Readers asked us: Multiple readers reached out to the Post recently asking about pharmacy hours after they had difficulty finding locations open late at night.
Some Johnson Countians looking for medicine refills late at night may be finding that process more difficult than in years past.
What’s going on? It turns out there are hardly any 24-hour pharmacies left in Johnson County, leaving residents here who are looking for emergency or quick refills on medication at odd hours with fewer easy options.
- Retail drugstore giant CVS confirms none of its Johnson County locations are 24-hour anymore.
- Competitor Walgreens says it has only one 24-hour pharmacy still in operation in Johnson County.
- Likewise, online hours displayed by pharmacies in local Walmart, HyVee and Price Chopper stores show none currently operate 24 hours.
The last 24-hour drugstore: The Walgreens at 15100 W. 87th Street in Lenexa appears to be the only pharmacy location in Johnson County open 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the count, according to online web searches and speaking with representatives from CVS and Walgreens, two of the biggest commercial pharmacy retailers in the nation.
- The only time the 87th Street pharmacy is closed is from 1:30 to 2 a.m. for an employee break.
- Meanwhile, CVS has only one pharmacy in the entire state of Kansas that is still open 24 hours, located at 8101 State Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas.
- Another CVS store near 75th Street and Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park is open 24 hours a day, but its pharmacy is only in operation from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Local impact: When Johnson County resident Rebecca Crowder called her doctor’s office late one night recently looking to get an antibiotic, she was shocked to be told they would write the prescription but had no way to fill it that night.
- “They initially told me that they couldn’t call my prescription in because there was no 24-hour pharmacy in the metro,” Crowder said.
- However, after her husband did some Googling, the couple eventually found the 24-hour Walgreens location in Lenexa, yet Crowder was still astonished that it was her only option.
- “It’s been a while, but we used to go get our kid’s medication in the middle of the night at 75th and Metcalf,” she said. “So to be told they were no longer open late, it was surprising.”
The closures: CVS spokesperson Amy Thibault said the changes to their Kansas City metro pharmacy hours are not new. In fact, she said, the limited hours for the CVS pharmacy at 7501 Metcalf Avenue were implemented three years ago.
- Changing several of their pharmacies to limited hours was a “logistical decision,” Thibault said.
- “It’s a part of the regular course of business,” she said. “We periodically review operating hours to make sure that we’re open during peak customer demand.”
Bigger picture: The pharmacy industry more broadly has been under more reported stress in recent years, especially since the start of the pandemic.
- Last year, NBC news reported on rising levels of anxiety and overwork among pharmacists, who said corporate consolidation and a drive to increase profit margins have led to falling or stagnant wages and understaffing and many locations throughout the U.S.
- The results of an annual survey of pharmacists conducted by The Pharmaceutical Journal showed that in 2021 nearly 25% of respondents said they were “very stressed at work,” up from around 10% the year before.
Other option: In lieu of finding a pharmacy open late at night, Crowder said the only other option her doctor gave her was to go to the hospital to get the medication she needed.
- However, she said, that was the last thing she wanted to do.
- “We rely on being able to access medication without going to the hospital,” Crowder said. “If you go, that’s very expensive and a waste of a doctor’s time when they have far more important priorities.”
- Though hardly any local pharmacies stay open 24 hours now, most have hours that extend into the evening time — including some that stay open as late as 10 or 11 p.m. — to accommodate customers outside of normal business hours.
24-hour pharmacies: Below is a list of all 24-hour CVS and Walgreens pharmacies located in the greater Kansas City region.
- 8101 State Ave., Kansas City, KS 66112
- 930 N. Belt Hwy., St. Joseph, Missouri, 64506
- 382 S. Noland Rd., Independence, Missouri, 64050
- 15100 W. 87th St., Lenexa, 66219
- 7739 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas, 66112 (temporarily closed)
- 3421 W. 6th St., Lawrence, 66049