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Customers impacted as dozens of pharmacies close, adjust hours following protests

Brett Hoffland
Updated: June 02, 2020 06:46 PM
Created: June 02, 2020 04:23 PM

Dozens of pharmacies in Minnesota have been impacted following protests and demonstrations over the past week.

Some have temporarily closed as a precaution while others are destroyed from fire and looting.

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Now, the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy says there are steps you can take if you have questions about your prescriptions.

"We hoped and prayed nothing would happen to the pharmacy," said Jim Stage, Lloyd's Pharmacy owner.

It was the oldest independent pharmacy in St. Paul, but now, Lloyd's in the Midway neighborhood is a pile of rubble after it was looted and set on fire last week.

"It was just devastating and just so sad," Stage said.

Stage said at their sister location, Setzer Pharmacy, they're getting overwhelmed with calls.

"We're way backed up but we're doing our best to meet the needs as best and fast as we can," Stage said. "It's a disaster-type situation so we're filling people's prescriptions based on medical history that we can get and gather and prescription bottles because we have no record as of now so we're doing our best to safely take care of patients."

The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy said, last week, 16 pharmacies were either vandalized, looted or set on fire. Many others closed as a precaution and some still have reduced hours.

"At the height of this over the weekend, there were approximately 130 pharmacies affected," said Cody Wiberg, executive director of the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. "There may be still between 30 and 40 pharmacies that are closed with half of them significantly damaged where they won't be opening right away."

Wiberg said, if you were impacted, the best thing to do is call your regular pharmacy and you'll be automatically redirected to another one nearby. Plus, they're working to give people better access.

"We are encouraging the pharmacies to provide order services and delivery if people can't get to their pharmacies," Wiberg said.

The state is also finding temporary spaces for pharmacies to operate. Lloyd's is moving to a much smaller location in July, and getting help from others in the industry.

"I had a lot of extra equipment that I wasn't using so I called Jim up and offered to bring the equipment to him so he could get started right away," said Nick Rich, of Lake Elmo Pharmacy.

You can still see reminders of Lloyd's, like the famous blue awning, but it's about taking steps forward.

"We want to forgive the people that did this to our building," Stage said.

For now, messages of hope are making all the difference to start over.

"We just feel we owe it to the community to reopen it so that's the plan," Stage said.


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