Chain buys out pharmacy
The nation's largest pharmacy chain has bought out the pharmacy in Port Aransas and has no plans to replace it.
So, as of Tuesday, Aug. 21, Port Aransas will be without a pharmacy.
Bob Mueller, owner/pharmacist at Port "A" Pharmacy, said a representative of the CVS pharmacy chain "showed up a couple of months ago and made a proposal to me that, economically, I could not justify not taking."
"We've been suffering from decreasing insurance reimbursements. It's gotten worse over the last year, and it will get worse," Mueller said.
Mueller said support from the community was not the issue. Instead, he said, "It's a matter of the changing business climate within the pharmacy industry due to insurance reimbursement."
Initially, 60 percent of the Port "A" Pharmacy customer base had prescription coverage. Today, 85 percent of the customers have prescription cards.
"Reimbursement rates are consistently dropping. It costs the patient more, and we get paid considerably less," Mueller said.
CVS pharmacies face the same dilemma, but because of the size and scope of the corporation, "they have access to revenue strains through the drug companies that independents don't. In laymen's terms, they buy in bigger volume and have more clout in dealing with insurance and drug companies," Mueller said.
As of Tuesday morning, Aug. 21, Port "A" Pharmacy customers' prescriptions will exist in the computer bank at the CVS pharmacy on Padre Island at the corner of Park Road 22 and Commodore (at the south end of the "Island Road"). Customers may have their prescriptions filled at that pharmacy or have the pharmacy transfer them to their pharmacy of choice. Contact the Padre Island CVS at (361) 949-4894.
After Monday, Mueller says he will stay here, do some fishing and work just enough to keep his license active.
"I moved down here seven years ago (and was) basically retired. Everybody wanted a pharmacy, so I did that. But with changing economics, it makes less sense," Mueller said.
The pharmacy, which opened Dec. 26, 2004, employs seven people, including Mueller.
Some will go to work for CVS, others who worked part-time and had other jobs will continue with their other employment. Some have chosen not to go with CVS, but all employees already have employment or are assured of future employment, according to Mueller.
"Economically, it would have been imprudent for me not to accept the (CVS) offer," Mueller said.
CVS has "no plans at this time to open a new store in Port Aransas," according to Mike DeAngelis, manager of corporate communications for CVS.