CVS Health and Walmart are cutting their pharmacy operating hours as the chains face staffing shortages.
The retailers will either reduce or shift the hours for pharmacists due to low consumer demands as the Covid-19 surge subsides.
The changes mean both companies had closed stores in thousands of locations.
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Walmart, which has 4,600 US pharmacy locations, will close the stores two hours early, at 7 pm.
CVS will shift or reduce hours at around 6,000 US pharmacies.
The company said the changes are made to ensure its “pharmacy teams are available to serve patients when they’re most needed.”
It added these are part of its “regular course of business,” so its hours match consumer demand.
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Walmart said the hour changes result from “direct feedback” from its pharmacy staff and customers.
A company spokesperson said: “Walmart has a strong and incredible pharmacy team, and we are making this change to not only enhance their work-life balance but also to maintain the best level of service for our customers.
“By positioning our teams in the hours where our customers say they want to visit our pharmacy, we are better able to deliver excellent customer service.”
Last year, Walgreens said it was slashing hours at its pharmacies due to staff shortages.
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To tackle the issue, it has employed thousands of pharmacists and also hiked pharmacy workers’ salaries.
The company said it has “at times had to adjust store or pharmacy hours at some of our locations as we work to balance staffing and resources in the market to best meet our patient and customer demand.”
A Walgreen spokesperson added that it had “positive staffing trends for the past several months as we work to return more stores to normal operating hours.”
Pharmacists are suffering a labor shortage that has affected many other sectors but hitting especially locally-owned pharmacies.
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