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OPA: Pharmacy Closures Bad for Ohio


06/27/2024 3:45PM

With the announcement of Rite Aid closing its Ohio locations, the Ohio Pharmacists Association focuses on the sudden hardship this loss of employment must bring to countless pharmacists, technicians and their families. Our concern only increases with the news this morning that Walgreen’s is also reviewing nearly 25% of its national locations it deems as underperforming. Certainly, these are stressful times for some of our colleagues and OPA stands with them in our support towards meaningful employment and the return to serving the patients we cherish.

As our independent pharmacies close across our state and now chain pharmacies are evaluating the Ohio pharmacy market, patients will be asking: where do I get my prescriptions filled and why did this happen? The Ohio Pharmacists Association has long been asking the same questions as we were first to see the pharmacy marketplace deteriorate in rural Ohio years ago. The causes are not a lack of prescription volume or a shortage of caring pharmacists and technicians. The root cause is a revenue consuming middlemen known as Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). 

Over the last decade, OPA has given pharmacists more tools to assist patients in need through vaccinations, partnering with prescribers on care, and giving pharmacies protections from egregious PBM audits and pricing practices through legislation. House Bill 505 is just a recent example of this fight. Still, PBMs worked around our advances, and drug prices increased significantly while payments to pharmacies deteriorated. Many Ohioans will seek their next prescription refill at a location that is now closed, experience longer wait times to get a prescription filled, and likely see their premiums and copays increase.

The Ohio Pharmacists Association has always believed in a fair and competitive marketplace that enhances quality care while reducing costs. PBMs have done the exact opposite to pharmacy in Ohio. Today, their monopolistic practices bear fruit in full public display and at the public cost: less choice, higher costs and record PBM profits, all from an entity that doesn’t even provide patient care. Today, the Ohio Pharmacists Association will double down on our efforts to preserve patients’ access to pharmacy services, expand care to those most in need and drive true value into the pharmacy health system through meaningful PBM reforms. These pharmacy middlemen have taken the practice of pharmacy in the wrong direction. It is time we took it back, and returned to employers and patients the value in pharmacy care they are paying for and they deserve.  


David E. Burke RPh, MBA

Executive Director

Ohio Pharmacists Association

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