In a speech before the U.S. House of Representatives this week, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) attacked Walgreens for closing a location in Roxbury, part of the Boston area. This is the fourth Boston location Walgreens has closed in the last few years, and Pressley claims it unfairly impacts minority citizens in the area.
Walgreens’ decision to close its Roxbury location stirred up anger and protests from the local community. Critics warn that this will create a “pharmacy desert,” an area where local citizens struggle to gain access to crucial medicines and supplies. These gaps in the supply chain typically impact the elderly and disabled, as well as people without cars, as they often struggle to travel to another pharmacy farther away.
Pressley claims that pharmacies closing locations like Roxbury are “life-threatening acts of racial and economic discrimination.” Major pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid have closed or plan to close more than 1,500 stores across the U.S. Oftentimes, these stores are closing in minority neighborhoods like Roxbury, stoking fears of discrimination and lack of resources for poorer minorities throughout the U.S.
As a member of the “Squad,” an informal group of eight far-left representatives, Pressley and the rest of her compatriots often blame racial discrimination for problems like pharmacy closures. However, there are a wide variety of reasons for these closures throughout the country, including market changes, competition from cheaper companies like Walmart and Amazon, staffing needs and buying patterns.
One factor that may also play a role in the shuttering of these pharmacies is the rising crime and shoplifting rates in the areas surrounding them. For example, in Pressley’s home state of Massachusetts, the violent crime rate has increased slightly over the previous few years, even while national rates have dropped slightly. Many businesses don’t want to operate in areas with rising crime rates, particularly for fear of harm to their employees and customers.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley accuses Walgreens of racial discrimination for closing stores in neighborhoods overrun by theft pic.twitter.com/GClRbuY4nI
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) January 31, 2024
On top of that, Boston and other large cities essentially decriminalized shoplifting a few years ago as part of a leftwing agenda, leading to rising waves of serial shoplifters. These shoplifting sprees have forced hundreds of businesses in major cities to close, and may play a larger role in the Boston pharmacy closures than Representative Pressley is willing to admit.
Following protests and pushback, the Roxbury Walgreens delayed its closure for an entire month. However, at the end of January, it closed its doors for good, leaving locals with fewer options for their medical needs.