Fred’s Pharmacy closes; file acquired by Red Bay Pharmacy

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A banner on Golden Road on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 3, announced the transfer of customer files from Fred’s Pharmacy to Red Bay Pharmacy, effective Oct. 4, 2019. News photo/Jason Collum

RED BAY | Fred’s Pharmacy in Red Bay has officially closed just a few weeks after the discount store chain ended its retail operation here. Customer files for the pharmacy have been acquired by Red Bay Pharmacy on Golden Road.

According to Red Bay Pharmacy owner Bill Weatherford, his business officially began serving Fred’s customers on Friday morning, Oct. 4. A note on the window at Fred’s drive-through notified customers their information had been transferred over.

The closure of the pharmacy was not unexpected given the notification Fred’s corporate officials gave in September that the entire chain will cease operations before the end of the year. Fred’s had kept some pharmacy locations open even after the closure of the retail store operations. However, in many of those locations Fred’s has begun closing the pharmacies now as well and transferring customer files.

Employees at Fred’s Pharmacy in Red Bay had known a transition was in the works, but it was not officially known until this week that Fred’s had accepted Red Bay Pharmacy’s bid for the customer files. Weatherford said the company had rejected his first offer, but accepted the second.

The closure of Fred’s now means Baymont area customers have three pharmacies to serve their needs – Red Bay Pharmacy and Redmont Pharmacy in Red Bay, and Belmont Pharmacy in Belmont, covering a trade area of more than 8,000 to 10,000 residents. Financial pressures on pharmacies since 2017 – a result primarily of changes in reimbursement methods from pharmacy benefit managers in the insurance industry – have hammered many pharmacies financially, resulting in major consolidations in chains and a reduction in the ability of independents to compete. As recent as 2015, the Baymont area was served by six pharmacies – three in Belmont and three in Red Bay.