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Campus Health Pharmacy to close in June

The Campus Health Pharmacy, set to permanently close June 28, is the only on-campus resource for students to get prescriptions filled and pay for them later using their bursar’s account. Photo Courtesy of Campus Health.
Erika Howlett
The Campus Health Pharmacy, set to permanently close June 28, is the only on-campus resource for students to get prescriptions filled and pay for them later using their bursar’s account. Photo Courtesy of Campus Health.

The University of Arizona’s Campus Health Pharmacy is closing its doors effective June 28. This takes away the only on-campus resource for students to get prescriptions filled and pay for them later using their bursar’s account. 

The announcement, made April 3, cited the “changing landscape of retail pharmacy services in recent years” as the main reason for the closure of the pharmacy, which has served the campus community since 1967

David Salafsky, the executive director of Campus Health, explained that the decision was made due to a variety of factors, such as a decrease in use of the service, but that the university’s current financial situation does play a role. 

“There’s a budget cut in effect,” Salafsky said. “That’s part of the decision.”

Salafsky also pointed to the competitive nature of the healthcare industry, and the emergence of more online options. Ultimately, keeping the pharmacy running wasn’t worth the money. Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University both have closed their on-campus pharmacies in the past decade according to Salafsky. 

Kim Birmingham, the chief pharmacist at Campus Health’s pharmacy since 2014, said she learned the news the day before it was announced and attributed a significant part of the decision to budget constrictions. 

“Campus Health had to cut $800,000 and they needed permanent money to cut,” Birmingham said. “So, we were the ones.”

According to Birmingham, there are currently six employees at the pharmacy. While Birmingham was planning to retire, other employees will be laid off. The pharmacy also offered training and internship opportunities for College of Pharmacy students, who will now need to get that experience elsewhere. 

“It is disheartening to hear the campus pharmacy is closing. Not only for College of Pharmacy students, but the student population in general,” said Megan Wong, Associated Students of the University of Arizona senator of the College of Pharmacy, in an emailed statement. “The Campus Health Pharmacy has been a great resource for students that live on or nearby campus, or students that may not have access to transportation.” 

Although Salafsky pointed out decreasing use of the pharmacy, he did say that it filled about 13,000 prescriptions in the past year. 

“I do think it was a really convenient tool just because it allowed you to use your bursar’s account to get prescriptions,” said Miriam Kaylor, a first-year linguistics student who has used the on-campus pharmacy before. 

Campus Health is reaching out to students who have used the pharmacy to inform them of the change, and is available to answer questions and assist with transferring prescriptions to other nearby pharmacies like the CVS located at 825 E. University Blvd.


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