EUGENE, Ore. -- Bi-Mart announced Thursday that the company will leave the pharmacy business, selling all 56 of its pharmacies in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington state to Walgreens. The sale includes all of Bi-Mart's prescription files and inventory.
Bi-Mart stores aren't going anywhere, but the company's pharmacies will either shut down and transfer prescriptions to nearby Walgreens locations or remain operating under the Walgreens brand in "select areas where Walgreens does not have nearby stores," primarily in rural Oregon.
Bi-Mart said that pharmacies in the Portland metro area and in several other markets have already been closed, with prescriptions transferred to Walgreens.
“This decision, while difficult, is strategically important as we move to strengthen our solid financial position and expand our plans for future growth in the Northwest,” said Rich Truett, president and CEO of Bi-Mart. “Bi-Mart’s core business is healthy and strong, however over the years factors such as increasing costs and ongoing reimbursement pressure has led in part to our decision. We look forward to partnering with Walgreens to transition our pharmacy staff and members as seamless as possible.”
Transfer of most prescription files is set to begin in October and be completed by January, "subject to customary closing conditions." Pharmacists and pharmacy staff at Bi-Mart locations will have an opportunity to apply for open positions at Walgreens.
“Walgreens is pleased to introduce more patients to our trusted pharmacy services, that we currently provide in over 9,000 locations in communities across the country including more than 70 across Oregon,” said Rob Ewing, regional vice president of Walgreens. “We look forward to welcoming Bi-Mart patients to Walgreens pharmacy services, as well as providing employment opportunities to Bi-Mart pharmacy associates in available positions throughout our stores where they can continue to meet the needs of their patients.”
Patients whose prescriptions are being transferred will be notified by mail, the companies said, and both Bi-Mart and Walgreens pledged to work together on a smooth transition for patients.
Financial terms of the deal between Walgreens and Bi-Mart were not disclosed.