The Illinois Retail Merchants Association continues to showcase initiatives put in place by retailers to support their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic through the “Illinois Retail Cares” campaign, this week highlighting the critical role played by pharmacies.
Pharmacies are particularly important in medically underserved areas where they are often relied on to fill gaps in health care, and during these extraordinary times pharmacies around the state are going above and beyond to keep us safe even though the state continues to cut their reimbursements for serving patients in these areas.
From supplying PPE to first responders, holding food drives and setting up testing sites, pharmacies have stepped up to provide for patients and communities all while making major adjustments to provide safe working and shopping conditions. These actions to support their communities comes as pharmacies and other retailers experienced a historic 16.4 percent drop in retail sales in April.
Examples of pharmacies providing assistance to Illinois communities include:
- Doug’s Compounding Pharmacy in Paxton created its own pharmaceutical grade, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and donated some to area police departments, sheriff’s offices, and healthcare facilities.
- Lehan Drugs donated to “Give DeKalb County” in support of community organizations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Lehan Drugs is offering patients free next day delivery for medications to limit contact between staff and patients. Lehan Drugs also celebrated the graduation of one of its employees by holding a cap and gown and red carpet ceremony.
- Walgreens has stepped up to provide relief to communities and patients through access to drive-thru testing for COVID-19, adjusting its annual Red Nose campaign to a digital effort to assist children most affected by COVID-19, and donating $100,000 to the CDC Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund. Additionally, with graduation ceremonies canceled, a Joliet Walgreens location held its own ceremony for graduating staff members.
- CVS Health gave $1 million to address food insecurity and other community needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CVS Health Foundation also pledged to match up to $1 million in employee contributions to the CVS Health Employee Relief Fund, a public charity supporting colleagues during unanticipated and unavoidable financial hardships and emergencies.
- Health Mart pharmacies are offering free COVID-19 tests in select locations across the country, with 60 percent of its pharmacies serving low-income neighborhoods and rural communities. Appointments can be made online and include locations in Illinois.
- Oswald Pharmacy partnered with the Naperville Jaycees and Men in Black Pest Control to hold a drive-up food drive. The funds and donated items were disbursed among relief and support organizations throughout the Naperville area.
- Pharmacies are promoting social distancing through technology and curbside pickup of prescriptions with Brighton Pharmacy utilizing a free downloadable mobile app for order placements and Well Creek Pharmacy closing its lobby to provide curbside pickup.
“Pharmacies have always been crucial to the health and wellbeing of our communities, and now they are taking extra steps to ensure Illinoisans can safely obtain the medications and supplies they need. Additionally, many are providing needed supplies to first responders and are actively engaged in the fight to end the COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful for their exceptional work and adaptability during this time, and we know this work will be instrumental to the recovery our state’s economy,” said Rob Karr, president & CEO, Illinois Retail Merchants Association.