Tuesday, December 08, 2015
Loss of 24-hour pharmacy at Arlington Rd. CVS hits home hard in Bethesda
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."