The nation's largest drug chains — Walgreen Co., CVS Caremark Corp. and Rite Aid Corp. — report that they have reopened nearly all the stores impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy, Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, CVS Caremark, CVS/pharmacy, John Standley, Mark Cosby, Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, Rite Aid Foundation, CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, Walgreens pharmacists, Duane Reade

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Drug chains give Hurricane Sandy recovery update

November 12th, 2012

NEW YORK – The nation's largest drug chains — Walgreen Co., CVS Caremark Corp. and Rite Aid Corp. — report that they have reopened nearly all the stores impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

And as drug store operations begin to return to normal, the three chains continue to do what they can to aid the recovery in hard-hit communities.

Rite Aid said Monday as of Nov. 12, all stores impacted by the hurricane have reopened and are serving customers, except for its Lavallette, N.J., location. At the height of the storm, 790 Rite Aid stores had been closed.

The Rite Aid in Lavallette is still closed because of restricted access to the barrier island, according to the retailer. Also, three stores in New York and one in New Jersey have set up temporary pharmacies so patients have access to prescriptions and other medications as the front ends of the stores are repaired, the company said, adding that repairs are slated to be finished by next month.

Rite Aid said it doesn't expect Hurricane Sandy does not expect the storm to have a material impact on its fiscal 2013 financial results but that it likely will negatively impact November same-store sales.

"Our store, field and corporate associates have worked tirelessly from planning before the storm hit to serving the immediate and ongoing needs of our patients and customers in the communities affected by Hurricane Sandy," Rite Aid chairman and chief executive officer John Standley said in a statement. "I am proud of their outstanding dedication and commitment."

Immediately after the storm, the Rite Aid Foundation donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts along with four truckloads of bottled water, worth more than $30,000, to hard-hit communities in Queens and Staten Island, N.Y. The company added that it's assessing other ways to support relief and recovery efforts.

At CVS/pharmacy, more than 1,200 stores have reopened since the storm struck late last month. The company said Friday it's using generators in about 60 stores located in areas still experiencing power outages, while 16 stores remain closed because of water or wind damage.

CVS reported that stores in two hard-hit areas will be closed for an extended period of time, but the company will operate mobile pharmacies so communities can continue to get their prescribed medications.

The drug chain said itis now operating a mobile pharmacy at the site of its closed store on Ventnor Avenue in Margate City, N.J., and next week it plans begin operating a second mobile pharmacy at the site of its closed store on Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Rockaway Beach, N.Y.

"CVS/pharmacy is committed to ensuring that the communities we serve have access to pharmacy services and our colleagues have worked incredibly hard to reopen nearly all of our pharmacies," stated Mark Cosby, president of CVS/pharmacy. "By using generators and mobile pharmacies to serve the areas most affected by the hurricane, we are well-positioned to aid in the recovery efforts in these communities."

And following up a donation of more than $100,000 made right after the storm via the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust and CVS/pharmacy to disaster relief organizations, another $100,000 has been donated to the ongoing recovery efforts in New Jersey and New York, CVS said.

Walgreens, meanwhile, said that as of Nov. 5 it had reopened all but 13 of the 750 stores that had service interruptions at the peak of Hurricane Sandy.

Last week, the chain launched a donation program that enabled Walgreens and Duane Reade shoppers to contribute at checkout to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund in increments of $1, $2, $5 or $10. The fundraising effort came after Walgreens announced the previous week that it would make a $250,000 contribution to the same fund.

Immediately after the storm, Walgreens delivered four semi-trailer truckloads of bottled water, including three to the American Red Cross and one to the New York City, with more truckloads on the way. The retailer has also donated merchandise and conducted food drives in response to local community requests.

Walgreens, too, diverted its Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour with National Urban League bus to New York to deliver blankets, water and other services to hard-hit communities, including visits to Walgreens and Duane Reade stores in Rockaway, Brooklyn and Staten Island, N.Y. The chain said Walgreens pharmacists have also provided direct assistance to New York City, Hoboken, N.J., and other emergency response outposts to help patients find medicine they need. The company has set up four temporary pharmacies at stores that were heavily damaged by the storm.