SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Pharmacies across the country are dealing with staffing shortages leading to long lines and upset customers.
The Walgreens pharmacy on Coburg Road in Eugene was closed Tuesday due to staffing shortages.
We visited the Walgreens in Springfield to speak with one woman who was wrapped up in a long line of angry customers.
“The line wasn’t moving at all,” said Gianna Sanders, a customer. “Most of the time, they’d been turned away and had to come back the next day because their prescriptions weren’t ready when they’re supposed to be.”
Gianna Saunders is a Springfield resident who waited nearly an hour to fill her prescription.
“I was completely out of my meds that I needed, so I had to wait and, hopefully, they’d still see me even after 5.”
Hope is what she hung onto in that long line. She says her pill bottle was empty and she couldn’t go without it.
Saunders told us it was hectic in there with around 15 people waiting in a line that felt like it was not moving.
“There were two ladies that were running it and then the pharmacist was going back and forth with the vaccines.”
We reached out the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Wednesday to ask about a pharmacist shortage.
They say their members are struggling to keep staffing levels up, especially as their workload increases with vaccinations.
“Flu vaccine season is really ramping up right now, so that’s just added work,” explains Ronna Hauer with NCPA. “Instead of giving one shot, you may be giving two.”
She says pharmacies played a huge role in administering the Covid vaccine.
We also spoke to the owner of Hirons, a local pharmacy chain.
While he says they’re not dealing with a shortage or long wait times, they do have some new open positions.
“We are low right now on the number of technicians that we need,” said Steve Hirons, “so I placed an ad today on [employment website Indeed.com] to try to hire some additional technicians.”
And with Walgreens recently taking over all of the Bi-Mart pharmacies, Hirons is hoping to hire on some of the pharmacy techs from Bi-Mart.
We also spoke with the Senior Director of External Relations with Walgreens, who told us they are seeing staffing shortages across the country.
He says quote, “In communities where staffing shortages have impacted our stores, we have adjusted continuity plans with the goal of creating minimal disruption to our customers and patients. We apologize for any inconvenience and disruption this has created.”
Walgreens sent us their full statement below:
Walgreens continuously reviews staffing levels, as we have throughout the pandemic. In communities where staffing shortages have impacted our stores, we have adjusted continuity plans with the goal of creating minimal disruption to our customers and patients. We apologize for any inconvenience and disruption this has created. In instances such as this where a local Walgreens store may have temporarily adjusted hours or disruption, our store team will direct customers, as appropriate, to the nearest Walgreens for their prescription needs, care and support, to help ensure continuity for our patients. On the occasion a store has a temporarily adjusted hours, it is reflected on the store locator, which is updated throughout the day at Walgreens.com/FindaStore and on the Walgreens mobile app. Customers who have questions about their medications can also talk to a Walgreens pharmacist using the Pharmacist Video Chat feature available 24/7 on Walgreens mobile app and website.