Mt. Ascutney Hospital part of group opening new pharmacy in Woodstock

Valley News Business Writer
Published: 10/2/2020 9:53:21 PM
Modified: 10/2/2020 9:53:10 PM

WOODSTOCK — A Windsor hospital, a Rutland pharmacy and a Vermont commercial builder are coming together to aid the residents of Woodstock with a new pharmacy.

Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, Rutland Pharmacy and DEW Construction announced on Friday that they will open a new pharmacy at the Ottauquechee Health Center in Woodstock.

The announcement came less than 48 hours before the Woodstock Pharmacy is scheduled to close permanently at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Last month the Central Street pharmacy announced it was closing after 167 years in business and selling its customers’ prescription records to pharmacy giant CVS, which has a location in West Lebanon.

Mt. Ascutney said the new pharmacy would be located at the health center’s Pleasant Street location. DEW purchased the two-story, red brick 1970s-era building from Ottauquechee Health Foundation in 2013 and entered into a long-term lease with the hospital, whose network includes the Ottauquechee Health Center.

The operator of the pharmacy will be the Smilin Steve Pharmacy Group, which owns pharmacies in Rutland and Ludlow and is owned by the Hochberg family.

Dr. Joseph Perras, chief executive of Mt. Ascutney Hospital, said the new pharmacy is expected to be ready to open by end of the year or in early 2021, depending on when construction work on the space is completed.

“It will be a small pharmacy. It won’t be like walking into a CVS,” Perras said. “But it will be more than big enough to serve the needs of people in the community … there is great value to a pharmacy embedded in a primary care facility.”

The Ottauquechee Health Center is a satellite clinic of Windsor-based Mt. Ascutney Hospital and is staffed with physicians practicing in primary care, internal medicine, pediatrics and psychiatry and serves a patient population of about 4,000 people typically drawn from nearby communities of Woodstock, South Woodstock, Hartland, Bridgewater but also as far away as Killington, Perras said.

The closing of the Woodstock Pharmacy would have forced people who live along the Route 4 corridor between the Interstates 89 and 91 interchange and Rutland to travel to either White River Junction/West Lebanon in the east or to Bethel, Randolph or Rutland in the west to have prescriptions serviced in person.

Independent pharmacies, like other Main Street businesses, have been shrinking in number in recent years as chain stores and e-commerce become the dominant networks for distributing products.

But local pharmacies have been squeezed extra hard by the rise of prescriptions-by-mail plans which bypass the local pharmacist and the growing clout of prescription benefit managers (PBMs) which manage the cost of prescriptions on behalf of insurance companies and other payers like Medicare.

Contact John Lippman at

Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784


© 2021 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy