CHICAGO (CBS) – Neighbors in Little Village say the closing of a CVS pharmacy will leave many struggling to find health care, though CVS takes issue with that claim.
Activists and elected officials on Friday rallied outside this CVS location at 2634 S. Pulaski Rd. -- demanding the store remain open.
The location is one of 900 stores closing across the U.S. as part of a company restructuring.
Activists say the closing unfairly targets the heavily Latino neighborhood -- forcing thousands of customers to travel.
"We also in my office received a number of phone calls, primarily from seniors in the neighborhood, worried about where they're going to go to fill their prescriptions," said Ald. Michael Rodriguez (22nd).
In a statement, CVS Health claims there are multiple pharmacies nearby that Little Village customers can get to on public transportation. The company also said store closure decisions are made with maintaining pharmacy access for underserved communities in mind:
"We've made the difficult decision to close our pharmacy at 2634 S. Pulaski in Chicago on June 7. All prescriptions will be transferred to the CVS Pharmacy at 5524 W. Cermak Road to ensure that patients continue to have uninterrupted access to service. Patients can also choose to fill their prescriptions at any CVS Pharmacy location convenient for them, including our multiple nearby locations easily accessible via public transportation. All store employees have selected the local CVS Pharmacy locations they wish to be transferred to and we're in the process of implementing those transfers in accordance with their union contracts.
"Maintaining access to pharmacy services in historically underserved communities is an important factor we consider when making store closure decisions. Other factors include local market dynamics, cultural and language barriers, consumer buying patterns, a community's store density, and ensuring there are other geographic access points to meet the needs of the community, including COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.
"We'll continue to provide Chicagoans with outstanding service at our nearly 70 other CVS Pharmacy locations throughout the city; 15 of which include a MinuteClinic and nine with a CVS HealthHUB, which offer an expanded selection of health and wellness products and services. We also offer prescription home delivery service to eligible patients through CVS.com and the CVS Pharmacy app to provide additional convenient access to medications."
CVS also provided a map of the pharmacies:
CVS further emphasized that the company restructuring involving a realignment of its brick-and-mortar footprint was announced seven months ago and began earlier this year. It will continue until 2024.
"Optimizing our footprint and updating some store locations that were chosen years – or decades – ago, allows us to invest in our colleagues and our consumer experience," CVS said in a statement.
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