Can you rely on your neighborhood pharmacy to be there when you need it? Thousands of pharmacies are closing across the country. And that's not even the worst of it.
Who doesn't love the "Big 3" multibillion-dollar Fortune 500 pharmacies: Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid? Well, actually, a lot of people. For years, they've brought us convenience and become our neighborhood pharmacies, but as they invaded towns across the United States, they pushed Main Street independent mom-and-pop drug stores out of business.
Now, after their great takeover, they may not be as reliable as they'd like us to think.
Neighborhood pharmacies across the United States are at a breaking point.
Profit targets, cost cutting, and inflation have led to the "Big 3" shuttering of more than 1,500 pharmacies across the United States. Rite Aid has filed for bankruptcy. (I haven't yet found a list but will share it when I do.) The past two years have been brutal for this industry, which seemed to be in its heyday back in 2020, with vaccines, sick-care products, and at-home tests.
Supply chain shortages, theft, and financial penalties for Big Pharma's role in the opioid crisis continue to force the closure of at least one pharmacy in the United States per day.
A new reality is here to stay: over 40% of counties in the United States now live in a complete "pharmacy desert" – meaning that every resident needs to drive at least 15 minutes to get to the closest pharmacy. But what about people who don't have reliable transportation? Is a sick person supposed to get on the city bus and take public transportation, potentially infecting their fellow passengers, just to get the medications they need to treat their illness? And what about those in rural areas? Some folks face as much as a two-hour drive to get necessary medications. If their closest pharmacy closes, that drive could become even longer.