Pharmacy at Student Health and Wellness Center set to close at the end of the semester

Andrea Valdez-Rivas, Reporter

At the end of this semester, students can no longer depend on the services provided by the pharmacy of the Student Health and Wellness Center.

The pharmacy, located in Union Building E. 100, will close its doors after Dec. 14, 2018. The closure is due to a steady decrease of pharmacy usage by students and an increase in the demand of other services within the Student Health and Wellness Center, per Gary Edens, Vice President for Student Affairs.

We have seen a consistent drop in usage, by students, of the pharmacy,” Edens said. “As we look at making sure that we’re containing costs here as an institution, we look at how many students are using it, who’s benefiting, how much is the cost and if it makes sense to keep these facilities and services open. And what we were seeing over the past several years is a decrease in pharmacy usage and an increase in the demand of other things within the health center.”

Recently, students that were sick and sought treatment at the center had to be put on a waiting lists or scheduled a couple of days after their initial walk-in, according to Edens.

UTEP also charges a fee in each students’ tuitions of $14.40 to cover the costs of the Student Health and Wellness Center. By closing the pharmacy, there would be more money for other services within the health center, but as of now, the cost will remain on student’s tuition for next semester.

“We see the demand on the one-on-one student interaction with a nurse practitioner much more in need than the need for a pharmacist,” Edens said. “So, what we thought made more sense was to close the pharmacy, use those savings to hire additional people in the health center so that students won’t have to wait, can get more immediate attention, get the services that people are asking us for.”

The pharmacy offers students and staff items that they may buy without a prescription, such as general first aids, medications for pain, fever or inflammation, for cough, cold, or sore throat. Items like condoms, topical creams and lotions, pill cutters, tissues, eye drops and ear wax removal drops are also available.

The Prospector will continue to update this story as it develops.