Walgreens Pharmacies in Topeka face closures and hour changes due to staffing shortages

Walgreens is responding to temporary closures of some of their Topeka pharmacies due to staffing closures.
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 10:22 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Walgreens is responding to temporary closures of some of their Topeka pharmacies, due to staffing closures.

Several viewers say changing hours and closed doors at some Topeka Walgreens pharmacies are causing problems for them and their doctors.

Four of their eight pharmacies were closed Friday, Oct. 21st, Southwest 37th and Topeka, 21st and Fairlawn, 37th and Wanamaker and 29th and Gage.

A Walgreens spokesperson told 13 News they had to reduce pharmacy hours to mitigate pressure created by staffing shortages and they are trying to make adjustments with minimal disruption to customers.

University of Kansas Health System St. Francis, Chief Operating Officer, Todd Blackington, says the staffing issues aren’t unique to Walgreens.

“Almost any position here at the hospital you can name we have a need and so we’re sympathetic to that. We get it but at the same time we have to figure out if this is a new reality for a little bit, how do we adjust to make sure patients are cared for”, says Blackington.

One viewer told 13 News each time he would go the pharmacy it was closed or there was a long wait which resulted in him going days without his medication.

Another viewer says she waited five days to have just one of the many medications that she really needed transferred only to wait in line for more than an hour to pick it up.

Regulations don’t allow all prescriptions to be transferred. The Kansas Board of Pharmacy confirms limits on transferring certain controlled substances, such as narcotics.

“If my pharmacy is closed it’s hardest to transfer that prescription to one that’s open so that’s going to be a pretty important piece for people who are in pain or need those medications”, says Blackington.

One viewer told us that’s what happened when they needed their son’s ADHD medicine sent to a closed pharmacy on the weekend, when their doctor was not available.

St. Francis says they started seeing the situation in early summer.

In response, they say providers have started checking in advance when possible to be sure a patient’s preferred pharmacy is open and sending prescriptions for surgery before the procedure to be sure they have them.

“We’re certainly trying to be as proactive as we can be to know which locations may or may not be open then send the prescription to a right location. We rely also on our patients to maybe do some of that work so that we can work as a team and make sure that people get the stuff that they need,” Blackington says.