Washington’s pharmacy landscape sees closures amid industry shifts

Mar 7, 2024
Written by WR Communications

In 2023, Washington state experienced a notable surge in pharmacy closures, with a significant number of shutdowns, particularly in the Seattle area. Bartell Drugs and Rite Aid closures were particularly prominent, with more than half of the shuttered businesses belonging to these chains across King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties.

Rite Aid recently filed for bankruptcy in a move aimed to address unprofitable stores and restructure its substantial debt burden of approximately $4 billion. The acquisition of Bartell Drugs, a beloved Seattle institution, by Rite Aid in 2020 further added to the closures, as over 20 Bartell Drugs stores shut down in the Seattle area alone. The number of closures were a stark contrast when compared to the closures seen under Bartell Drugs’ ownership in the preceding decade.

Safeway and Walgreens have emerged as leading operators in the state, surpassing Rite Aid in the number of drugstores they operate.

The concentration of closures in the Seattle area underscores broader challenges facing the pharmacy industry, with economic pressures and evolving consumer preferences reshaping the market. As pharmacies navigate these changes, stakeholders will need to adapt strategies to ensure continued access to essential healthcare services for local communities.


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