Target closure causing 'crisis' for independent pharmacies, owners say
Windsor Target pharmacist says is not enough time to relocate
Target's closure is creating a serious crisis for independent pharmacies operating in the store by not giving them enough time to relocate and make the best decisions for their patients, says the president of the Pharmacy Franchisee Association of Canada (PFAD).
Dan Dimovski created PFAD, which represents more than 80 independent pharmacies operating in Targets across the country.
"They're telling us that the information that's coming out from Target right after they announced their bankruptcy is creating a serious crisis for them," he said.
"They're treating us like a corporate model. We can't close like they're closing. It's a different process altogether."
PFAD has taken legal action to be recognized in Target's bankruptcy case and is drafting letters to premiers and MPs highlighting the concerns of independent pharmacists over the imminent store closures.
Dimovski says the association wants to be recognized in Target's bankruptcy process, is asking for their moving expenses to be covered and to be able to operate until the store closes.
The U.S. retail chain announced in January it will close all its locations in Canada. There are 133 stores across the country with about 17,600 employees.
'Not enough time'
Stavros Gavrilidis is a pharmacist at a Target in Devonshire Mall in Windsor, Ont. He says Target gave notice on Jan. 26 that he would have to be out of the store in 30 days.
He said that doesn't leave enough time to be certified by the province to open a new pharmacy location.
The Ontario College of Pharmacists must receive an application for certificate of accreditation at least 45 days prior to the proposed opening date of a new location.
"There's not enough time, it's not realistic," Gavrilidis said. "We're in a situation where the patient relationship with the pharmacist has been undermined."
He said many of his clients are elderly or have chronic illnesses and require weekly medication pickups.
"You can't just treat people like that. It's a big public issue," he said.
Problems since day one
Gavrilidis says there were problems since he opened in 2013.
Fax machines and telephones didn't work and the location was not set up to serve his existing customers.
"The anticipation of joining the second biggest and largest retailer location in North America has become the worst nightmare we could ever imagine for our patients," he said.
Dimovski, who is a partner with Gavrilidis, said he like many who ventured into Target's independent pharmacy operation, saw it as a future model in Canada.
"They saw Target as a new era in pharmacy. A way for independent pharmacies to focus on the consultation part," he said.
"This was the new model that we thought would bring Canadian pharmacy to a new era."
But promises of new customers never panned out.
Target did not respond to CBC's questions about pharmacies.