PHARMACY DESERTS: You May Not Be Able to Depend on Neighborhood Pharmacies When You Need Them the Most

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

Author of How to Prep When You’re Broke and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course

Who doesn’t love the “Big 3” multibillion-dollar Fortune 500 pharmacies: Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid? Well, actually, a lot of people. For years, they’ve brought us convenience and become our neighborhood pharmacies, but as they invaded towns across the United States, they pushed Main Street independent mom-and-pop drug stores out of business.  

Now, after their great takeover, they may not be as reliable as they’d like us to think.

Neighborhood pharmacies across the United States are at a breaking point. 

Profit targets, cost cutting, and inflation have led to the “Big 3” shuttering of more than 1,500 pharmacies across the United States. Rite Aid has filed for bankruptcy. (I haven’t yet found a list but will share it when I do.) The past two years have been brutal for this industry, which seemed to be in its heyday back in 2020, with vaccines, sick-care products, and at-home tests.

Supply chain shortages, theft, and financial penalties for Big Pharma’s role in the opioid crisis continue to force the closure of at least one pharmacy in the United States per day. 

A new reality is here to stay: over 40% of counties in the United States now live in a complete “pharmacy desert” – meaning that every resident needs to drive at least 15 minutes to get to the closest pharmacy. But what about people who don’t have reliable transportation? Is a sick person supposed to get on the city bus and take public transportation, potentially infecting their fellow passengers, just to get the medications they need to treat their illness? And what about those in rural areas? Some folks face as much as a two-hour drive to get necessary medications. If their closest pharmacy closes, that drive could become even longer.

And who is it again that needs medications?

Oh. Yeah. Sick people. Folks who have no business getting behind the wheel and driving half a day round trip.

Although the focus of this article is pharmacies, it’s also important to note that over 80% of counties in the US now lack adequate healthcare infrastructure.  If you need medical help quickly, you’d better hope you’re in the 20% of American counties where you can access it.

And then there was the walkout.

Just last month, at least 4500 pharmacists and pharmacy techs across the country walked out in protest of “deteriorating working conditions.” What kind of conditions had them leaving sick people without a way to get their medications?

Chain pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens have consistently slashed staffing levels while saddling their front-line workers with a burgeoning list of additional duties. The situation was bad before the coronavirus pandemic; COVID-19 made it worse. It has only gone downhill since then, a USA TODAY investigation found last month.

Stores that a decade ago might have had two pharmacists and six pharmacy technicians filling an average of 500 prescriptions a day now may have half the staff and an even higher prescription volume – plus an endless crush of vaccine appointments, rapid tests and patient consultation calls, the investigation found.

In addition, every task is timed and measured against corporate goals that reward speed and profits. Staff who do not fill prescriptions fast enough, answer the phones quickly enough or drum up enough vaccination business can face discipline, reassignment or termination.

The pressure, pharmacists told USA TODAY, has led to increased medication errors that can endanger patients.

Imagine you’re in the situation described above – in a “pharmacy desert.” You’ve driven or taken public transit for 20 minutes or more, and all you want to do is fill the prescription you got at the walk-in clinic and get antibiotics for the strep bacteria raging in your throat.

You get there, and the pharmacy staff is out front holding a sign. You can’t get your meds.

It’s a dangerous way to live.

Everyone agrees on two things: 

  1. The next medical crisis is just around the corner.  
  2. You can’t count on the healthcare system to keep you well. 

Whether it comes in the form of a bioweapon or something more mundane like an ear infection – you and your family need to be prepared. You may not be able to rely on neighborhood pharmacies.

Dr. Jim Thorp, one of the nation’s leading critics of the corrupting influence of Big Pharma, believes that now – more than ever – people should be prepared for the next pandemic: 

“I’ve strongly recommended “stockpiling” critical medications, including antibiotics, since the turn of the century. This has been an incredible investment as many friends, family and patients have benefited.  Now, in winter of 2023, this recommendation is even more crucial.” 

But you can’t just order antibiotics, antifungals, and ivermectin on Amazon.

So how can you get prepped for the Pharmageddon?

I recommend this medical emergency kit with an assortment of life-saving medications – including ivermectin, amoxicillin, and a Z-pak. It even comes with a guidebook to aid in the safe use of these life-saving medications, so you have on hand what you need for anything from anthrax to tick bites to COVID – or even to a bioweapon like the plague. 

This kit is prescription-only – you can’t find it in any store or pharmacy. Simply fill out a short questionnaire after purchase, and a trusted Wellness Company doctor will confirm your suitability and issue your prescription Medical Emergency Kit. (You can find a review of my own experience here.)

