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  • Writer's pictureSPARFL

Rural Florida pharmacies struggling, worsened by pandemic

NPR


When Michael Njoku answered his cell phone inside Bronson Pharmacy, the call was from a customer asking for her medications to be delivered to her home. It’s a service Njoku has provided since opening the business in 2015. He said he would be there in three minutes.


The nearest pharmacy is 11 miles away in Williston, so many residents of Bronson, a rural town of 1,000 people, rely on Njoku’s for delivery of prescription and over the counter medicine.


“It’s a lot of people with no cars, no transportation,” he said, “so we go to them.”

But running such a small operation has been tough, Njoku said. He has lost many customers to companies offering prescription drug services like GoodRX and Amazon.


“A lot of people don’t come because they’d rather get it online,” he said.


Two other reasons small, rural pharmacies across the country are struggling to keep doors open: insurance company practices and the pandemic.


Njoku runs the store on his own and said he has only about 35 regular customers.

“It’s not busy,” he said. “So, I can handle it.”


All but one shelf lining the 3,000 square foot building are empty. It’s not a supply chain issue; there is little demand for over-the-counter meds at his store. Not that Njoku is complaining.


“I have everything that I need,” he said.


Njoku said he tried to sell his business to a larger pharmacy chain in 2020, but the company denied his request, saying his location was too far from its other stores. Continue Reading

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