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January 19, 2024

Pressley, Markey, Warren: Keep Roxbury Walgreens Open

Of four Walgreens locations closed in Boston in past two years, closures occurred exclusively in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods

Text of Letter (PDF)

BOSTON — Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to Walgreens CEO Tim Wentworth urging the company not to close its location at 416 Warren Street in Roxbury. Many Roxbury residents rely on close access to the store for their prescriptions and essential products such as over-the-counter medications, first aid materials, personal care products, and groceries. Walgreens said that it would transfer patients’ files to a location about one mile away, but a significant number of Roxbury residents rely on public transportation, running the risk of longer travel times to pharmacies and grocery stores. For those lacking reliable transportation access, seniors, and people with mobility limitations, an additional mile to access life-saving medications, such as inhalers or insulin, could be the difference between life or death.  

The letter from Congresswoman Pressley and Senators Markey and Warren follows a series of Walgreens closures in predominately Black and Latino neighborhoods in Massachusetts, including Roxbury, Mattapan, and Hyde Park, since 2022. In the United States, many pharmacies, including Walgreens, are moving away from Black and Latino neighborhoods to mostly white, higher income areas. These closures reflect a larger legacy of historic racial and economic discrimination, which has created pharmacy and food deserts and a lack of access to reliable transportation.

“Walgreens claims that it is seeking to expand its efforts to provide health care,” the lawmakers wrote. “The choice to close several Walgreens locations in neighborhoods that serve Black, Brown, and low-income communities in Massachusetts, and across the United States — without giving communities adequate notice and opportunity or alternatives to access — belies that goal and its stated commitment to serve the health of people across America.” 

“In an effort to preserve and protect the health of the communities that you currently serve, we strongly urge you to keep the Walgreens at 416 Warren Street open and to provide opportunity for meaningful community engagement and input on its future,” the lawmakers continued. 

A copy of the letter can be found here.