told Becker's the two pharmacies are within 0.02 miles of each other, and in March, the pharmacy inside the hospital will be open 7 days a week. The system offers a free mail-order alternative to fill prescriptions and is working on a curbside delivery option. Workers at both locations will have roles at the hospital's retail pharmacy, the spokesperson added. 

"Mission's Hope Cancer Center treats very similar patients and does not have a pharmacy on site, nor do other cancer centers in the area," the spokesperson said. "The combining of these two pharmacies is consistent with our commitments, and it does not take away any service as there is a Mission retail pharmacy across the street."

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