Walgreens Rite-Aid Merger – Bad News for Pain Patients?

Walgreens Rite-Aid Merger – Bad News for Pain Patients?

What will the Walgreens $17.2 billion purchase of Rite-Aid mean to chronic pain patients?

It’s a question to ask because the move means that there will be only two national pharmacy chains remaining – Walgreens and CVS. And with pain patients increasingly reporting an increasing difficulty in getting access to their pain medication at the pharmacy level, the question is what happens now?

Obviously, there are no answers yet, but some pain patient advocates are very concerned.

Steve Ariens is a retired pharmacist whose wife is a chronic pain patient. He has written extensively on pharmacy practices that he believes are hurting patients.

“These two mega players will control about 60% of the chain pharmacies in the community and about 25% of all community pharmacies,” he said. “Their economy of scale will result in poorer service and there will be a push to add more tech and/or fewer Pharmacists in the mix which can lead to mistakes and harm patients.”

Dr. Terri Lewis is a rehabilitation expert and chronic patient advocate and she too is skeptical about what this means.

“There is increasing evidence that consumers may not benefit by the consolidation of the pharmaceutical marketplace, particularly where the business decision involves reduction of inventories carried for patients with unique needs,” she said.

Access to quality health care has already been reduced, she believes. And the fact that there will be essentially be a duopoly in the pharmacy world (two main players) worries her that pharmacists will have even less authority.

“Consumers should be concerned about the loss of pharmacist autonomy as regards making judgments about filling prescriptions for patients they know well,” Dr. Lewis added.

While the company isn’t talking about what it plans to do with all the Rite-Aid stories, Ariens thinks there will be fewer.

“All public companies must grow to stay in favor with the stock market,” he said. “The pharmacy department is the most expensive part of running these stores. Cuts seem inevitable.”

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Paula Lopez at 8:17 am

    I won’t personally go to any Walgreens and now Rite Aid will be on my list and also Family and Friends list of Pharmacys to never go to for shopping or Prescription fills again,,I got my prescriptions filled at Walgreens for over 4 years and yes they were for pain medicine and any other Meds I needed..I hyperventilate every time I even pass by a Walgreens Pharmacy due to the unbelievable treatment and rudeness from not just one Pharmacist but 2 of them,,They treated me like I was a drug seeking criminal ,,it’s not like I just went there for pain Meds and I at least spent well over a 100.00 each month or anytime I went there,,I even had their little savings card and also a valid scrip and drivers lincense that they could check ,, even tho I saw the same people each and every time I went there,,they also confirmed the prescriptions thru my Doctors office,, you think that would matter but no they still treated me like a criminal,, by the time I left there store,,, and that’s only if they decided if they would fill my Meds,, and it was like a game to them on how bad they could make me feel and trust me ”I’m sick enough so as not to need their terrible treatment of me ,, just because I needed a pain medicine I should be treated that way. I watched them personally treat a very older man as bad who was there and with a walker at that to pick up his dying wife’s prescriptions,, they told him go some place else ,, he informed them they have always filled his wife’s Meds the same time every month since she’s been sick..They showed no compassion what so ever..I’ve left that store in tears many times and shaking so bad I could not even drive ,, had to sit there in disbelief wondering just how could they treat a Human being in such a way ..Well if that’s how they get their money by humiliating people and refusing to fill valid prescriptions then I don’t see how they will continue in business ..I know I will continue to spread the word and my Family and Friends will as well telling my story and the stories of countless others that I’ve either saw myself or heard about,,these Pharmacys and the way they treat the sick and elderly,,I will do so until my dying last breath….NO MORE SHOPPING FOR ANYTHING IN WALGREENS AND NOW RITE AID EVER IN ANY CAPASITY …..

  2. Mike hause at 10:58 pm

    Im surprised this could go thru. I would me unfair trade and a monopoly. Your vest bet will be the small pharmacies. They would be glad to fill the 0rescription after they verify it. Id rather support the local business anyway.

  3. BL at 2:20 pm

    It seems that the majority of people that don’t have problems getting their pain meds Do Not use a chain pharmacy. The chains have multiple locations and longer hours as oppossed to an independent. But those things do you no good if you can’t get your meds.