Berkeley Pharmacy Wars May Lead to Ban

Berkeley may be famously inhospitable to big-box retailers, but apparently, it’s been relatively permissive to pharmacies , says the city’s economic development project coordinator Dave Fogarty. He told Berkeleyside that pharmacies comprise 9.57 percent of retail sales in Berkeley, roughly twice the national average. But now, that all may change. With the prospect of a new Walgreens moving into the old Elephant Pharmacy location on Shattuck Avenue — just blocks away from, guess what, another Walgreens and a CVS — Mayor Tom Bates started to panic. Berkeley was suddenly home to four Walgreens stores, another prospective Walgreens store, and two CVS stores. It’s not exactly clear what that means, other than pharmacies are doing the work of all the Targets and K-Marts that don’t exist, in Berkeley. Bates thought it wasn’t a good look. Now he’s introducing legislation that would prohibit new pharmacies from opening within 1,000 feet of one another, Berkeleyside reported. Bates will present the idea before Berkeley City Council on April 26.

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