With the COVID-19 pandemic serving as a skewer, pharmacies have been trying to recover from staff shortages for months. Back in January, both Walmart and CVS announced they were going to close certain stores early due to the lack of workers, and the change took effect in March.
Workforce sustainability has been a major issue ever since the pandemic, which only lit a fire under the problem. Walmart said pharmacies would close at 7 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. CVS also started closing drug centers for a lunch break between 1:30 and 2 p.m. About two-thirds of CVS pharmacies now have reduced hours of operation. Both Walmart and CVS are now paying pharmacists more.
Walgreens also was struggling to decide what to do during the staffing crisis, but it says the situation has gotten better over the last few weeks. Still, the prescription king also has had to close some stores early.
A Walmart spokesperson said customers are in need of pharmacies during certain times of the day, and the new schedule fits that pattern.
According to a survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association, more than three-fourths of community pharmacists are having difficulties filling open positions, resulting in a longer wait time for customers.
Walmart Health, on the other hand, is increasing its presence. The plan is to build 28 new centers in 2024, and locations will happen in two new states — Missouri and Arizona. By the end of 2024, Walmart says it plans to have 75 Walmart Health centers across the U.S.