HOW TO CHOOSE A PHARMACY
Updated: Oct 1, 2019
Is your current pharmacy the one closest to your house? That is not necessarily a bad idea, but does it have all the features you need? Here are a few tips on how to choose a pharmacy that fits your needs.
CONVENIENCE: Your pharmacy should be closest to the areas where you traverse regularly. For example, if you work the night shift you may want a pharmacy that is on your direct route home. Similarly, if you are a student who is always on campus, you would benefit from a pharmacy that is close to your campus.
DELIVERY SERVICE: Do you have to take two buses and say ten Hail Mary’s while crossing a busy street to get to your pharmacy? Why not find one that delivers to your house? Some pharmacies set a regular delivery schedule that can allow you to get your meds safely at a time when you are home.
HOURS OF OPERATION: If you work the night shift you will benefit from a pharmacy that is open when you are awake. However, if you work multiple jobs and have variable work hours, you may benefit best from a 24-hour pharmacy that will remove the worry of whether you will get there in time to pick up your medications.
COST OF MEDICATIONS: Some pharmacies have $4 Formularies where you can purchase more meds at a discount. Typically, you can get a 3-month supply of common generic medications (eg. Metformin) for as little as $12. Other pharmacies allow you to use pharmacy discount cards that can help with the price of medications. These cards are multi-use and are available at your healthcare provider’s office. It is best to shop around for the cost of your medications at various pharmacies before committing.
USE OF TECHNOLOGY: Your mom and pop pharmacy may offer you great service but if you are the type of patient who forgets to pick up meds frequently, choose a pharmacy with a text messaging alert system or one that make automated reminder phone calls. Of course, this system only works if you register for it.
QUALITY OF SERVICE: Does your pharmacy’s prescription errors concern you? Find a more reliable one. There are organizations that claim to evaluate and identify the best pharmacies. You can even see patients’ ratings online, but if you fear your pharmacy is compromising your health, then look elsewhere.
CUSTOMER SERVICE: Pharmacists are one of the most under-utilized healthcare providers. Not only can you benefit from their knowledge, you can also benefit from a pharmacy team that treats you with respect. Do they answer your questions, point out medication issues or educate you on your prescriptions? Chances are they are a keeper.