Elephant Pharm Transfers Prescriptions to Longs Drugs

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Wednesday February 11, 2009 - 07:08:00 PM

Elephant Pharm, which closed stores in Berkeley, San Rafael and Walnut Creek on Feb. 3 and filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy, has transferred all its prescriptions to Longs Drugs, which was recently acquired by CVS Caremark. 

Elephant’s customers—some of whom arrived at the North Berkeley store to pick up their medicine right after the store went out of business last week—had expressed concern about the fate of their prescriptions since a notice on the company’s website simply asked them to contact their doctor for refills. 

On Feb. 6, Kathi Lentzsch, Elephant’s CEO, released a statement explaining that the company had transferred all the prescription records to Longs Drugs. 

Mike DeAngelis, a spokesperson for CVS Caremark, told the Planet Wednesday that the transfer had been completed. 

“Customers don’t need to take any action,” he said. “It was all automatic and we were able to make arrangements to take possession of those records.” 

Virginia Herold, executive director of the California Pharmacy Board, said that state law requires pharmacies which have closed down to transfer prescriptions to a licensed pharmacy. 

Herold said that the transferred records have to be with a licensed pharmacy for at least three years so that the board can have access to them in case of a problem. 

“Our patients and customers have always come first,” Lentzsch said. “It was heart wrenching when we determined late Monday night that we would have to close our doors immediately. On Tuesday morning, several of our pharmacists volunteered their time to contact patients and doctors with serious or life threatening conditions.” 

Longs received prescription records from all Elephant Pharm locations on Saturday. 

Lentzsch said that when patients called the Elephant Pharm telephone number, their calls would be routed to the local Longs pharmacy that had their prescription. 

She said that emails had also been sent to Elephant Pharm customers to inform them about the transfer. Longs is also contacting former Elephant customers to let them know where their records were being held. 

DeAngelis said he was not allowed to disclose how many prescriptions had been transferred over to Longs. 

Although Longs will be converted to CVS/pharmacy later this year, CVS will continue to handle the prescriptions from Elephant. 

Patients in Berkeley who require a refill should contact the Longs Drug Store at the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Rose Street. It is located at 1451 Shattuck Ave., phone number: 849-0484.