The pharmacy giant filed for bankruptcy protection on Sunday after years of struggles with debt and slowdown of sales. It was also reported that the company is facing lawsuits related to illegal prescriptions made through their stores across the country.
The loss of pharmacies is a serious problem, especially for people in poorer urban and rural areas, according to Nick Fabrizio, senior lecturer in health policy at Cornell University and also a consultant for hospitals and medical groups.
As usual, the people affected the most by these mass closings of pharmacies are the most vulnerable given that they have to travel larger distances in order to find a Walmart or CVS pharmacy. The increased in competition by online retailers has also made it more difficult for larger pharma chains to stay open.
Rite Aid was once the largest drug store across the country and now ranks as the third largest.
During the COVID-19 pandemic the company saw a boost in its sales that helped them continue operations, but that essentially became borrowed time for the company as it could not deal with its debt obligations and now has to restructure itself.