Rite Aid launches mini-pharmacy program to reduce 'pharmacy deserts'

Rite Aid is opening mini-locations in rural areas to help underserved communities and fight "pharmacy deserts," Retail Wire reported Jan. 3.

The first location, encompassing 3,000 square feet, opened in mid-November in Craigsville, Va.; for comparison, Rite Aid stores average 11,000 to 12,000 square feet. The town has a population of 900. Previously, residents had to drive to neighboring communities for pharmacy services. Rite Aid has since opened two more locations in Virginia.

These locations feature full-service pharmacies staffed by a full-time pharmacist and pharmacy technician along with part-time technicians who move between sites. The locations also have a retail mix of health and wellness products, the report said.

"We believe that supporting these unmet needs presents tremendous opportunity for us, and the price of entry for us is very low," Heyward Donigan, Rite Aid's president and CEO, said in an April earnings call announcing the program. She said the program aims to help underserved communities which "lack the assets, scale and customers to meet the full needs of the pharmacy marketplace."

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