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At a recent analyst day conference, Walgreen said it's committed to cutting costs-and one of those cost-cutting measures is a plan to eliminate the practice of having in-store pharmacists fill routine prescriptions for maintenance medications such as cholesterol drugs, heartburn pills, or antidepressants.
At 120 of 759 Walgreens in Florida, prescriptions for maintenance medications are already being filled at a central plant in Orlando, according to a report in the Palm Beach Post. Customers receive the drugs in the mail, or can pick them up at a store a day or two later. This procedure will roll out to all the company's Florida stores next year, and is part of $1 billion in cost cuts, according to the press report.
The country's second largest drug store chain said the move would allow pharmacists to spend less time on routine tasks and more time answering patients' questions. The change affects 20 to 30 percent of the company's prescriptions, according to a company representative. Antibiotics and other drugs needed for urgent illness are still filled in stores but the move means fewer pharmacists will work in Walgreen stores.
The company is looking at expanding the program to states where it has a large concentration of stores and where state regulations allow, according to Gregory Wasson, president and coo of Walgreen.