Pharmacy remains open after buyout

A local pharmacy will remain open following Walgreens’ purchase of a regional drugstore chain.

Walgreen Co. announced Monday that it has completed its purchase of the USA Drug chain from Stephen L. LaFrance Holdings Inc. and members of the LaFrance family.

The transaction includes 144 stores that operate under the USA Drug, Super D Drug, May’s Drug, Med-X and Drug Warehouse names in Mississippi and six other states. The acquisition also includes corporate offices, a distribution center located in Pine Bluff, Ark., and a wholesale and private brand business.

Walgreen Co., based in Deerfield, Ill., announced July 5 that it had entered into an agreement to buy the Pine Bluff-based chain, which recorded sales of $825 million in 2011.

Even though some USA Drug stores are closing, according to news reports, Walgreens says seven will still be open inside the borders of Mississippi. Those stores include Eupora’s Murphy Drug and Gift at 1357 Veterans Memorial Blvd., reported earlier this month.

“This acquisition expands our business in an important region of the country,” said Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson. “It will provide significant new pharmacy business for us in this region while also enabling us to bring the Walgreens experience to many additional smaller communities where USA Drug has developed strong operational expertise.”

Walgreen Co. said the acquired drugstores will continue in the near term to operate under their current brand names, and that decisions will be made over time regarding the best, most effective way to harmonize Walgreens and the acquired brands. Walgreens runs nearly 8,000 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.