An apparent shortage of pharmacists is forcing CVS and Walmart to reduce their pharmacy hours as they close earlier at thousands of locations.
Beginning in March, both retailers will either reduce or postpone opening hours of their pharmacies to respond to staffing shortages and slacking consumer demand as the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic recedes. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news.
Walmart, which has pharmacies at most of its 4,600 US locations, is closing two hours earlier, at 7 p.m. CVS will postpone or reduce hours of operation at approximately 6,000 US pharmacies.
For CVS, adjusting its hours of operation is an attempt to ensure its “pharmacy teams are available to serve patients when they are needed most,” the company said in a statement to CNN. The changes are part of the “regular course of business,” it added, so its working hours match customer demand.
In a statement to CNN, Walmart said the new hours are the result of “direct feedback” from its pharmacy staff and customers.
“Walmart has a strong and incredible pharmacy team, and we are making this change not only to improve their work-life balance, but also to maintain the best level of service for our customers,” said a Walmart spokesman. “By positioning our teams in the hours when our customers say they want to visit our pharmacy, we are able to provide excellent customer service.”
Walgreens announced last year that it was reducing hours at some of its dispensaries due to staff shortages.
On Friday, the company told CNN that it had to “temporarily adjust store or pharmacy opening hours at some of our locations as we work to balance staff and resources in the market to best meet the demand of our patients and customers.” A Walgreens spokesman added that over the past few months, it has “seen positive staffing trends as we work to bring more stores back to normal hours of operation.”
Pharmacists face a staffing shortage that affects many other areas of work, but particularly affects local pharmacies. According to a survey released last year by the National Community Pharmacists Association, more than three-quarters of community pharmacists are having “a difficult time filling vacancies,” resulting in longer wait times for customers.
The CNN Wire
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