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Independent Pennsylvania pharmacy closing 9 locations

CBS News Live
CBS News Pittsburgh Live

HARRISON CITY, Pa. (KDKA) -- An independent Pennsylvania pharmacy is closing nine of its stores, including a location in Westmoreland County. 

Mainline Pharmacy, which has a store in Harrison City, announced the closures on Facebook, saying, "This decision was not made lightly, and we understand the impact it may have on you and your loved ones." 

The business says so far in 2024, it has filled more than 17,000 prescriptions at a loss of over $350,000. Mainline Pharmacy blames the loss on pharmacy benefit managers, which it describes as the middlemen who contract with the insurance company and the pharmacy. 

The pharmacy says it filled more prescriptions in 2023 than in any of its 40-plus years of business, but on more than 30% of the prescriptions, it was paid less by the pharmacy benefit managers than what it cost to buy the medication from the wholesaler. The business said it's been filling prescriptions at up to $200 under the purchase price. 

Mainline Pharmacy said often a full day's worth of profitable prescriptions doesn't even offset an unprofitable day. "The harsh reality is we are forced to compete on an unfair playing field," the business wrote. 

It said the contracts offered by the pharmacy benefit managers get worse every year, and 2024 is the worst yet. 

"Your loyalty, as well as the loyalty and hard work of employees, are the main reasons we have managed to hold out as long as we have. Unfortunately, we have reached a point where continuing operations in the current climate is no longer viable," the pharmacy said. 

Customers are encouraged to call their local store and refill any medications before the closures, which are scheduled throughout March. Records will be sent to the nearest Rite Aid store. 

"While the Rite Aid closest to your store is where your records will be sent, any of their locations can retrieve your profiles that were previously with Mainline. With the Rite Aid acquisition, all your records will be accessible. We hope you give Rite Aid a chance to serve your needs. Please understand we have done everything we could possibly do to make this a smooth transition," the pharmacy said. 

Mainline Pharmacy Somerset and Mainline Pharmacy Long Term Care will stay open because they've found partnerships that operate outside of the traditional pharmacy benefit manager model, the business said. 

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