CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens are reducing pharmacy hours

CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens are reducing pharmacy hours

CVS and Walmart are reducing pharmacy hours across the United States to improve work-life balance for employees as the chains continue to struggle with staffing shortages in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CVS said it will be "adjusting hours at select stores" in the spring as part of a periodic review of "hours to ensure we're open during peak customer demand." In a statement to CBS MoneyWatch, a company spokesperson said that the move will affect nearly two-thirds of the company's 9,000 retail pharmacies beginning in March.

A spokesperson for CVS, the largest US pharmacy chain by revenue, said it is making schedule changes to "ensure our pharmacy teams are available to serve patients when they need it most." "If a pharmacy is closed, a patient can visit any open CVS pharmacy location to help with their immediate prescription needs," the spokesperson added.

Walmart reduces hours and raises wages

Walmart also said it is cutting hours at its pharmacy locations nationwide to improve the "work-life balance" for its partners.

Walmart pharmacies are open from 9 am to 7 pm. Monday through Friday. Previously it was open until 9 pm on weekdays.

"Walmart is committed to helping our partners live better. Walmart has an amazingly strong pharmacist team, and we're making this change to not only enhance their work-life balance but also to maintain the best level of service for our customers," Walmart said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch.

Walmart said the schedule is being changed based on feedback from pharmacy employees and customers.

"By positioning our teams at the hours when our customers say they want to visit our pharmacy. We can better provide excellent customer service and support our partners as they continue to serve their communities daily," Walmart said.

In mid-June, Walmart announced a pay increase for more than 36,000 pharmacy technicians, bringing their average hourly wage to more than $20.

Walgreens hires more pharmacists and raises wages.

A spokesperson for Walgreens, the second-largest pharmacy chain in the United States, said it has had to adjust pharmacy hours over the past 12 months due to staffing challenges.

Walgreens added that it has hired thousands of pharmacists and increased pharmacy workers' salaries to address ongoing employment issues. She said the efforts are paying off, and the problems are calming down.

"We've seen positive hiring trends over the past several months as we work to return more stores to normal hours," Walgreens said.

Pharmacies aggressively hired pharmacists and pharmacy technicians beginning in February 2021, when COVID-19 vaccines were first made available to the general public, to accelerate efforts to vaccinate as many people as possible. Pharmacist vacancies skyrocketed, and pharmacy chains offered huge signing bonuses of up to $20,000.

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