Why Unscheduled Pharmacy Closures Can Be a Health Emergency

Why Unscheduled Pharmacy Closures Can Be a Health Emergency

Unscheduled pharmacy closures can pose a serious risk to the health and well-being of patients, particularly those with chronic conditions like diabetes that require regular medication. In Connecticut, the state Pharmacy Commission has found numerous cases this year of Walgreens and Rite Aid pharmacies closing without proper notice, and in some instances, for extended periods of time.

These closures can have dire consequences for patients who rely on the availability of their medication. For example, a diabetic who is unable to pick up their insulin due to a pharmacy closure may face a potentially life-threatening situation. Therefore, the state of Connecticut has implemented rules governing pharmacy opening hours and fines for unscheduled closures. Pharmacies must be open a minimum of 35 hours per week unless a waiver is obtained.

In some cases, patients may be able to obtain their medication from a nearby pharmacy. However, complications can arise if the closed pharmacy has already processed the prescription through the patient’s insurance. The pharmacy that remains open may be unable to reverse the claim made by the closed pharmacy, resulting in the patient being unable to receive their medication through insurance.

Furthermore, the convenience and accessibility of alternative pharmacies can also be a challenge. If the nearest pharmacy is several miles away or not easily accessible by public transportation, it can be an additional burden for patients, especially those without reliable transportation.

While the Department of Consumer Protection regulates pharmacies and investigates reports of violations, they emphasize the importance of reporting instances of non-compliance. Both Walgreens and Rite Aid have stated their commitment to notifying the department and patients in the event of a temporary closure, as well as taking steps to ensure minimal disruption to patient care.

In summary, unscheduled pharmacy closures can have serious consequences for patients, particularly those with chronic conditions who rely on regular medication. It is essential for pharmacies to adhere to regulations regarding opening hours and to properly notify patients in the event of a closure. Patients should also report instances of non-compliance to ensure their needs are met and their health is not put at risk.

– Rod Marriott, Director of Drug Control for the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection
– State Pharmacy Commission records and public meeting minutes
– Ed Stannard, Hartford Courant
– Kaitlyn Krasselt, spokesperson for the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection
– Karen May, spokesperson for Walgreen Co.
– Catherine Carter, spokesperson for Rite Aid

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