LITTLE VILLAGE — Little Village officials and neighbors are calling on CVS to reverse its decision to close its only store in Little Village, citing the neighborhood’s struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of pharmacies.
Organizers blasted the closure during a press conference Friday, saying it will be detrimental to the neighborhood’s health. The CVS at 2634 S. Pulaski Road will close June 7, CVS confirmed.
Ald. Mike Rodriguez (22nd), who represents the area, said his office has received several calls from residents, particularly seniors, who are worried about where and how they’ll fill their prescriptions.
“We’re asking CVS to really reconsider this decision,” Rodriguez said. “This location closing does not help the health of our neighbors.”
CVS said in a statement all prescriptions from the Pulaski Road pharmacy would be transferred to a CVS in suburan Cicero, located at 5524 W. Cermak Road. It is 2.6 miles away from the Little Village location, and residents noted those without a car would have to take one or two buses to get there.
Health advocates and Rodriguez also said CVS continues to play a crucial role in helping the neighborhood navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Latino neighborhoods like Little Village were disproportionately affected by the disease.
Rodriguez said he learned about the impending closure a couple weeks ago and has since been working with leaders and community groups to advocate for the store to remain open. In a letter dated May 18, Rodriguez, other elected officials and local groups wrote to CVS leaders asking them to reconsider the decision to close.
The CVS on Pulaski Road sits right next to a Walgreens, at 26th Street and Pulaski Road, but health organizers Friday said certain insurance companies require patients to fill their prescriptions at particular pharmacies, which makes transferring between different stores difficult.
For example, CVS-owned insurer Aetna dropped Walgreens from its Medicaid plan during the pandemic in 2020, meaning patients who previously filled their prescriptions at the Pulaski Road CVS might not be able to transfer them to the neighboring Walgreens.
The Little Village CVS is just one of about 900 stores the pharmacy chain plans on closing over the next several years, the company announced in November.
“Maintaining access to pharmacy services in historically underserved communities is an important factor we consider when making store closure decisions,” CVS said in its statement.
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