The closing of Sorg Sample Pharmacy, the oldest independently owned drugstore in Marion, on Dec. 27 is an all-too-often scenario in Iowa rural and urban communities.
The state had 234 rural independently owned pharmacies at the end of 2011. Ninety-four rural Iowa communities had only one pharmacy that was independently owned.
Sixty-six rural communities had a single independently owned drugstore that was 10 miles from any other pharmacy, according to a study by the RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.
The number of independently owned rural pharmacies in the United States was relatively constant from 2003 to 2006, peaking around May 2006, according to the UI study, authored by Kaitlin Boyle, Keith Mueller and Fred Ullrich.
One of the biggest changes came in the period from May 2006 through September 2008, when there was a rapid decline in the number of rural independently owned pharmacies nationally, from 7,395 to 6,799. The 8.1 percent drop took place after the introduction of the Medicare Part D program.
What are your preferences? Do you prefer independently-owned pharmacies or chain pharmacies for your pharmaceutical needs?