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The Wall Street Journal reports that CVS and Walmart "are cutting pharmacy hours in the midst of a pharmacist shortage that has plagued the nation’s biggest drugstore chains throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

"CVS, the largest U.S. drugstore chain by revenue, plans in March to cut or shift hours at about two-thirds of its roughly 9,000 U.S. locations. Walmart plans to reduce pharmacy hours by closing at 7 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. at most of its roughly 4,600 stores by March.

"Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. previously said it was operating thousands of stores on reduced hours because of staffing shortages. Combined, the three chains operate some 24,000 retail pharmacies across the U.S."

The story goes on:

"CVS said in a statement it periodically reviews pharmacy operating hours as part of the normal course of business to ensure stores are open during high-demand times. 'By adjusting hours in select stores this spring, we ensure our pharmacy teams are available to serve patients when they’re most needed,' the company said, adding that customers who encounter a closed pharmacy can seek help at a nearby location. 

"At Walmart, the shorter hours offer pharmacy workers a better work-life balance and best serve customers in the hours they are most likely to visit the pharmacy, said a company spokeswoman."

The Journal also notes that "CVS and Walgreens are closing hundreds of U.S. stores and launching new healthcare offerings as they try to transform themselves into providers of a range of medical services, from diagnostic testing to primary care."

KC's View:

I understand the problems these companies are having hiring pharmacists, but the irony is that they all want to be bigger players in the healthcare business … not realizing, perhaps, that healthcare is a 24-hour-per-day commitment.  They may have to decide at some point if their primary motivation is primary care, or profit.