Let’s do a quick test: close your eyes and see if you can picture all the Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid locations in Owensboro.
Did you get two Walgreens? (Frederica/Booth and 54/Fairview)
Two CVS’s? (Frederica/Parrish and 54/Fairview)
And four Rite Aids? (1921 Parrish, 1735 Scherm, 3026 E 4th and 2440 New Hartford)
Each of the nation’s largest three pharmacy chains are well represented in Owensboro. We also have several locally-owned and operated pharmacies. But with the announcement Tuesday that Walgreens is buying Rite Aid, things could get interesting.
The deal puts together two of the top three chains, which combined will have nearly 13,000 U.S. stores. That would catapult the merged company above CVS, which has 7,800 stores.
“Upon completion of the merger,” a joint statement released by both companies Tuesday explaining the acquisition stated, “Rite Aid will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Walgreens Boots Alliance, and is expected to initially operate under its existing brand name. Working together, decisions will be made over time regarding the integration of the two companies, ultimately creating a fully harmonized portfolio of stores and infrastructure.”
The statement calls the deal “another sign of increased consolidation in health care as the industry changes due to the Affordable Care Act and an aging population.”
It still needs to pass the antitrust review, though, which will take a while.
So what does that mean for Owensboro?
Nothing, at least for now.
Walgreen’s Media Relation Specialist Phil Caruso told Owensboro Living Wednesday that the transaction is not expected to officially close until the second half of the calendar year for 2016, as was reported in the 2015 end of fiscal year report Wednesday morning.
“Upon completion of the acquisition, Rite Aid stores are expected to continue to carry their brand name. Customers should be able to continue to use their local Rite Aid without interruption, “ Curuso said.