Bill Atkinson, The Progress-Index
HOPEWELL — The owners of a pharmacy under investigation for illegal trafficking of prescription drugs apologized on social media Wednesday night for what it called "any inconvenience" created by Wednesday's shutdown by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and promised to reopen for business Thursday and work "around the clock" to catch up for time lost.
Judging by the more than 125 comments the Facebook post received, customers are ready to rally behind Hometown Drug. Posts ranged from calling Hometown Drug "the best pharmacy there was and ever will be" to praising God that the store was planning to reopen,
Wednesday morning, DEA agents closed the pharmacy on Gray Street down as part of an investigation into allegations of diverting legal prescriptions into legal narcotics markets. No arrests were made, and federal authorities have promised to release more details about the case in the coming days.
In its Facebook post Wednesday night, Hometown Drug did not reference the reason why its business was interrupted.
"We would like to apologize to our wonderful customers for any inconvenience caused today while we were closed," the Facebook post started. "We will be opening at normal business hours [Thursday] and will be working around the clock to take care of all your pharmacy needs!"
Despite the post, Hopewell has issued a press release saying that Hometown Drug is still barred from distributing any controlled substances following DEA intervention.
The Facebook post's only reference to the DEA presence came in reply to a customer's question about why authorities would check the pharmacy out.
"They are doing their job to keep us all safe," wars the response.
That customer, Marisa Ozbat of Fort Lee, wrote that she suspected the larger pharmacy chains were behind the investigation because "Hometown has excellent customer service and patient first prices that they don’t want to have to compete with. It’s rly [cq] ridiculous they can target a small business w/ no real evidence like this. I will go back to Hometown IMMEDIATELY when this is resolved."
Other customers were quick to share their support for the drug store.
"This is the best pharmacy there ever was and ever will be!!" wrote Tara Boyle of Petersburg. Boyle noted how Hometown Drug has assisted her family over the years, saying they "have gone out of the way so many times" to be there for her. She cited an example where one of the medications her son needed was not in the bag, and a staff member drove it to her Petersburg residence.
"Who else would have done that? No one!!" Boyle wrote.
"I drive from the middle of Dinwiddie county to get my prescriptions filled at Hometown Drug," wrote Alan Willoughby. "I wouldn't even consider going elsewhere!!!"
Added Jhessica Burch of Chesterfield, "Thank God! I really didn't want to go to anyone else to get my prescriptions! Glad God was watching over y'all!"
Several customers posted questions about existing prescriptions. When DEA announced the investigation Wednesday, it advised customers to go elsewhere to get any current medicines.
Hometown Drug advised those customers to call the pharmacy Thursday and speak with staff about getting those prescriptions.
As of Thursday afternoon, the post from Hometown had 125 comments and more than 400 shares.