I recently used my own medical kit. Now, please understand I don’t recommend self-treating – that would be irresponsible. Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them can reduce the effect of them on you when you do need them. This story is purely anecdotal and should not be construed as medical advice.

As I’ve written before, I recently had a severe ankle injury and, under doctor’s orders, was completely off my feet for months. When I woke up with a sore throat and a fever that kept going up through the day, despite all the zinc lozenges I continuously chomped, I was pretty sure I had strep throat.

Getting to the doctor was going to be a nightmare with the giant boot on my foot (and no vehicle currently), so I went to my hall closet and self-administered one of these strep tests. (It’s very important to confirm an infection, as you don’t want to develop a resistance to antibiotics.) It was no surprise when it came back positive. Then, all I had to do was pop open the guidebook that came with my Wellness Company Medical Emergency Kit and select the antibiotic that was most suitable. Within a couple of days I was feeling much better, and by the time I’d taken the entire course of antibiotics recommended, I was totally fine.

But it isn’t just about convenience. It’s potentially about life and death. If you live too far away from a pharmacy, or if your local pharmacist has chosen the day you’re sick to walk out, what are you supposed to do? Wait for your illness to worsen? Just throw your hands up in the air and die?

It’s vital not to be caught unprepared. Don’t be reliant on the broken and corrupt medical-industrial complex. If you or someone in your family gets sick and requires medication that you can’t get, you’ll regret not having taken the steps to prepare. Order a Medical Emergency Kit from The Wellness Company for peace of mind. (Use the code ORGANICPREPPER for 10% off)

Oh – and for all the readers who are upset about antibiotics and claim they’d never take them and they’ll guzzle essential oils and herbal teas instead, that’s fine. Leave the greatest miracle of medical progress for the rest of us. We live in a wondrous time with many choices. I really don’t relish going back to a time when a splinter or sore throat could end up killing someone due to a rampant infection.

Obviously, there could come a day when herbal remedies are all we have left. It’s incredibly important to know what they are and how to use them. But having suffered a few serious infections in my life – including MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant kidney infection, and a black widow spider bite that quickly turned into cellulitis – bring on the pharmaceuticals when I need them.

What is the situation with neighborhood pharmacies near you?

Do you have the “Big 3” chain neighborhood pharmacies in your community? Are the Mom and Pop pharmacies still around? How far do you have to go to get prescriptions? Have you ever had difficulty getting essential medications? Have you seen any changes in the availability of meds lately?

Let’s discuss it in the comments section.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Picture of Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • We have Walgreens and CVS but we also have 2 family owned pharmacies that I think a majority of the people use.
    Everywhere is cutting back on staff, making one person do what two people used to. I’ve been in my job (healthcare) for 16 years and while continuing to do it, the manager duties and title was forced on me if I wanted to continue working here.
    Corporations are only interested in their profits. They believe everyone can be replaced and probably for less money. This is not a sustainable model and will eventually bite them in the ass.

    • Ahhhh, funny but true. Have you also noticed that many places are pricing themselves OUT of business. I was in Walmart not long ago and wanted to just destress for a few minutes and have my long hair washed and blow dried and brushed out. However, when I ask the woman how much is that going to be she said $30. OMG, I just about fell backwards. Last I had that done it was about $15.00 at most. I told her absolutely NOT. That is ridiculous… She said NOTHING!!!
      I am seeing more of this here and there. Prices sooo outrageous that people are NOT paying it. I do believe this is what it will take to attempt to lower the prices. People will PROTEST HIGH PRICES; they will simply just WALK AWAY and will not eat there or get services at that place or drive away from the gas station is higher than all of the rest of them in town…. Sometimes it takes things like this to make a change. Over $4.00 for a load of whole wheat or whole grain bread at my local food store. REALLY, and a gallon of milk at $3.50 and that is with the store’s loyalty card. Otherwise that milk is $4.39 a gallon… GOSH… Highway robbery it seems. GAS down the street (in the country) at the mom-and-pop place $4.29 a gallon but in town it’s $3.39… When people do not get gas at that p lace, maybe they will lower their prices. It’s all marked way up for their own profits. Can we call it what it is? It’s ‘GREED”!!!

  • Frankly, if you want to survive at all, now or in the future of dystopia, YOU NEED TO STOP TAKING PHARMACEUTICALS. They are all poisonous. Given in small doses, to SUPPRESS bodily functions and symptoms. Learn what natural supplements will work as well or better (almost always much better and safer), and stock up on those.

    • Perhaps you missed the part where I addressed your comment before you even made it.

