NORWAY – Ketner Pharmacy will close its doors on September 18 after 26 years in business.

“It’s getting difficult to run as an independent pharmacy today,” said owner and pharmacist Laurence D. Ketner Wednesday.

The move is being made just days after nearby Walgreens Pharmacy opened its doors, Ketner said changes in the pharmacy industry, and not competition from the big name chains, was the deciding factor in his decision to close.

“We’ve done well against the chains over the years,” said Ketner who has faced competition from Rite Aid Pharmacy down the road and Wal-Mart Pharmacy since he opened doors at 54 Fair Street in 1982. “It’s really been how the industry has changed that made me take a look.”

Ketner, who has sold most of his inventory to Walgreens Pharmacy and will continue to work as a pharmacist at Walgreens, said the community and his customers have always been excellent to him and his business.

“It’s the things you don’t see,” he said of the issues he began to face such as reimbursement from insurance companies, the rules and regulations of the industry, the investments necessary to update technology, that all began to put pressure on the traditional corner pharmacy.

Although he said he might have held off the closing for three or four years, “for me, it’s best to go while we’re doing well.”

Ketner said that customer records will all be transferred to Walgreens and customers will be able to continue to receive services there or they can request that their records be transferred to another pharmacy.

Because Ketner was one of the few pharmacies in the area to offer home medical equipment and delivery, Ketner said customers will have to be somewhat proactive in finding a new supplier.

Closing a pharmacy is not easy, said Ketner. The Maine Board of Pharmacy and the Drug Enforcement Agency have to be notified of the closing and where the inventory will go. Customers have to be notified and other legal requirements must be met.

Additionally, the property, which includes about an acre of land and a 3,500-square-foot structure, will have to be out on the market.

Ketner said he is thankful for the support of his customers and community over the years.

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