Sudbury

Target's deadline for closures puts pharmacies in 'catch-22'

The closure of Target stores across the country has pharmacists scrambling.

Pharmacies want moving expenses to be covered and want to operate until the stores close

Independent pharmacists are asking to be recognized in Target's bankruptcy filings and want more time to relocate their businesses. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

The closure of Target stores across the country has pharmacists scrambling.

Both the Sudbury and North Bay stores have pharmacies.

Dan Dimovski, the president of the Pharmacy Franchisee Association of Canada, said Target has given its pharmacists until Feb. 26 to shut down their franchises inside the stores.

But he said that's impossible because they have to follow provincial regulations to close.

“We're talking about medications, processes to protect the patient and our position in our association is the actions of Target are undermining the Canadian processes that protect the patients on a provincial level,” he said.

Dimovski noted pharmacists must apply for accreditation 30 days before moving to a new location. If they are closing, they need to ensure their stock of medications is transferred to another pharmacy or returned to the supplier.

“We're in a catch-22 situation,” Dimovski continued.

“We don't have approval in the province of Ontario, where the majority of franchisees are, to make these transfers or make these changes in less time. And honestly there is a reason for that period of time. They need to verify that the pharmacies that have relocated or moved comply and have all the things necessary for patient care.”

PFAD represents more than 80 independent pharmacies operating in Targets across the country.

The association 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 said the association wants to be recognized in Target's bankruptcy process, and 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.

Target Canada did not respond to a request for comment.

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