The closing of a pharmacy or the shutting down of a community drugstore is often times a very unpleasant experience. It normally is a very sad undertaking for everyone, including the pharmacy’s owners, their staff and the patients who must now get their prescriptions transferred and filled elsewhere. With the documented decline across the entire United States in the total number of independent local community pharmacies being operated, it is sad to see the recent acceleration of pharmacy closures and shutdowns across the nation. According to data supplied by NCPA (National Community Pharmacists Association), nearly 22,000 independent pharmacies are currently dispensing medications in the United States. This represents a twelve percent decline since 2001, when the association reported that there were over 25,000 independent pharmacy businesses in operation nationally.
Declining reimbursements from insurance companies, reliance on cash purchases, mail-order pharmacies being “pushed ” by PBMs and insurance plans, plus the never ending growth of the larger chain pharmacies moving into local neighborhoods are just a few of the reasons that independent community pharmacies are forced to sometimes close their doors, shut down and go out of business.
Recent Pharmacy Closures and Shutdowns
It seems like almost daily over the past few months one sees a notice of a pharmacy closing its doors and going under. Here’s a look at just a few examples that occurred over the past month or two.
– In Rochester, New Hampshire the Care Pharmacy closed its doors and shut down last month. The owner (Frank Cassidy) said he chose to close the pharmacy down because he couldn’t find a buyer and he was getting to old to handle the “burden” of operating the business any longer. He tried selling the pharmacy, but was unable to find a local buyer. At one point Mr. Cassidy had actually previously operated nine locations scattered throughout New Hampshire. He blamed Medicare for the decline of the local independents, by giving the large chains an unfair advantage as being designated preferred providers, an advantage that was simply too challenging to overcome for most independently owned community drugstores.
– In Bastrop, Texas the “old” Lock Drug pharmacy closed its doors and shut down for good in the middle of June. Located just on the outskirts of Austin, Lock Drug had been in business for almost fifty years and filled prescriptions for over 2,500 local residents. The owner (John Mohrman) told the local news station that he had tried to keep the business open for the employees and staff, but the last three years had simply been a “money drain” that he could no longer afford. As Care Pharmacy owner Frank Cassidy stated above, Mr. Mohrman noted that the exclusive agreements between the big chain stores such as CVS and insurance carriers, plus “plummeting” Medicaid reimbursement rates simply made keeping the pharmacy’s doors open “unfeasible”. Perhaps the very saddest part of the shutdown were actually his final comments: “There’s been a lot of crying. I’m not lying. Tears,” he shared. “It’s kind of like a funeral; it’s like somebody died.”
– In San Diego, Texas the La Hacienda Pharmacy shut its doors and closed down for good at the end of June last month. The La Hacienda Pharmacy was actually the only independent pharmacy or drugstore in Duval County (located in the south central portion of Texas). After fifty years of operation, the drugstore owner was unable to find a buyer to keep the business going. Owner Adolfo Montemayor said that he and his wife both “hate to close, we’ve been here for a long time with loyal customers”. Yet the lack of a buyer and the pressures of running the business made retiring a “better option”.
– In Ottawa, Illinois the Medi-Rx Pharmacy closed its doors for good after forty-seven years in business. As with the above examples, owner Jack McLachlan cited the drastically reduced reimbursement rates from the insurance companies and what he termed as the negative indicators in the “current health care market conditions” as the reasons for the closing the drugstore down. Interestingly to many in this example of a pharmacy suddenly closing its doors is the fact that the owner made the announcement on Facebook on Monday July 16th at noon, then closed for good on Thursday July 19th at 6 PM. As one customer vehemently reacted to the post on Facebook, “I was shocked and extremely disappointed when I learned they closed the store. I was also angered that they sold my file to CVS without letting me know it was happening. I would NEVER have had my records go to that pharmacy but had no say in the matter”.
– In Mt. Zion, Illinois the Save-Mor Pharmacy announced that the store will be shutdown and closed in the next few days at the end of July. The pharmacy located in the central part Illinois also made the announcement on its Facebook page, citing that the state’s managed care program for Medicaid has severe issues that basically require a large prescription volume be filled in order for a retail community pharmacy business to stay open and survive in the Illinois marketplace.
How to Close or Shut Down a Pharmacy
If you are considering closing or shutting down your pharmacy, you need to do it correctly. There are numerous things to consider and items that must be addressed and properly taken care of. A few examples of these include:
– Handling the custody of the existing prescription files
– Controlled drug inventory records
– The names and addresses of who will be acquiring the legend drugs
– Documentation and destruction of all pharmacy labels and prescription pads
– Confirmation of return of DEA registration and all blank DEA 222 ordering forms
– Notifying your customers and patients
And these are just few. Plus all closing requirements are required to be performed in writing within a specified time period.
Staying In Business Instead of Closing Your Pharmacy
If you are considering shutting down or closing your pharmacy in the future, contact HCC today. In business for over 28 years now, HealthCare Consultants Pharmacy Staffing has helped many pharmacy owners through this tough transition. We can help make sure that you are prepared for what needs to be done and that all requirements are met and agencies satisfied. This is another example where we stress that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound a cure”.
Yet also keep in mind that Healthcare Consultants has been helping pharmacies “Stay In Business” since 1989. Perhaps closing your pharmacy and shutting down your business is an option, but consider the fact that HCC has helped many owners to be able to reach profitability and stay in business. Just a few of the services that we offer include:
– Pharmacy Business Review: Our experienced pharmacy business experts can provide assistance and guidance in the review of the business plan for your pharmacy. Our consultants have a great wealth of experience that will facilitate the development of a realistic and thorough plan for your pharmacy, including: defined strategic objectives, milestones and performance metrics. defined strategic objectives and stimulate alternative action, if an objective is unlikely to be met by the original plan. Allow our experience and knowledge help your business succeed!
– Business Performance and Efficiency Analysis: Improving performance has become a driving force behind 28 years of HCC helping pharmacies to remain effective and competitive in the ever-evolving healthcare environment.
– Pharmacy Business Management Services: Small pharmacies cannot afford a team of strategic planners, nor do they have time to carry out these critical functions themselves. Additionally, many pharmacy business owners find it difficult to be totally objective to accurately assess their strategic position, direction and practices, and to ensure they continue to align with market shifts, competition, profitability and regulatory compliance. Outsourcing with HCC can be the most practical way to achieve large company effectiveness without the large company price tag.
If you are a contemplating shutting down your pharmacy, the time to take action is now! If you are considering closing your business then we urge you to contact us and do it right. However, HealthCare Consultants Pharmacy Staffing has been helping pharmacies KEEP THEIR DOORS OPEN for over 28 years now (since 1989). Let us help you be objective about your options by contacting us today for a complete review of your situation. Reach us online or call today at 800-642-1652.