The failure of insurance companies to fully reimburse pharmacies for the full cost of prescription drugs has cost the City of Batavia its only independently owned pharmacy.
Alberty Drug Store, operating locally since 1922, won't see its 101st year in business, confirmed co-owner Christopher Casey this morning.
Starting this week, it's only open to fill prescriptions. All other retail items have been removed from the store. The drug store will continue to fill prescriptions until sometime in July. Prescriptions will be transferred to another pharmacy though customers can choose their own pharmacy if they prefer. They will need to make their own arrangements for the transfers. The negotiations with other pharmacies to accept the prescriptions is ongoing.
"This is not a decision made lightly," Casey said."But a decision was made because of profitability and lack of profitability, filling an Eliquis prescription for the cost $500 that insurance reimburses six weeks later for $475. That's been the trend that's been going on for several years."
Independent pharmacies have also been hurt because a Rochester drug co-op has closed and that removed the rebate structure that helped locally owned shops.
"That money has been gone for four or five years," Casey said. "That's money that we used to go into the bottom line. So in essence, it makes it unfortunately unprofitable."
The 66-year-old Casey started in the pharmacy business when he was 13 and has owned five pharmacies during his career.
Casey and his son Kevin Casey also own and operate a pharmacy in Victor. There are no plans currently to close that pharmacy but Casey said there was no problem with the business volume at Alberty.
"If you're losing money, you don't make it up in volume," Casey said. "And that's really the case. There are some things we'd make some money on, but pharmacies basically make it on the difference between the cost and what's paid. And that's dictated unfortunately by insurances. There's really no ability to negotiate with insurances."