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Drug store closures coming, we just don't know which ones

I get my prescriptions at Rite-Aid. I heard the other day that Walgreens is closing hundreds of drug stores, including some Rite-Aid stores. Are we losing any here in Jackson County?

— Charlie K., Ashland

After a long, tortuous route to regulatory approval, Walgreens Boots Alliance was able secure a $4.38 billion deal to purchase 1,932 stores, three distribution centers and inventory in September. Walgreens operates more than 13,000 stores globally, and even puts an asterisk by the number because it changes so frequently.

This week Walgreens Boots Alliance announced it will shutter 600 Walgreens and Rite-Aid stores, but which ones haven't been announced.

The acquisition is expected to close the spring of 2018, at which time Walgreens will begin closing some stores and rebranding others, according to an investor presentation the company posted.

"We're not providing location," spokesperson Fiona Ortiz said. "It will take about 18 months for all the closures after that."

Ortiz was unsure whether employees at the closed stores would be absorbed at other locations.

There are Rite-Aid stores in Ashland, Talent and Medford, along with two Walgreens stores in Medford and one in Central Point. Several years ago it was reported Walgreens planned to build a store on the northeast corner of East McAndrews Road and Crater Lake Avenue, but that might not come to fruition with a large Rite-Aid at nearby Medford Center.

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