The Stop & Shop supermarket chain will no longer stock the painkiller Oxycontin because of an increasing number of robberies involving the drug.
“Stop & Shop is committed to providing the needs of our customers, but not at the expense of the safety of our customers and associates,” the company said in a press release. A spokeswoman declined to comment further.
Stop & Shop has 226 pharmacies and 322 stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York.
The company said it would advise customers who are taking the drug of the new policy, and would continue to order Oxycontin from wholesalers for customers with prescriptions, though the individual deliveries may take several days to arrive.
Last month, Scarborough, Maine-based chain Hannaford Bros. Co. pulled Oxycontin from its pharmacies after a man robbed one of its Shop ‘n Save stores of several tablets of OxyContin and Dilaudid, another addictive pain reliever.
James Heins, a spokesman for Purdue Pharma, which manufactures Oxycontin, said Stop & Shop and Hannaford Bros. are the only chains to implement such a policy. He said Purdue Pharma hoped to meet with Stop & Shop officials to negotiate a solution.
“We understand Stop & Shop’s concerns about pharmacy and customer safety,” Heins said. “But we’re also very concerned about the well-being of patients who need this medication for pain. It’s a situation where criminal activity is determining the medical care of patients with pain. We as a company are not going to tolerate that.”