WHEATLAND – The Shopko Pharmacy in Wheatland is in dire straits right now due to the Shopko Corporation’s outstanding bill of 67 million to their pharmaceutical and medical supplier, McKesson Corporation.
On Dec. 27, 2018, McKesson announced it would no longer send inventory to the company when the company missed another scheduled payment. On Dec. 31, Shopko executives emailed McKesson again to say the company would not pay McKesson for drugs received and would not commit to a future date when payments would be made. The Shopko Corporation in planning to file for Bankruptcy the middle of January, which would wipe out their debt to McKesson.
In response, McKesson brought a suit against Shopko in Brown County Circuit Court in Wisconsin. They were seeking a restraining order to keep Shopko Pharmacies from selling medications that were supplied by McKesson and already in stock at the various stores, but were not paid for. The pharmaceutical company is attempting to regain some of the medications since they won’t be receiving payment for them.
Brown County Judge William Atkinson rejected the order for fear of the repercussions of individuals unable to get medications and it could cause great harm to the population. Especially in rural areas.
Shopko announced its plan to close 39 stores in 14 states at the beginning of December. At the time the company operated 363 stores in 24 states. The company reviewed the long-term profitability and decided they could not afford to keep the stores open. Greybull is the only Wyoming store scheduled to close its doors. Kansas is the state losing the most with six stores. Most of the pharmacies in the midwest have been sold to other companies, but the stores themselves are staying open.
Although the pharmacy has not received any new medications in over two weeks, Wheatland Shopko pharmacist, Lyndsi Davis, is working to keep the window open and providing prescriptions as best she can. Last week Cindy Geile, owner of South Street Pharmacy, assisted by selling vials and caps from her own inventory.
“Lyndsi and I both are all about doing what’s best for the community,” explained Geile. “We may be competitors, but we are also health professionals. We roll our sleeves up and work together for our customers and our town. This is what rural medicine is.
As of press time, Michelle Hansen of Shopko Public Relations did not return calls for comment as to whether the pharmacy here is closing its window. While the future of the Shopko pharmacy is in flux, South Street Pharmacy is available and willing to assist patients who need medications filled.
My inventory and ordering costs have jumped to cover the demand, but it’s nothing we can’t handle,” Geile said. “We have two pharmacists on staff, three technicians and offer delivery for the folks that can’t get to the store. I believe everything is going to work out just fine.”
Editor's Note: The Shopko Pharmacy is indeed closing, but the store will remain open for now.