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Online pharmacy that said it would add 200-300 jobs lays off 62 Davenport workers

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Just more than a year after announcing plans to expand to downtown Davenport, an online pharmacy has cut more than a quarter of its Quad-Cities workforce.

Pharmaceutical packaging-and-dispensing service divvyDOSE has laid off 62 workers from its Davenport location.

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Celeste Pons, pharmacy technician at divvyDOSE, fills a vitamin prescription by hand.

A representative from Optum Rx confirmed 41 full-time and 21 part-time employees were laid off earlier this week from divvyDOSE, which occupied two floors of Mississippi Plaza in downtown Davenport.

The layoffs come roughly 15 months after divvyDOSE announced it would expand to the Davenport offices. At that time, divvyDOSE employed roughly 230 people in the Quad-Cities and the company said it planned to add "200 to 300" more jobs in the area.

An Optum Rx spokesperson said divvyDOSE would have a "smaller footprint" at the Davenport location, while the packaging-and-dispensing services would remain at the business’s facility off John Deere Road in Moline.

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A "for lease" sign on the Mississippi Plaza building on the corner of 2nd and Harrison streets in downtown Davenport. DivvyDOSE, an online pharmaceutical company, announced it laid off 62 employees from its Davenport operations. A spokesperson said divvyDOSE would maintain a "smaller footprint" at its offices at Mississippi Plaza in Davenport. The company had previously promised to add 200-300 jobs at the location.

Optum Rx, which operates under the ownership of Optum, explained the move Friday in a statement.

"With a focus on improving the pharmacy experience for consumers taking multiple medications, we are more closely aligning divvyDOSE’s personalized multi-dose packaging solutions with Optum Rx’s pharmacy services," the statement said. "As we continue to evolve our differentiated pharmacy care model to address the core needs of customers, members and consumers, our integrated approach and distinctive platform will allow us to deliver pharmacy care that is simple, effective and affordable for everyone."

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Celeste Pons, Pharmacy Technician at Divvy Dose, hand fills a vitamin prescription. The new Pharmacy organizes patients pills in pre-sorted packs, and delivers them to the patients doorsteps at no additional cost.

Optum Rx said it was helping the laid-off workers with job placement and would transfer some employees to other parts of the company.

Optum, Optum Rx and divvyDOSE are all owned under the corporate umbrella of UnitedHealth Group. UnitedHealth, the largest health insurer in the country, acquired divvyDOSE in the fall of 2020 for a reported $300 million.

A competitor to Amazon-owned PillPack, the company helps patients, particularly those with multiple chronic ailments, manage their medications in neat, easy-to-use packages that indicate what day and time to take them. The company organizes patients' pills in pre-sorted packs and delivers them by mail at no additional cost.

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Dr. Arvind Movva is the founder and CEO of DivvyDOSE. The new Rock Island pharmacy organizes patients pills in pre-sorted packs, and delivers them by mail at no additional cost.

The original divvyDOSE was launched by physician Arvind Movva in 2015. Then based in a Rock Island pharmacy, divvyDOSE delivered medications sorted in individual packages clearly marked with the date and time for patient to take the medicine or medicines.

In a news release from Feb. 2021, the Quad Cities Chamber said it partnered with the city of Davenport and worked with divvyDOSE’s site selector to secure office space in Davenport's Mississippi Plaza.

Chamber and city of Davenport officials heralded news of divvyDOSE's planned expansion in Davenport as a great success story that supported a more vibrant downtown.

Davenport city officials said the planned expansion provided "a big shot in the arm" in filling vacant office space downtown in a building that has seen large employers leave in recent years, including Lee Enterprises. The company, which owns the Quad-City Times, moved out of its downtown corporate office space in the Mississippi Plaza building to a location on East 53rd Street in 2019.

"We understand that each company needs to make decisions that are best for their business, and laying off employees is never easy," the Quad Cities Chamber said in a statement Friday on the divvyDOSE layoffs. "We appreciate the company's continued presence in our region despite the reduction. The Quad Cities Chamber's role is to provide connections and resources to all businesses in the region. We are unable to provide additional information on this specific employer."

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