Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Loss of 24-hour pharmacy at Arlington Rd. CVS hits home hard in Bethesda

Elections indeed have consequences. And the Montgomery County Council-led decline in downtown Bethesda's "nighttime economy" hit a raw nerve among those adjusting to life in the post-24-hour-pharmacy era here.

On the first heavy-traffic night of the new 9:00 PM closing time for the Pharmacy counter inside the CVS on Arlington Road last night (the store itself is still open 24-hours), the lot was more jammed than usual. Inside, an unusually-long line stretched back from the Pharmacy counter.

It turns out 24-hour prescription pick-up was a godsend in a town of busy professionals, young and old. Sick, or just maintaining good health.

Clearly, here was the demand for the 24-hour pharmacy in the flesh. But with the Montgomery County Council having raised the cost of doing business yet again over the last few years, it apparently is now no longer affordable for CVS to provide the in-demand service.

Last call, as the line inched forward, and the clock ticked toward 9:00.

Some simply grumbled and muttered. One furious woman hammered on the door of the manager's office. She said she wanted to file a complaint about the long wait at the Pharmacy counter. The person who answered the door told her to call the 1-800 number for CVS customer service to complain.

A customer checking out asked an employee what was going on. She was told that the Pharmacy now closes at 9:00 PM on weeknights. Incredulous, the customer said this was a tremendous change.

Not only do the new hours reflect the solid, downward trend of Bethesda's late-night commerce after the failure of Councilmember Hans Riemer's "nighttime economy" initiative, but they also threaten Bethesda's ranking as the healthiest city in America.

The home of NIH, and you can't get a prescription filled much beyond banker's hours.

Someone told me they were in a local hospital Emergency Room a few years back, and a sick child was brought in.

A critical medication was needed for the child's condition right away, but the hospital didn't have it available. "But," the physician told the distraught parent, "there's a 24-hour pharmacy in the CVS on Arlington Road in downtown Bethesda. If you can fill this prescription there, and bring it back here, we can administer it right away."

Not anymore.

Consequences, indeed.

77 comments:

Rachael Heisler said...

I haven't been following this. Who thinks a 24-hour pharmacy is a bad idea?

Anonymous said...

lol, Dyer. Some of your articles are the dumbest fucking thing I read all week.

Robert Dyer said...

Rachael, obviously not the frantic people who were standing in line last night.

Robert Dyer said...

6:07: Dumber than calling a $45,000,000 deficit "government that works"? Dumb and dumberer. "LOL"

Anonymous said...

No use of "moribund"? Slacking lately?

Anonymous said...

@Dyer dumber than making inane strawman arguments? "LOL"

Unknown said...

If the demand is there and the store is already open 24 hrs, what's stopping the Pharmacy from staying open in till at least 10 or 11?

Anonymous said...

6:56 AM ??? I think you mean "until"!!! What school did you attend?

Anonymous said...

This is the most asinine article you've slammed together Dyer. Frank Capra is rolling over in is grave with laughter. You'd think Mr. Gower was Eienstein from this POS. I seriously doubt the validity of the Suburban myth you throw out there, why Donald Trump would hire you for such brilliant journalism. Get in your damn car, oh sorry your trike, and go to 7809 Wisconsin you twit. TWENTY-FOUR SERVICE!!!!! As Britney Spears lame fan once cried Leave Hans alone.

Anonymous said...

We are all now dumber for having read this article. Credit this utter nonsense as a lost vote for you whenever you run for any political office again.

Anonymous said...

What additional costs have been put on CVS by the council? Come on which ones led directly to this? Back up your claims with facts. Still waiting for the mythical job creation rates.

Anonymous said...

I heard Hans called up the CEO of CVS and asked him to close that location early, as part of his plans to destroy the night-time economy.

Anonymous said...

" The home of NIH, and you can't get a prescription filled much beyond banker's hours."

What the does NIH have to do with pharmacy hours at CVS? The research they do there is by far greater than the average prescription someone is picking up at CVS. Let's get real, the untreatable cancer patient isn't going to CVS to get their clinical trial drugs. Nor are the veterinarians or biologist, scientist, etc... getting the prescriptions and pathogens for their studies from CVS.

Whoever said that the quote above, whether Dyer or a customer interviewed at CVS, is an idiot. A much better comparison would have been comparing the average Bethesda resident wealth to not having amenities greater than a rural small town. That being an expensive world class city has not that many more amenities than xyz town.

Anonymous said...

The Purple Line has claimed another victim. RIP Bethesda CVS.

Robert Dyer said...

7:52: Huh? You lost me there. The whole point of that comment is that we're no longer the healthiest town if we can't fill emergency prescriptions outside of Mayberry hours.

Robert Dyer said...

7:11: You are misinformed. That CVS is open 24 hours, but its pharmacy is not.

Robert Dyer said...

