The Impact Of Pharmacy Strikes: What Everyone Needs To Know

pharmacist talking to a patient
Alyssa Guzik
November 1, 2023

As the winter season begins to ramp up, many Black Americans are stocking up on not only seasonal relief, but also, their daily prescriptions.

Around 58% of all Black Americans take some kind of prescription drug. Because of the well documented health disparities in America, many Black Americans rely on their local pharmacists for everything from filling their medications to offering guidance on everyday ailments.

November 1, 2023, is the first day that pharmacists at CVS and Walgreens are planning a nationwide walkout. Even with thousands of locations around the country, many pharmacies have faced staffing shortages and excessive hours. Smaller walkouts have been happening in cities like Kansas City since the beginning of October, however, movement toward  a nationwide strike is picking up.

While supporting union workers rights to fair and equitable labor and wages regulations is vital for the survival of unions, this will negatively affect the Black community. Many Black Americans live in pharmacy deserts where it is already harder to acquire their prescriptions. A countrywide strike would make matters worse.

There isn’t a current timeline on how long this walkout may last, however, there is hope and help for those affected. While a pharmacist strike will hurt those in need, Walmart and Target pharmacies, which aren’t expected to be involved with the strike, offer an alternative. There are also online pharmacies that will mail medicines directly.

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