From Drug Store News, March 18:
Rite Aid is taking new steps to supports customers, employees and communities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts include offering free home delivery of certain prescriptions, as well as monitoring its drug and product supply chain, disinfecting stores and supporting front-line employees.
With regard to patients, Rite Aid has announced the immediate availability of home-delivery service upon request for prescriptions, with the company waiving delivery fees for eligible prescriptions. Rite Aid also highlighted the availability of drive-through pickup for prescriptions and OTC products at more than half of its 2,400 stores. Its pharmacists also are working with pharmacy benefit managers and physicians to ensure medication access, and can speak to patients about such options as 90-day refills, early refill authorizations and prescription delivery.
"As a healthcare company, the health and wellness of our communities, customers and associates is our first priority. We are taking many proactive precautions to minimize risk in our stores, offices and distribution centers, so that we can continue to serve as a critical healthcare resource to people across the country," said Heyward Donigan, Rite Aid president and CEO. "We will continue to monitor the situation closely and take actions to protect our communities, customers and associates. We encourage our customers to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for the most up-to-date information and facts on COVID-19."
On the supply chain side, Rite Aid said that it does not currently anticipate any significant near-term supply chain disruptions that would affect its ability to fill prescriptions. In addition to internal monitoring, Rite Aid said the Food and Drug Administration is monitoring medications made outside the United States and has advised manufacturers to alert the agency of any potential disruptions.
For front-end merchandise, the company said it is working procure hand sanitizers, cleansers, rubbing alcohol and other items, while also increasing its staffing levels to fulfill online orders faster. Rite Aid said in-store and online purchase limits on certain items have been implemented to ensure more customers are able to buy products.
Rite Aid said it also is focusing on enhanced cleaning and sanitization efforts both in stores and in its distribution centers to prevent the spread of viruses. It is employing third-party cleaning for stores while also directing associates to clean high-traffic surfaces throughout the day, and stores in high-outbreak areas are receiving special disinfecting services every day.
The company also is thinking about its associates, as Donigan mentioned to DSN in an exclusive interview Monday. The chain is sending “care kits” to all of its associates, and it has established human resources guidelines to include a “Pandemic Pay” policy to ensure associates are compensated if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined because of exposure.
"Rite Aid pharmacists are trusted and accessible healthcare professionals serving on the front lines of this crisis. Our stores remain open, and our Rite Aid team members are committed to supporting the health and wellness of our customers and communities for the duration of the pandemic," Donigan said. "We would like to thank all Rite Aid associates for their diligent and critical efforts during this challenging situation."