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Bentley Pharmacy merging with CVS

A staple of the Ironton business community is ceasing to exist in its present form.

Bentley Rxpress Pharmacy, at 505 S. Third St., announced Monday it was merging with the CVS Pharmacy at 518 S. Third St. The last day for customers to visit Bentley’s location is Wednesday. That store has been in business 18 years.

Pharmacist and owner Dan Bentley declined to comment directly on the merger but did issue a written statement saying that the merger was in the best interest of his customers and the Bentleys.

“It is with both a heavy heart and faithful spirit that we tell you Bentley Rxpress Pharmacy is merging with CVS …” the statement said. “… as the insurance industry continues to change the climate of health care, operating an independent pharmacy has become an extremely difficult endeavor. Government price controls, the Medicare Part D program and most recently the lowered Ohio Medicaid dispensing fee projected for 2010 have presented many perils for independent pharmacy small business owners and their ability to survive. Our hope is that someday our legislators recognize the vital role pharmacists play as health care providers and the value they add to the economy.”

The statement said both Dan Bentley and his wife, Cheri, will join the CVS staff. All patient records at the Bentley location will be transferred to the CVS store.

A representative of the CVS store said a written statement from the corporation was forthcoming.

The announcement caught some Bentley customers by surprise.

Michael Nash of Ironton said he has been a customer at the independent store for several years. He said he found out about the merger from a friend over the weekend.

“I wish they had given us more notice,” Nash said. The merger presents a problem for Nash, who receives Social Security and has someone who handles his financial affairs.

“They (Bentley) would let you charge for your medicine and then a payee would pay it. CVS is taking over and they won’t let you do that,” Nash said. “I talked to Staley’s and Staley’s will do it.”

Bentley’s written statement said customers may continue to dial the old Bentley pharmacy telephone number and reach the CVS store.