The Arlington Pharmacy in Kensington, a community anchor since around 1929, ended a long tradition Tuesday when it stopped filling prescriptions.
"Drug costs have increased a lot basically," owner Wing Gee told Patch. "My store is still open, but the pharmacy department is closed."
Gee, who's owned the business for 19 years, said he's transferred all of the prescription files to the CVS drugstore at 1382 Solano Ave. in Albany.
His store will remain open, providing over-the-counter drugs, miscellaneous merchandise, gifts and its locally famous postal service, Gee said. The drugstore also serves as a post office.
Gee said he will need to change the name of the business since it no longer operates as a pharmacy and is still considering what new name to choose.
He said he's received "mixed reactions" from his customers. "People are going to miss the local pharmacist," he said.
"I thought I would be a pharmacist here forever," he said. "I love the neighborhood, but times are changing."
Even though his store is evenually reimbursed by health insurance companies for the drugs it buys, the "skyrocketingly high" cost of the drugs has created too heavy a financial burden for his business to bear during the often long delay before he receives reimbursement, Gee said.
"Big Pharma companies have increased their prices drastically," he said.
A notice from Gee posted on the door of the business says in part, "Thank you, my friends, for supporting me all these years. I am grateful to have been able to be part of your community and cherish all of your love and friendship these last 19 years."
Kensington lost another kind of service on Dec. 24 when the Sugar Cone Cafe across the street from the Arlington Pharmacy closed its doors after more than two years in business.