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Stater Bros. to close its pharmacies

Prescription records sold to CVS Pharmacy

Stater Bros. Markets plans to shut down its SuperRx Pharmacies and sell their prescription records and inventory to CVS Pharmacy.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. The San Bernardino, Calif.-based supermarket chain said that once the transaction is completed, the pharmacy assets will be transferred to nearby CVS Pharmacy locations.

All 22 SuperRx Pharmacies are slated to be closed by Sept. 28, according to Stater Bros., which operates 171 stores in Southern California.

“I’d like to emphasize that Stater Bros. is a strong and competitive company within the Southern California supermarket landscape poised for continued growth. This business decision will allow the company to grow areas of our core food business that meet the evolving food needs and shifting grocery preferences of our customers,” Chief Executive Officer Pete Van Helden said in a statement. “We remain committed to providing our valued customers with the very best grocery shopping experience.”

The vacated pharmacy spaces will be remerchandised over the next few months to better serve the needs of customers, Stater Bros. said. The company noted that in-store operations will continue as usual as the spaces are converted.

“I’d like to thank our loyal customers for all of their support of Stater Bros. SuperRx Pharmacies. CVS Pharmacy provides a wide range of pharmaceutical services and programs to help millions of people across America lead healthier lives, and we’re confident CVS will provide SuperRx customers with the resources and services needed to continue their health care regimen,” Van Helden said. 

SuperRx patients will be notified of their prescription transfer dates by mail. The pharmacies are located inside Stater Bros. supermarkets in Adelanto, Apple Valley, Beaumont, Carlsbad, Chino, Chino Hills, Corona, Encinitas, Fontana (two), Fullerton, Highland, Huntington Beach, Lake Forest, Moreno Valley (two), Palm Springs, Poway, San Jacinto, Temecula, Wildomar and Winchester.

CVS plans to interview many of the SuperRx employees currently working at the Stater Bros. locations, the supermarket retailer said. Stater Bros. and CVS also are working together to make the transition seamless for SuperRx patients and ensure their pharmacy care isn’t interrupted.

“CVS Pharmacy is committed to providing high-quality and personalized care to patients, and we look forward to bringing our innovative pharmacy care programs and services to SuperRx customers,” said Hank Casillas, division vice president for CVS Pharmacy, which is the retail drugstore unit of CVS Health. “We’re confident that SuperRx patients will be excited about our unique clinical pharmacy services, medication adherence programs, automatic refills and the many innovative digital tools we offer to help patients manage their prescriptions.”

In recent years, changing economics in the prescription drug industry have made it tougher for small retail pharmacy operators to compete. Rising drug prices, the need for scale to lower drug procurement costs and booming growth in expensive specialty pharmaceuticals — which also can require added services and special handling — have fueled consolidation among drug chains, drug distributors and pharmaceutical manufacturers, putting more competitive pressure on smaller pharmacy retailers. Cuts in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and costs like direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees also have squeezed margins, especially impacting small players.

“I’m proud of the fantastic job our SuperRx pharmacy team has done in taking excellent care of our customer’s health care and pharmaceutical needs. We have great people and protecting their livelihood was a priority,” Van Helden added. “Stater Bros. will offer all SuperRx pharmacists and pharmacy technicians continued pay and benefits for a period of time.”

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