Eugene-based Bi-Mart will close all pharmacies in its stores in the Portland metropolitan area on Tuesday, saying they are no longer profitable.
Factors cited by Bi-Mart for the move include increasing competition in the market in recent years; rising fees charged by third-party administrators on Medicare Part D prescriptions; reduced access to health care plans; and anticipated increasing costs from the new state business tax that takes effect Jan. 1.
“Despite the great work by the pharmacy staff at our Portland area stores, these conditions have tilted the field to where these pharmacies are unable to operate profitably,” the company said in a news release.
A company spokesman was traveling and didn’t immediately respond to a request for additional comment.
Employees at the closed pharmacies will be offered placement in other jobs or location where possible, the company said. Workers who aren’t retained by the company will qualify for severance.
It didn’t say how many employees would be affected and didn’t provide any details about the severance.
All Portland area Bi-Mart stores will remain open. Bi-Mart is providing Walgreens with the customer prescription files for the 13 stores losing pharmacies. It will transfer those records on Nov. 11 to nearby Walgreens locations.
Bi-Mart said customers don’t need to take any action and will receive a letter in the mail with more detail on their prescription records.
The pharmacy department is a small part of our overall business in the Portland area,” the company said, “so this decision will allow us to focus on our core business and to continue to provide value to our members.”
Bi-Mart announced the closure of pharmacies at its stores in Washington state earlier this year.
The company has 79 stores in Idaho, Oregon and Washington and said it has continued to expand in the region. Bi-Mart recently opened four new stores in Washington and Idaho, and has started work on a new store in Rathdrum, Idaho, located east of Spokane.
The company operates six stores in Bend and Central Oregon, and 11 stores in Lane County, including six in the Eugene-Springfield area.