MEDFORD, Ore. — Rite Aid pharmacies in Jackson County are back open after abruptly shutting down Friday, a development that caused concern among clients who get their prescriptions from one of the locations.
When Rite Aid pharmacy client Tim Larive first reached out to NewsWatch 12, he said, "I'll be dead in two weeks if I don't get these medications." He found out about the closures when he went to pick up his prescription at Rite Aid on Friday. He then learned that the company's pharmacy locations in Medford, Phoenix, and Ashland were all closed.
Larive tried contacting other pharmacies in the area, but was told by Walgreens that it would take two weeks to fill his prescriptions due to the sudden increase in demand. The Walgreens pharmacy location on Barnett Road in Medford started curtailing its hours some time ago due to its own staffing shortages.
"This isn't like closing down a coffee shop. This is critical medical care," said Larive. "We're not customers, we're patients, and we should be treated as such and at least given some information as to why they've closed down, when they would reopen, any other alternatives as to where I can get my medications. None of that information was provided by Rite Aid."
Rite Aid released a statement explaining that they had a temporary staffing shortage due to a medical emergency and multiple call-ins from different pharmacy employees. The company said that they'd placed signs explaining the closures outside of their pharmacies, and directed customers to their nearest store in Grants Pass.
"All affected locations are now open and have resumed normal operating hours," a Rite Aid spokesperson said. "We're eager and grateful to support the whole health of our customers in the Medford area."
Larive said that he's been a client of Rite Aid in Phoenix for about five years, but he's now considering moving his prescriptions permanently.
"There are people out there — to certain extent, myself included — that require their medications in order to basically stay alive," Larive continued. "It's not optional. It's not something you can skip. I've had to ration my medications over the weekend because I was unable to pick up my prescription in a timely manner. I can only imagine there's people a lot more need of medications in me that are going through the same thing."