      As I wrote in the article, there’s a time and a place for everything. Blanket judgments like this are incredibly dangerous, not to mention short-sighted. I hope the other readers don’t take you seriously because doing so could be harmful. It really depends what the issue is and how severe it is. Antibiotics are an incredible invention and have saved millions of lives.

      • Like Daisy said ‘there’s a time and a place for everything ‘ Including antibiotics. I do not take any prescriptions but I think having access to the drugs mentioned in the Emergency Wellness pack ( ivermectin, amoxicillin, and a Z-pak) is a very wise idea. At the very least you could use them for barter. Health is wealth. Without it you’ve got nothing. Not a good place to be when the SHTF.

    • That’s easy to say when you don’t have a serious issue. My daughter works in cardiology. If you have a heart problem you better take exactly what they say in the correct dosage. Then thank God for these modern medicines because a LOT of people died before we had them for things as minor as diarrhea (especially babies and also my grandfather who got dysentery). You can’t be playing around with herbal stuff where you don’t know the effect, strength, etc. on serious issues. But hey if you got a rash, upset stomach, etc. go ahead. I love mint tea for an upset stomach and grow medicinal herbs. I also pray that while they can be useful, that I never have to rely on herbal remedies.

      • Agree,Kate.I personally don’t take any medication except OTC’s,but my family run HIGH in the whole Auto Immune sector,5 adult daughters,4 of which have A.I’s M.G, Ehler’s Danlos (E.D) R.A. heart issues,diverticulitis , some with multiples.Then add in 6 of the 7 grand kids,one with Type 1,the rest variants of their parents…… is a nightmare.They’ve already had issues getting meds,for 3-4 months now,having to go off them then restart them is awful for them…….then the cost,some of them are as high as $65.00 for FIVE pills! I might add none of them are on disability & none are insured at this point.I have a grand daughter,5,who was traveling 15 hours one way to the Children’s Hospital ,and on Medicaid or Healthy Kids,she has serious issues……and the fed. cut off her insurance,the hospitals cut off her care,just like that,screwy thing was,her brother (same parents,same house,same income) DIDN’T get cut off.
        All of this runs so much deeper than it appears,it’s really quite sick of out government .

    • You make a valid point. HOWEVER, it is a simple fact that in times of duress, people DO DIE from diarrhea (infection/dehydration/parasites). Also, from things such as a seemingly minor cut or injury that goes into infection. When the body is stressed from lack of nutrition, fear, and often just increased physical demands; one is MORE likely to succumb to a “minor” ailment. I advocate the use of herbals, nutraceuticals, essential oils, etc. Please, this is said in friendliness and love; don’t mix arrogance in with your herbal remedies.
      (P.S—thank you Daisy for your tireless work. I am also sorry you have to moderate this forum. Some people don’t understand the reality of “1984”.)

  • I have 5 pharmacies within a couple miles of my home. They all do a pretty good job of handling their customers and I would use any of them. This is why a lot of older people live in cities is to be closer to doctors, pharmacies, hospitals, etc. When I had to have daily radiation for cancer I was grateful the hospital was close. Medical needs have to be taken into account in choosing your location.

  • My town has 1 Walgreens and 1 mom and pop pharmacy and that’s it. But 16 miles away in two other towns there is a Walmart pharmacy and a CVS in one town and a Walmart and a Walgreens in the other one, and then the largest town is about 35 miles north of me and they have a pharmacy in their Walmart and in their Ingles Grocery store as well as a CVS and a WALGREENS !!! Right now none of them that I know of are showing any signs of trouble or closing…If someone is taking a really life or death medication it’s always good to have extra just in care. Remember, better safe than sorry, but they may have to pay for it out of pocket!!!

  • When someone places a comment here it can be waiting for approval, why is that? They person tells the truth, but it’s not printed. What’s with that????? Another one was written and was printed. What’s the difference? Not everyone has the same opinion so why not print it. IF there is no foul language in it and it’s all decent, why hold it back? Hummmm…

    • Hi, Wandakate – it’s not just you. I’m glad you asked this question.

      After a massive barrage of incredibly hate-filled and racist comments, I had to change our comments section to 100% moderation. I get to them as quickly as possible but I’m not at my desk all day long so sometimes there’s a bit of a delay.

      People whose comments don’t make the cut LOVE to rant and rave about how I’m censoring them. But the truth is, what is said in the comments section reflects on me as a publisher. I can get listed as a “hate group website” on the ADL and the Dept of Justice. With the trouble we’re already having with monetization, and the looming threat of being debanked, it’s just not a risk I’m willing to take.

