By Laura Swanson
When the Pioneer received the notice yesterday from a Health Mart District manager announcing Tillamook Pharmacy’s closing in two weeks, we knew that there would be a great impact for the community. We asked the owners for a statement and here’s the Q&A:
“With great regret, we are sad to announce that Tillamook Pharmacy will be closing its doors after 56 years of serving the community. This was a difficult and truly heartbreaking decision to make. We know that the impact of this closure will affect the lives of many and we hope that our patients are able to have a seamless transition to Fred Meyer. We care for you and about you and we will miss being your local independent pharmacy. Thank you for your love and support for all these years.” – Trushar Patel, owner, Tillamook Pharmacy
Fred Meyer bought the pharmacy. They will not take over the space/building, just transfer the prescriptions to Fred Meyer.
“It really is unfortunate. All the independent pharmacies I have worked for or known the owners personally have closed in the last 3 years. It’s very sad and happening everywhere,” commented Kristen Fincham, PharmD, MS, BCGP, Health Mart Pharmacies District Manager.
The Oregon Secretary of State recently released a report about prescription drug progrmas that found “Poor Accountability and Transparency that Harm Medicaid Patients and Independent Pharmacies.” The audit found inconsistencies with payments to large corporate pharmacies vs. independent pharmacies in addition to differing reimbursement rates for Medicaid patients. A copy of the report is available HERE, and there is link to an OPB article below.
Why is the Pharmacy closing?
Due to economics of the pharmacy industry. Pharmacy closures have been happening at an alarming rate in recent years. The lack of reimbursement, negative margin claims, increasing fees by the Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), rising drug cost, and insurance contracting has made it difficult to survive as a business.
Many independent pharmacies in Oregon and throughout the US have been closing. Not only are independent pharmacies struggling, the chains are going through a difficult time as well. For example, Bi-Mart closed down all 56 of their pharmacy locations last year due to these factors.
Even the larger chains such as Walgreens will be closing 150 locations by the end of their next fiscal year. CVS is closing 900 pharmacies in the span of 3 years. The trend of the overall industry is going in the wrong direction. Due to a lack of regulation, the Pharmacy Benefit Managers have turned this industry upside down.
Is the building/business for sale?
We are not aware if the landlord is putting the building up for sale. Fred Meyer has purchased the pharmacy business, and customers prescriptions will be transferred from Tillamook Pharmacy to Fred Meyer pharmacy.