Virginia hospital closes retail pharmacy

Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters in Norfolk, Va., abruptly closed the retail pharmacy it leased to Hague Pharmacy Feb. 8 because its lease expired, according to NBC affiliate WAVY. the hospital's in-house pharmacy is still open.

"Hague Pharmacy located on the first floor of CHKD's main hospital has closed. We regret any inconvenience this causes," the said on its website.

Ritesh Patel, PharmD, the pharmacy's co-founder and president, told WAVY the hospital emailed the pharmacy about its lease expiring at noon, and by 2 p.m., the doors were locked. 

The story may be more complicated than a lease terminating. Here is what WAVY reported Feb. 9: 

  • The pharmacy had financial problems, including late rent payments, Dr. Patel said.

  • A hospital spokesperson said the Hague Pharmacy "had not fulfilled its lease and service obligations to CHKD and its patients for many months."

  • Dr. Patel said he asked the hospital to buy the pharmacy before the hospital decided to end the lease. He added that he did not have sufficient time to tell his 10 employees, who are now out of a job.

  • Some patients were not surprised. "The Hague has been going downhill drastically over the last six months, to the point that I actually started transferring me and my kids' meds in January because we were not getting things that were critical to my daughter's care, like her seizure medication," Rebecca Bryce, a Chesapeake, Va., resident with two children, told the outlet.

  • The hospital lists seven pharmacies on its websites to where patients can transfer their medications. Some are less than a mile away, but the nearest compounding pharmacy, Irwin's Pharmacy, is 5.7 miles away.

  • Ms. Bryce said closing the pharmacy without telling patients in advance and not preemptively switching prescription information to Irwin's "was irresponsible, it was dangerous and it was reckless."

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