      So for now, we’ll just have to wait for comments to be posted. I hope you – and all the OP readers – understand.

  • We have a CVS and a Walgreens. There are also pharmacies in the local Walmart and both grocery stores. We also have an independent pharmacy – that’s a total of 5 pharmacies in our little town here in southwestern VT. That may change in a year but for now, we’re covered here.

  • Winn-Dixie, a grocery store chain was bought out by Aldi; with that the pharmacies closed. We have the major players as well as Walmart.

  • Great insightful article, Daisy. I live in semi rural area in Texas and we have a CVS and that’s it. We used to have a couple mom n pop pharmacy’s but no more. A few weeks ago one of my elderly neighbors said that he had to drive 28 miles to get his prescription of pain pills filled because the pharmacy had run out. He got to the pharmacy 28 miles away and apparantely they’d run out as well. His Dr ended up having to send another type of pain med to yet a different pharmacy and he had to drive there to get it, another 20 miles. So an all day trip.
    I thought a fluke, until I went to the pharmacy to pick up my husbands pain pills and high blood pressure meds. They said they were out and would not have them in for a few days. Luckily I had stocked up on everything, and have been stocking up for years and they were available a few days later. There are a lot of elderly people here in my area that do not have the capability of waiting for the meds to get back in stock, or being able to stock up like I have been able to. I was bouncing prescriptions to 3 different pharmacies for a few years and that is how I was able to stock up on his meds but ever since this federal china virus blood money was handed out to the health care industry the pharmacies and drs have caught on to what I was doing as well as the meds are now tracked (Big Brotha NWO wants us all dead is the issue, or at least the elderly and disabled and unborn children, in my opinion) .
    All we can do is pray and prepare at this point.

    • I recently had the same experience TA. I’ve gotten my pain meds from CVS for years. Last month they suddenly were out of stock with a supposed ‘nationwide shortage’. CVS would not transfer to another CVS or pharmacy because it’s controlled so I had to wait the weekend and have the doc transfer it to Ingles.

      It was interesting that the docs office said there was no nationwide shortage on this med but instead, CVS had received their quote and had run out of it until they were able to get it replenished.

      Anyway, and this is what has been blowing my mind and is something I will be discussing with my doc, the same meds that I got at another pharmacy were so much stronger than what I had been getting from CVS. Same mg, same brand, but way more strong. It cost me 4.5 times more at the new pharmacy but I am mulling the idea around if staying with them because it’s far superior to what I had been getting from CVS. I don’t understand it all but I know something’s off with this.

  • We use a local neighborhood pharmacy and have done so for close to 20 years. They know us and really watch out for us. They have had problems getting some of the medications that our daughter takes. They had been compounding one medication for her stomach that worked very well, but became unable to get one of the components for it. So now our daughter is on a different med that is okay, but not as good as the previous one. They have also had problems getting some of my inhalation medications. I often only get part of a month’s amount, but at least I’m getting enough to use daily- I just need to refill more frequently. Both of those issues have been supply chain problems. Our daughter is on 9 prescription medications that she gets daily. She is 39 years old and has cerebral palsy and is blind. I’m really worried that something could happen and she wouldn’t be able to get the meds she needs to be free of seizures and for her digestive system to work. I don’t know what we’d do.

    • Kathy, I’d suggest a consultation appointment with the doctors at The Wellness Company. They are preparedness minded so they understand your concerns. THey have two small pharmacies from which they send their products and while I can’t guarantee it, they may be able to help you with some peace of mind regarding your daughters needs.

  • Hello Daisy, thanks for this article. I have bought some things from you in the past – the e-book on how to survive in dangerous times, how to make mixed herbs guide and your emergency and the personal emergency preparedness binder. I’d like to buy a medical kit eventually but am in Australia. Don’t know about anything local you can buy here. We are not a preparedness country – people stick their head in the sand – “She’ll be right mate”. Have checked online saw other medical kits but only USA based. May ask Survival Supplies Australia for any leads. They mainly sell camping stuff they may know an online link. Wondered if you may have any ideas off the top of your head? Thanks for your work. I love everything you do.

    • Hey its nice to see another aussie here I agree its impossible to do here (the medical kits and medications anyways)

      • Yes it is hard. I have tried to stock up on meds but they won’t let you. I’ve e-mailed Survival Supplies Australia its unlikely they could come up with anything but worth giving it a go even though preparedness is not a thing here.

  • I can confirm that pharmacies are closing. The CVS that has been on the corner near our house for over 25 years recently closed its doors. It is the only drug store available within walking distance for several mobile home parks in the area.

