Over the years independent pharmacies are being taken over by chain and retail pharmacies and the patients are not in favor, working in an independently owned pharmacy for years I have heard all the complaints. Independent pharmacies are based solely on the patients and their needs. Customer service is the number one priority at independent pharmacies. They provide services and opportunities that chain stores would never think of trying. Seeing how independent pharmacies are becoming less popular is not good for the future of healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry is turning into warehouse style system with no customer service or face-to-face consulting of medications.
By taking away independent pharmacies your taking away well trained professionals who educate and provide information to customers about their everyday medication and the safety and dangers of them. You can walk into any independent pharmacy and have a face-to-face consultation with the pharmacist on any type of question or concern. Believe it or not people have said the pharmacist at retail pharmacies will refuse to speak with you about questions and have you call an answering service if they are too busy. Independent pharmacists not only educate patients on their medication but also provide services and information on immunizations, diabetes management and preventative screenings.
The independent pharmacists and technicians will go well beyond their way to help you handle any type of problems such as transferring your prescriptions to their pharmacy or finding out your correct insurance information. When you call a pharmacy you want to get your medications filled at and they need to be transferred some chain pharmacies can take up to forty eight hours to make the call but with independent pharmacies it will maybe take thirty minutes depending on if they can get a hold of the transferring pharmacy, it is only one simple phone call they make seem like so much work. When patients need their medicine it is normally not something they can just wait next week to pick up or until the pharmacist has “time” to transfer it, it is something they need immediately, even if it is a maintenance drug it is still not good to miss a dose and mess up your body’s routine of it. Also, independent pharmacies have a MUCH shorter wait time than chain or retail pharmacies. They tell you that sometimes it will take up to two days before they can have your medicine ready and you can’t even talk to a person when you call you have to talk to an automated machine to figure that out. In independent pharmacies if it is an easy fill or quick refill we can have you in and out within five to ten minutes.
The next thing I am going to discuss about independent pharmacies is the specialization of things they can do for you. Not only do you get to personally talk to the workers and ask specific questions, but they will also order things that fit your needs specifically and keep it in stock just for you. Many independent pharmacies stock all sorts of braces, compression stockings, diabetic supplies, and many other items you can’t find in a chain store. Also, they will order something for you if they do not have it, say you wanted a back brace that Velcro’s instead of snaps together; they would be more than willing to order it that day and have it in the next morning. Many independent pharmacies also compound medication, which is a huge deal especially when the manufacturer runs out of a certain medicine. For example last year when the swine flu arrived no one could order Tamiflu, the drug to treat it, but our pharmacists could compound it with the stuff he had and it prevented people of having to drive for miles to find some.
Another advantage to keeping independent pharmacies around is that most of them have a free of charge delivery service. Like the pharmacy I work at we have someone that comes in everyday and takes people who just got out of surgery, someone who is really sick, an older person who can’t drive, or someone who just can’t make it to the store before we close their medicine to them. It makes a huge difference in their day if they do not have to fight the hassle of finding ways to get there or being miserable because they are so sick. It just shows the customers that we really do care about their needs and if we are meeting them.
Another huge advantage to having independent pharmacies is around the holidays when people are taking vacations for longer than a few days and they will run out of their medicine while they are there, the pharmacy will go out of their way to call your insurance and get a vacation supple override so they can enjoy their vacation and not have to worry about how they are going to get their medicine. Also, it never fails whenever pharmacies close for the holidays there is always someone who forgets to call in their medicine before hand and they call the pharmacist at home and he is always prepared to go up to the store, just for them. I have worked at an independent pharmacy for five years and there is not a Thanksgiving or Christmas I remember when out pharmacist wasn’t up at the store for at least an hour.
After seeing all of the advantages of what a good independent pharmacy has done for people and how we would be affected without them, think before you go to a chain pharmacy that is trying to put these people out of business. Look at what the chains are doing to local business; they are trying to take the “healthcare” part out of pharmacy by pushing it towards being a warehouse style industry. Without independent pharmacies the healthcare industry is going to hurt.
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