7:36: You probably couldn't get any dumber, but the rest of the people reading this have just gotten wiser to the real news going on in Bethesda. Hope you can join us someday.

Robert Dyer said...

7:38: Just add up all the tax increases, fee increases, energy tax, new laws that cost businesses money. Combine those with a failed nighttime economy initiative, and you get business closures and reduced hours.

Anonymous said...

let's all agree that 9pm is too early to close in a downtown in 2015.

Anonymous said...

Are you against a living wage for CVS employees?

Anonymous said...

The article hit home for a lot of people. To not have a 24-hr pharmacy in town is ridiculous. It's a valid point for a community.

Gripers? One day your kid will need a Rx after 9PM, you'll build a lovely sunroom onto your million-dollar home only to have a high-rise steal your sun, or you're rushing to a meeting and have to drive 20 minutes in the wrong direction to put gas in your car...Just a matter of time

All you haters can go take a flying f*** at a rolling doughnut.

Anonymous said...

On weekends. I'm already noticing long lines to get gas at the few Bethesda stations left. This will get worse as more gas stations close.

9pm closure of pharmacy is outrageous. I wish a true 24 pharmacy would compete in downtown Bethesda, but there are few competitors at this point.

Our only multiplex is going to be demolished and its unknown whether we'll get one back in the new project.

Anonymous said...

Robert: How do you know that the CVS is closing the pharmacy at 9 pm because of Montgomery County policies or taxes? Did you ask them why the pharmacy is moving to shorter hours? Not according to the story. No hint of a comment from CVS management. You just assume it is the reason. I suspect that you will find that this is a national trend for pharmacies, if you would ask.

Anonymous said...

Apparently CVS doesn't think there is a business case for it.

Anonymous said...

Calling constituents dumb. That will win them over.

Anonymous said...

So what initiatives in the nighttime economy taskforce recommendations would have helped or hurt this CVS?

Anonymous said...

The hate is directed towards dyer's babble and arguments.

No one here is cheering for the early closure.

Anonymous said...

That's a good point. Did the author of this angry piece even consider getting CVS's story? Or the county's?

Do we know CVS policies in other regions? Is it localized to us? Nationwide issue?

This article is lacking in thoroughness and completely thought out logic.

Anonymous said...

The trend in pharmacies is increased customer service. Longer hours for in-store clinics, refill reminder programs, Medicare counseling; using the pharmacy to draw in customers and give them a sense of "home drug store"
This is the opposite.

Anonymous said...

I can kind of understand closing at midnight or something. 9PM is TOO EARLY for busy people.

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely 0 causal relationship between the CVS hour change and Montgomery COunty nighttime policies.

Saying that CVS closed because of a supposed failure of the county's "nightime" economy is like saying BCC SAT scores dropped because they changed the uniforms of the football team.

btw Silver Spring's nighttime economy seems to be doing pretty well.

Anonymous said...

Do you have data to corroborate that?

Anonymous said...

Why do some people think early store closures, gas stations and other companies going under is the county's fault? In particular the nighttime economy task force recommendations and Riemer?

weski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
weski said...

According to the CVS website, the Upper Wisconsin Ave CVS Pharmacy in Bethesda is open until 10 pm and the CVS in the Cabin John Mall off Tuckerman is still a 24 hour Pharmacy.

My guess is that it is a matter of staffing and security. Having made a couple midnight Rx runs for kids, the Arlington Rd. location will be missed on that front. Would make more sense to me to have the Wisconsin Ave. location be a 24 hr pharmacy rather than Cabin John, but it might be a security issue.

Anonymous said...

security? Are you saying we have a crime problem in our downtown?

Robert Dyer said...

9:54: George Leventhal said voters shouldn't be allowed to vote on ending the County liquor monopoly because they wouldn't be capable of understanding the issue, according to the Sentinel. What was that you said about calling constituents "dumb"?

Robert Dyer said...

9:57: The article is very logical, and this blog has been closely following the decline of the nighttime economy in downtown Bethesda. The business closures and reduced hours, and dark and sparsely populated streets in the late night hours are simply public fact, not opinion.

Robert Dyer said...

11:51: Their policies are to blame. And Riemer made himself the nighttime economy guy, and used it for self-serving self-promotion from an obsequious local media. Guess what - he now owns the disastrous results of his failed initiative

Anonymous said...

Which policies specifically had an effect on those places that closed? And what would you have proposed to do differently?

Anonymous said...

It's not quite "you couldn't get any dumber" that's for sure. Haha.

And again redirecting. :)

Anonymous said...

So there's all this demand for the 24 hour pharmacy - why did CVS decide to limit the hours?

Anonymous said...

@1:05pm Security because drug addicts rob pharmacies for the narcotics like Oxycontin. There was a robbery at a CVS in MoCo at late hours for exactly this reason in the last year, though I forget where it was. May have been in Silver Spring.

