oes your pharmacist know your name or sponsor your child’s Little League team? Has your pharmacy ever stayed open late because you needed to fill a prescription but were stuck in traffic? Has your pharmacist worked with your doctor to find a medication that was more affordable under your health plan or had fewer side effects? If you answered yes, you have likely chosen a locally owned, independent pharmacy. Why? Because independent pharmacies are known for dispensing far more than medications.    

Your friendly family pharmacist

Most of us live within five miles of pharmacy and see our pharmacist more often that we see our doctor. That makes our pharmacist a key member of our health care team – in fact, pharmacists consistently rank among the most trusted health care providers. Of the tens of thousands of pharmacies in the U.S., 65% are big box chain pharmacies while independent pharmacies make up roughly 35% of all pharmacies.1 While big box stores are more likely to offer longer hours or the freedom to refill your prescription at multiple locations, independent pharmacies are noted instead for their personal care – which explains why independent pharmacies consistently top the list for customer service, as ranked by J.D. Power.2, 3 You are more than a prescription number; you are a friend and a neighbor. 

Your go-to health care provider

The impact of independent pharmacies is perhaps most profound in rural areas, offering an oasis in health care deserts where patients often must travel hours for care.4 Urban black and Hispanic neighborhoods are also more likely to be home to an independent pharmacy.4 The reason? For an independent pharmacist, the ability to provide care and impact the lives and health of their patients outweighs the desire to churn out prescription after prescription. Business matters – patients matter more. 

Independent pharmacies have continued to carve out their niche by adding services to benefit their customers and their communities. These health and wellness services in turn drive higher satisfaction among customers.3 Services your local independent pharmacy might offer include:

  • Local delivery
  • Medicare Part D plan reviews
  • Compliance packaging
  • Medication synchronization
  • Flu shots or other immunizations
  • Diabetes services
  • Medication therapy management (MTM)
  • Point of care test services
  • Medication flavoring
  • Compounding

The COVID-19 crisis further shone a light on the importance of local pharmacies, with compounding pharmacies creating gallons of hand sanitizer for customers and hospitals and local pharmacies staying safely accessible to their patients by adding curbside pickup and delivery services. Pharmacies have also played a key role in providing COVID-19 testing and will be relied upon to provide COVID-19 vaccinations when one is available, making these important measures available everywhere, from urban areas to underserved rural ones.

The health benefits of a good conversation

More complex patients are more likely to be drawn to – and benefit from – an independent pharmacy. Developing close relationships and receiving personalized care from their pharmacist can lead to improved outcomes.5 From discussions about side effects to concerns about costs, your pharmacist can assess the effectiveness of your current medications and if necessary, work with your doctors to find other medications that are more tolerable or cost-efficient under your health care plan. Adding in popular services like MTM, delivery, and medication synchronization (coordinating all of your medications for same-day refill each month) can help patients with difficult medicine regimes stay compliant with their doctor’s treatment plan, leading to better health. 

We’re here to help

We are proud to be your independent community pharmacy, and we are always here – for you, your family, and your health. 

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

Sources

  1. Perspectives on Pharmacy Reimbursement, “What Was, Is No More: Community Pharmacy Economics” https://www.jmcp.org/doi/pdf/10.18553/jmcp.2020.26.6.703 Last accessed: 09/21/20
  2. J.D. Power, “Recent Retail Pharmacy Health and Wellness Services Offer Glimpse into Future of Healthcare, J.D. Power Finds” https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2020-us-pharmacy-study Last accessed: 09/21/20
  3. MoneyTalks News, “This Is the Best Pharmacy in 2020, According to Shoppers” https://www.moneytalksnews.com/?s=This+Is+the+Best+Pharmacy+in+2020%2C+According+to+Shoppers Last accessed: 09/21/20
  4. AmerisourceBergen, “Delivering Care Beyond Prescriptions: A Marketplace Opportunity for Independent Pharmacies” https://www.amerisourcebergen.com/insights/pharmacies/delivering-care-beyond-prescriptions-a-marketplace-opportunity-for-independent-pharmacies Last accessed: 09/21/20

5. Institute for Local Self-Reliance, “How a Rebirth of Independent Pharmacies Could Cure Rural Ills” https://ilsr.org/how-a-rebirth-of-independent-pharmacies-could-cure-rural-ills/ Last accessed: 09/21/20

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