HomeNewsCornerstone Kensington pharmacy set to close

Cornerstone Kensington pharmacy set to close

There’s another drug crisis brewing in Kensington. This time, it is about legal drugs. Lifesaving drugs. Drugs for all the good people of the community.

Friendly Pharmacy is slated to close its doors permanently at the end of the month.

After 28 years on Front Street, the Kensington staple will be the latest in a long line of pharmacy options for local residents to close

Senior citizens and transportation-challenged residents across the city have seen their options for filling critical medical needs decrease.

“We will miss serving this community,” Friendly Pharmacy managing pharmacist Brad Tabaac said, “which needs and deserves access to professional pharmacy services.”

Increasingly, pharmacy services are being taken over by the largest chain drug stores like Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid.

The pharmacy business is dependent on Pharmacy Benefits Managers, which help offset the costs of filling and dispensing prescriptions for customers. In more and more cases, those PBM offsets no longer reimburse the cost for pharmacies to fill prescriptions.

Larger chains can absorb some of that economic shortfall.

Smaller pharmacies like Family Pharmacy can’t overcome the reimbursement shortfall even with a healthy customer base.

According to Philadelphia Association of Retail Druggists executive director Robert Frankil, more than 80 community pharmacies have closed around the state since the beginning of the year.

Pharmacy Benefit Managers set dispensing fees that ultimately force pharmacies to prioritize which prescriptions to fill to remain profitable. More and more of those fees cover less and less.

In many cases, a pharmacy can make more selling a candy bar than it can for a prescription.

That economic pressure means pharmacy closures, even for the big chains.

Rite Aid announced that five area stores will close this month alone.

Patients who have trouble finding a pharmacy to fill their prescriptions are seeing fewer options. The problem will only get worse.

“When you look at the area around Kensington, there are no large chain pharmacies to serve this community,” Tabaac said. “Many elderly patients will have to take several buses or alternative transportation to get their prescriptions filled. This is just one of the first dominoes falling.”

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