By James Day
Mt. Angel Drug, that venerable local institution at the corner of Main and Charles streets, is closing its doors at the end of the month.
Jack Holt owns Mt. Angel Drug and 24 Hi-School Pharmacy locations.He said that the loss of the Mount Angel outlet’s contract with Providence Health and other structural changes have made the business ”just not viable.”
“I do not feel good about it,” Holt told Our Town. “I was a pharmacist there for years and my daughter worked there as well. These are our customers and that means so much more in a tight-knit town like Mount Angel.”
Holt bought the Mount Angel operation in 1998 from Fred Parkinson, who had owned and operated the store since 1968.
Financial challenges for the outlet began about 10 years ago when Providence Health terminated its contract with Mt. Angel Drug.
“For most of its time operating as a pharmacy,” Holt said in a press release, “[Mt. Angel Drug] served both retail customers as well as long-term care patients in its capacity of being the pharmacy provider for the Providence Benedictine Nursing Home. When Providence Health decided to terminate its contract… the store lost about 50 percent of its business.”
Also lost was the speed and efficiency with which Mt. Angel Drug could serve nursing home customers. Providence began using its own pharmacy in Portland, “but we could take care of it in five minutes,” Holt said in the Our Town interview.
Another key factor, Holt said, was the “continuing erosion of reimbursements to pharmacies by Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) as well as the push by them for patients to use mail order.”
Holt is working with Oregon’s congressional delegation on federal legislation to address the PBM issue, and he plans to visit with them in Washington in the coming weeks.
Over the years Holt has reduced staff in Mount Angel, with the employee roster down from five to two. Both employees will be transferred to other Hi-School Pharmacy locations, Holt said. Prescription accounts will be moved to Hi-School Pharmacy’s Silverton location.
Holt is hosting a thank you event for customers on Friday, Sept. 29, the store’s last day. See the information box for details.
“While it was an extremely difficult decision to come to, we want to thank the people of Mount Angel for their support and friendship over the past several decades,” Holt said in the press release. “We look forward to continuing to serve their needs in Silverton.”
Mt. Angel Drug hosts customer ‘Thank You’
Friday, Sept. 29. Cake and refreshments will be served throughout the day.
The pharmacy is open from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 6 p.m.