(Host) Two Rite-Aid pharmacies are operating under the watch of the Office of Professional Regulation.
That office is responding to complaints that the chain’s Randolph and downtown Burlington stores were operating without a pharmacy manager and hours were changed without notice.
Secretary of State Deb Markowitz says it’s a violation when people are unable to get prescriptions because the pharmacy is closed.
(Markowtiz) "People have a right to know when their pharmacy is open, and in fact, that’s set out in the rules. There are rules that talk about pharmacy hours, and while they are a business, they can decide to set their own hours that they believe will be convenient to their customers, they can’t simply arbitrarily change them. There needs to be some notice."
(Host) Officials decided against closing the stores when Rite-Aid promised immediate fixes. The pharmacies are being monitored as more complaints are investigated.
Rite Aid spokesperson Ashley Flower declined to comment on tape, but she says the pharmacies are in full compliance with Vermont law, and they are providing all the information requested by the board.
She says a shortage of pharmacists has made recruitment difficult, but Rite-Aid has doubled its efforts. The Burlington store will have a new pharmacist next week and hopes to return to normal hours within two weeks.
Flower says the Randolph store is operating with reduced pharmacy hours, but they are clearly posted.
Rite Aid hopes to expand hours in Randolph by the beginning of next year.