The criminals target nicer areas because there is less likely to be security there.

Anonymous said...

Leventhal insults staff, voters and everyone else. Good thing he has friends in local media...you won't hear a peep of criticism.

Bethesda will never get proper attention since none of the MoCo council members live here.

Anonymous said...

6:40 sounds like we need more police presence if crime in Bethesda is as bad as you say. MoCo council asleep at the switch again?

Anonymous said...

So dyer wants to be like leventhal?

Robert Dyer said...

7:36: The better question might be, when is the Council not asleep at the switch?

Robert Dyer said...

4:13: Spending the rest of your life making $130,000 (and rising) a year as an eternal councilman doesn't sound that bad. Would I want to have a record like Councilmember Leventhal's on job creation and fiscal management? That's another story.

Anonymous said...

So you only say you want to be like
Leventhal when people say negative things about you. Gotcha. We know exactly who you are and want to be. Makes sense. Jealousy explains a lot.

Anonymous said...

What would you do differently?

Anonymous said...

There is an all night pharmacy in Bethesda. The pharmacy at the Giant Food store on Old Georgetown Road is open 24 hours.

Robert Dyer said...

5:44: Who's "we"?

Anonymous said...

Everyone who didn't vote for you. Everyone who debates your perspectives here in the comments.

Anonymous said...

Omg the troll is working overtime...

Anonymous said...

Omg the fanboy is working overtime...

Anonymous said...

Omg the brother is working overtime...

Peter said...

The Moribund Dyer quoth about "the moribund MoCo economy"...

...and the next article denotes the restaurants that will be open on Christmas Day in Bethesda (even though Founding Farmers is in Potomac, not Bethesda, but still).

Internal inconsistency anyone? :-)

Anonymous said...

Let the trolls troll.

They have no life and this is their only pleasure.

Anonymous said...

Let the shills shill.

They have no independent thought and this is their only voice.

Anonymous said...

Can 11:06 have an original thought?

Anonymous said...

Well that was original.

Robert Dyer said...

Peter, what does being open for dinner on Christmas have to do with the moribund nighttime economy?

Anonymous said...

Now that's the first sensible thing Robert had written in a while about correlation and causation for a moribund economy!!

Peter said...

The Moribund Dyer questioneth of me "what does being open for dinner on Christmas have to do with the moribund nighttime economy?"

Welllllllll...if the "moribund MoCo economy" generalization meme were true and absolute -- which from the absolutist way you talk about it, it seems to be that way -- then NO restaurant would be open AT ALL on Christmas Day, thusly thoroughly supporting The Moribundness Doctrine.

Peter said...

BTW...below I found via a Google search. There are some pharmacist comments here also. Quick hits from my reading: (a) this is corporate-wide, not just local; (b) the "convenience" of the 24-hour pharmacy may just have been for the sake of competitiveness; (c) nothing in here to state whether or not Walgreens will follow suit also (although, if they do wind up being able to buy Rite-Aid, I wouldn't be surprised to see some of their 24-hour pharmacies go away too).

https://www.reddit.com/r/pharmacy/comments/2ov198/cvspharmacy_is_closing_removing_24hour_status/

Anonymous said...

Giant pharmacy on Old georgetown road has a 24 pharmacy-its about 4-5 miles away from that cvs and closer to NIH

Anonymous said...

And closer to Suburban Hospital, too.

#Oops

Anonymous said...

The Arlington Road CVS is too close to Westbard and all its hillbilly OxyContin addicts.

That's why we can't have nice things.

Anonymous said...

Robert, what does a pharmacy being open for medicine 24 hours have to do with the moribund nighttime economy?

Anonymous said...

Is Greenhole the landlord?

Anonymous said...

6:01 AM writes: "Robert, what does a pharmacy being open for medicine 24 hours have to do with the moribund nighttime economy?"

Are you seriously unable to figure this out for yourself? Doesn't take a rocket scientist.

Anonymous said...

3:37 AM writes: "Peter, what does being open for dinner on Christmas have to do with the moribund nighttime economy?"

Are you seriously unable to figure this out for yourself? Doesn't take a rocket scientist.

Anonymous said...

Don't think so. Building is too big for Greenhill. But that shows you what everyone thinks of him that every negative retail action is possibly attributable to him. Lol.

Anonymous said...

That's #dodgingdyer for you. Never answers an honest question with a straight answer. Always goes to the insult.

Steve D. said...

Bethesda should not have any security issues if the police are doing their jobs. It is ludicrous to suggest it is too dangerous to operate a pharmacy at night.

Anonymous said...

If you need a pharmacy late at night, the last thing you want to do is drive all over the place.
9pm is too early to close!

Anonymous said...

Yeah. We must not frequent the CVS enough for them to justify a 24 hour pharmacy. Business decision to close. Sucks, but hey we don't own and operate a pharmacy.