BEACON FALLS — Beacon Falls Pharmacy announced Monday afternoon it will close its doors permanently on Tuesday, Aug. 20.
Robert and Marion Bradley, who founded the five-person, independent pharmacy in 2005, said they sold their business to Market 32 by Price Chopper in Oxford. Starting Wednesday, Aug. 21, Beacon Falls Pharmacy’s 700 customers can have their prescriptions filled at the pharmacy in the Market 32 grocery store at 300 Oxford Road.
“It’s been a pleasure to do this,” Robert Bradley said. “You get to serve the people of Beacon Falls. I do the deliveries myself, I get to visit all the old folks that I knew when I was a kid and now I’m going back and helping take care of them.”
The Bradleys aren’t going out of business by choice — they say the decision has been made for them by predatory business practices put forth by pharmacy benefit managers, companies usually hired by health care plan sponsors to negotiate the price of prescription drugs with drug manufacturers and pharmacies.
They are largely unregulated at the federal level, and critics argue there is not enough transparency in the negotiating process, allowing the managers to take advantage of pharmacies and sponsors.
The Bradleys have played an active role in the community since buying the empty half-acre lot at 20 North Main St. from the town and constructing their 3,000-square-foot pharmacy on it. They estimate having raised about $150,000 for students and community groups through the numerous fundraising events hosted in their parking lot.
“The kids, every weekend they’re doing car washes and can drives and bake sales and book sales, you name it, they’re doing it in our parking lot,” Bradley said.
He added that he had a hose built into the building specifically so kids could have car washes in the parking lot to raise money for various causes.
“That’s probably the lion’s share of my water bill every month,” he said. “But that’s OK, it’s not very big.”
Jaclyn Palomba, a Beacon Falls Pharmacy customer for the past three years, said she’s going to miss the store’s mom-and-pop feel.
“They’re very personable and I know I’ve called before when they’re not even open and if they’re here they’ll fill your prescription anyway,” Palomba said.
Bradley said mergers between corporate pharmacy chains and pharmacy benefit managers, like CVS’s purchase of Caremark in 2006, have cost them customers.
“They said there is going to be a firewall between Caremark and CVS,” Bradley said. “Then it became, gosh if you transfer your prescription to CVS we’ll give you a 90-day prescription for a 60-day copay, and then it became, if you don’t fill your prescriptions over here we won’t pay your copay, and then it became if you don’t fill your prescription here we won’t pay for any of the prescription.”
The Bradleys want the transition to Market 32 to be as seamless as possible for their customers. The pharmacy’s phone number will redirect to Market 32 after Aug. 20 and Marion Bradley and some of the technicians will work part-time in the new location for continuity.
Meanwhile, the Bradleys are looking for a tenant to fill the soon-to-be vacant space in Beacon Falls, and planning for retirement.
Robert Bradley plans to spend his retirement fishing off the coast line. Marion Bradley said she wants to cook a gourmet meal per day.
“It’s going to be OK,” Marion Bradley said.