Dozens protest closure of popular Boston Walgreens

Dozens protested the imminent closure of a popular Roxbury Walgreens Friday, the latest among a series of closings both locally and nationally.

“This is a matter of life and death for our community,” said Rev. Miniard Culpepper. “Walgreens has time to do what’s right.”

Communities of Color for Health Equity organized the demonstration, telling Boston 25 News long-standing customers who fill critical prescriptions at the Warren Street pharmacy were given less than two weeks’ notice of the closure.

Black and brown neighbors, especially seniors and those without transportation, will suffer most, the group says.

After the initial protest and letters of support from local lawmakers, Walgreens delayed the original closing date from Martin Luther King Day to the end of January. But protesters say the community needs more time to transition their critical medications.

“You cannot leave our cities in a desert where we don’t have pharmacies to help every walk of life,” said Clifton A. Braithwaite.

The Warren Street pharmacy and store will be the fourth Boston Walgreens to close in little more than a year. The pharmacy chain announced about 200 in total will close nationally this year.

“To close down Dudley – Nubian Square – the Walgreens there, the one in Mattapan, imagine when they close this,” said Jewel Crutchfield. “People like me that can’t walk far, that can’t bend over to tie their shoes, that can’t even get themselves dressed, that have [personal care assistants], that need their medications.”

Once the Warren Street pharmacy closes, customers’ prescription files will automatically be transferred to the closest location, Columbus Ave., about a mile away, Walgreens said in a statement.

“When faced with the difficult decision to close a location, several factors are taken into account, including our existing footprint of stores, dynamics of the local market, and changes in the buying habits of our patients and customers, among other reasons,” Walgreens said.

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