    I have often considered buying one of these emergency medical kits. My concern is antibiotics expire quickly and expired antibiotics that end in -cline (e.g., doxycycline) can become toxic to one’s kidneys (it is my understanding that other antibiotics just become less potent, not outright dangerous when they are expired). I’m sure that the $300 for the kit is worthwhile when you need it; I’m just reluctant to spend $300 and then it expires and I’ve never used any of it…. Just apprehensive about allocating my prepper budget….

    • When you have your appointment, the doctor will talk with you about expiration dates. I can’t give medical advice on here but I think once you speak with a physician about the contents of the kit your mind will be at ease regarding the lifespan of the products. 🙂

  • They increased the education requirements for Pharmacists to be licensed or renew their existing license, resulting in many older Pharmacists retiring instead of taking two years of school for a few more years of work.

  • We are a small town. In the last 6 months, we have had 2 pharmacies close. One was locally owned franchise and other was a Rite Aid (just closed as of Nov. 1st) We now have CVS, our grocery store pharmacy and Walmart. A lot of people have been complaining about the difficulty in filling their scripts and often have to drive out of town to get them.

  • I am in a large city, so we have all of them, big chains and Mom and Pop types. I had a pregnancy where I had to have meds for blood pressure and Walgreens was incredibly unreliable at having these available in a timely manner even though it was on “auto refill” for the 3 months that I needed them. It was very stressful and I can only imagine what it would be like if I was on them long term.

  • Are the Mom and Pop pharmacies still around? Yes, the drugstore my grandfather started near Pittsburgh, PA is still operational. It’s prudent to stockpile prescriptions by paying out-of-pocket. Get two scripts: one for insurance and the other for out-of-pocket. Many doctors understand that patients need extra meds in case of emergencies. All the best to everyone. Shalom and Godspeed, Marc

  • I struggle like a devil on one shoulder & angel on the other :)- ‘get one, just in case, it’s cheaper than a co-pay for one visit’ & ‘you’ve battled fixing leaky gut for 15 years from over use of antibiotics, don’t, you won’t use’. Sigh. I will be getting some iver though. $10 at a local farm supply company store. 😉

    This kit does provide a wide variety of anti-parasites & antibiotics for sure. They should be including a few probiotics as well to build up your good guys after any use of antibiotics when it kills all good bacteria with one use.

    May I strongly suggest looking into how you get these imbalances of good/bad guys in the body to begin with. Usually it is something quite sensible to fix with determination (after maybe a dose of antibiotics, if you must, to get you on your feet again). Sugar feeds these bugs that create havoc in our bodies. Ask me how I know. ;(

    I share not out of judgment but experience because ‘they’ are crafting some diabolical pathogens that can take down the average person due to their unhealthy lifestyles.

    Our local town (about 18 minutes away) has only 2 pharmacies I’m aware of with a town of 13,000 people. When kids were home there’d be an hour wait to get the script but that was at least 5 years ago.

  • I´m noticing a VERY concerning pattern here with what happened in my own country. We had the FACTORIES of the largest pharmacologist, producing hundreds of different high-quality meds. I know this because I knew some people working in this large industry. These were kicked out by the Qubans, and our meds come now from shady countries like India and China, with a lot of troubles linked to those untested/unapproved meds. Mind you, they are so overpopulated that they test the products on their own people.

  • And if anything should happen between China & Taiwan (blockade? outright invasion while the US is occupied elsewhere?), medications of all sorts could be close to impossible to come by. Our dr suggested we try skipping a dose or two a week of ‘daily’ meds (many medications have a good half-life in our systems), using supplements to help fill in the gaps, and start a little ‘stockpile’ just in case. This will all be up to individuals, so your needs and possibilities may dictate alternatives.

  • I was wondering how long these meds, in the kit, last. It would get expensive to have to reorder if they expired. I mainly would love to get my hands on some light, prn, pain meds for a reoccurring knee injury and that’s d#mm near impossible. I have to jump through so many hoops I just do without and spend about 100 a month for a strong CBD/CBN tincture to help my muscles relax so I can sleep. It works somewhat over half the time.

  • Thanks so much for reccommending this wellness company! The folks in Aussie-land should go to the local farm store and start buying Ivermectin-injectable. DO NOT, under any circumstance buy the pour on stuff!! It contains diesel so that it sticks to the cattle coats. You do not inject it, you drink it. website has an entire write up on Ivermectin and its’ usage. Another way to stockpile meds is to order just a little bit ahead of the 90 day supply. Month after month, ordering early allows you to get 1-3 pills head. And it adds up.
    We have CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and independents. We are fortunate in my area of California.

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