Employee-owned retailer Bi-Mart is getting out of the pharmacy business. The Eugene, Ore.-based company is selling its pharmacy business — including patient files and pharmacy inventory — from 56 stores in Oregon, Idaho and Washington.
"This decision, while difficult, is strategically important as we move to strengthen our solid financial position and expand our plans for future growth in the Northwest," said Rich Truett, president and CEO, Bi-Mart. "Bi-Mart's core business is healthy and strong, however over the years factors such as increasing costs and ongoing reimbursment pressure has led in part to our decision. We look forward to partnering with Walgreens to transition our pharmacy staff and members as seamless as possible."
For most of the stores, Bi-Mart patients’ prescriptions will transfer to a nearby Walgreens location. In some areas where Walgreens does not operate stores, the company will operate the pharmacies within Bi-Mart locations under the Walgreens brand — largely in rural Oregon.
Bi-Mart had previously transferred files to Walgreens in the Portland, Ore., metro area.
“Walgreens is pleased to introduce more patients to our trusted pharmacy services, that we currently provide in over 9,000 locations in communities across the country including more than 70 across Oregon,” said Rob Ewing, regional vice president, Walgreens. “We look forward to welcoming Bi-Mart patients to Walgreens pharmacy services, as well as providing employment opportunities to Bi-Mart pharmacy associates in available positions throughout our stores where they can continue to meet the needs of their patients.”
The move will grow Walgreens’ patient numbers in the Pacific Northwest — an area where Rite Aid recently grew its profile with the acquisition of regional stalwart Bartell Drugs.
The companies said they expect the files to begin transferring in October, with the process likely to be complete by January 2022. Walgreens said Bi-Mart pharmacists and pharmacy staff would have an opportunity to apply for available positions at Walgreens.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.