HOUSTON — Supermarket pharmacies were ready to respond when Hurricane Ike hit this month.
Kroger Co., Cincinnati, and H.E. Butt Grocery Co., San Antonio, sent pharmacy trailers to the area, and Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif., said evacuees could use a new emergency response network to obtain medications at other stores.
“We've got teams from our Kroger mobile pharmacy unit in the Houston area,” said Kroger spokeswoman Meghan Glynn. They went down before the hurricane hit to be in place, and “they are filling prescriptions for customers.”
Safeway's Randalls and Tom Thumb divisions, based in Texas, as well as the company's other banners, recently became part of ICERx.org, said spokeswoman Teena Massingill. ICERx, or In Case of Emergency Prescriptions, is a cooperative industry effort. It was formed after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit in 2005, and enables patients to get their prescriptions at other stores. Among the retailers involved are CVS, Longs, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Kroger banners such as Ralphs and Food4Less, the Savon Pharmacy subsidiary of Supervalu, Target and Wal-Mart, according the ICERx website.
“It's not something that you want to happen, but our customers are encouraged to know that they can always get prescriptions that they need, even if they have to leave home in an emergency situation,” Massingill said. ICERx can be used during other disasters, like the California wildfires, she added.