High crime, tough times drive America’s top three drug stores to close over 1,500 locations

After hearing about the lack of access to supermarkets creating so-called food deserts, familiarize yourself with the term “pharmacy deserts.”

There are plans in place to shutter more than 1,500 drugstores across America and the nation’s largest chains deal with rampant theft in many locations.

Rite Aid announced that it will close 150 of its 2,100 locations after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month, according to the Daily Mail.

“The pharmacy chain has been unable to settle hundreds of lawsuits that accused them of overprescribing opioids and has struggled to keep up with competitors,” the UK newspaper reported.

“According to our estimates, about one in four neighborhoods are pharmacy deserts across the country,” Dima Qato, an associate professor at the University of Southern California, told the Washington Post.

“These closures are disproportionately affecting communities that need pharmacies most,” she added.

Of course, much of the blatant theft happens in these same communities.

CVS is expected to close the doors on 900 of its stores by the end of 2024 as part of an online strategy, the Daily Mail reported. The total represents 10 percent of the company’s stores.

The pharmacy battles rampant shoplifting and has committed up to $3 billion on “digital enhancements to improve the consumer experience.”

Overall, CVS will have shuttered 900 stores by 2024, according to the article. The company also lost a store manager in Arizona last month, after he was shot and killed by a customer accused of shoplifting.

Citing CapitalOne Research, the Daily Mail said that stores lost an estimated $86.6 billion to retail theft in 2022 and that figure is projected to be over $115 billion by 2025.

Walgreens is also expected to shutter 150 stores by summer 2024.

“Shares in the pharmaceutical chain reached their lowest level in more than 11 years back in June, prompting drastic cost-cutting measures from executives,” the Daily Mail reported.

Adding to the company’s woes, employees at more than 500 of Walgreens’ 9,000 stores across the country walked out over concerns that working conditions are putting employees and patients at risk — the strike lasted for three days.


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