Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rite Aid? Wrong For Many: Big Chains Knocking Small Pharmacies - Rep Weiner

Out of Business

New Study Shows More than 650 Big Chain Pharmacies Dominate NYC Market; 77 Community Pharmacies Closed Last Year Alone the Result: Changing Neighborhoods, Higher Drug Prices

Big chain pharmacies have muscled out more than 75 mom and pop pharmacies in the last year alone, according to a new study conducted by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D – Queens and Brooklyn), a member of the House Commerce Committee. While community pharmacies close, big chain pharmacies have grown to 654 today from 165 in 1990.

Ever wonder whatever happened to your neighborhood pharmacy with its lower prices and personalized service? According to Rep. Weiner's office, hundreds of neighborhood pharmacies are going out of business,only to be replaced by giant pharmacy chains.

Weiner Pharmacy Study

  • § 77 neighborhood pharmacies closed in New York City last year alone
  • § Chain pharmacies (4 or more stores) have grown to 654, up from 165 in 1990.
  • § The largest chains, like Duane Reade, Rite Aid, and CVS, have gobbled up the City's pharmacy market. There are currently 226 Duane Reade stores, 85 Rite Aid stores, 56 Walgreens, and 119 CVS stores in the five boroughs. Supermarkets and other big box stores make up the remaining 83 pharmacies.
  • § Neighborhood pharmacies are closing over all the five boroughs: 23 closed in Queens; 22 in Brooklyn; 16 in Manhattan; 12 in the Bronx; and 4 in Staten Island.

The result is higher drug prices for New Yorkers. In fact, the average New York City chain store charged $901.28 for a monthly supply of 10 drugs, while independent stores charge $69 dollars less – costing consumers $828 more a year for a typical suite of drugs.

Rep. Weiner will introduce the Community Pharmacy Fairness Act, which will allow independent pharmacists to jointly negotiate terms and conditions of insurance contracts to better compete with the bargaining power of huge chains.

Rep. Weiner said, "The invasion of the chain pharmacies has overrun our shopping strips. The result: higher prices, less personalized service, and the changing face of our neighborhoods. It's time we gave neighborhood pharmacies some first aid in the fight against Rite Aid."

To categorize pharmacies, Weiner staff used definitions provided by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, which defines a neighborhood drug store as comprised of 3 pharmacies or less, and a chain drug store as 4 pharmacies or more (including supermarkets and mass merchants).