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WOONSOCKET, R.I., Sep 11, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- CVS, the largest U.S. pharmacy chain, has been seeing to its customers' needs on the Gulf Coast despite dozens of stores damaged or submerged.
Since Hurricane Katrina, the Woonsocket, R.I.-based chain has set up mobile pharmacies; given away thousands of medications to those without prescriptions or identification; flown in employees from other states to keep stores open 24 hours; and set up a hotline to locate employees, reported the Boston Globe Sunday.
"The extent of the damage and displacement is far greater than anything we've ever seen," said Jon Roberts, CVS senior vice president of store operations. "Based on the need, we had to stay."
Eighty CVS stores in Louisiana and Mississippi were shut down because of the hurricane.
In some places the chain's recovery became operational faster than that of government agencies -- but CVS ran into trouble when it didn't have enough employees to work its stores. Its temporary hiring center didn't work as fast as planned, and it took more than 12 hours to set up a mobile pharmacy because of phone and computer line problems, Roberts said.
Copyright 2005 by United Press International.