As our society has become more sedentary, obesity and its many health complications have become more pronounced throughout the nation. Therefore, it seems wholly inconsistent for retailers who specialize in products to improve your health and for pharmacists abiding by their oath, to be building and/or retrofitting their locations with drive-thru windows.
Every little bit of exercise can be beneficial to reducing weight gain and the risk of obesity. So, the fact that freestanding pharmacies, grocery stores with pharmacies, and big box stores with pharmacies are now “promoting” sitting in your car instead of walking into and out of the store. This reverse logic advocacy is completely contrary to the primary purpose of a pharmacy.
I have yet to ever see one of these drive-thru pharmacies have more than one car in line. In addition, it usually takes at least 15 minutes to have a prescription filled, so that means either the customer sits there for an awfully long time or has to make two separate sedentary trips to the pharmacy, which only compounds the problem.
As planners, perhaps we should be more forceful in our questioning the need for drive-thru this and drive-thru that. Drive-thru windows certainly do not lend themselves to becoming or enhancing a walkable community, nor do they benefit the creation of third places. Requiring a health impact assessment is one way to at least get the applicant and the community discussing the issues related to sedentary lifestyles and obesity.