Time to Switch Drugstores? Independent Pharmacies Focus on Local Relationships and Embrace Customer

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Benzer Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy, has announced December 2, 2015, that it will offer flexible pricing. The pharmacy is encouraging patients to look out on the services of independent pharmacies who are well known for speed and accuracy. Currently, the pharmacy matches competitor pricing and provides competitive cash pricing for a prescription if a patient does not have insurance.

If patients have overlooked a local independent pharmacy because they figured it probably charged more than the bigger chain stores, they might be missing out on some good deals and great services.

For years, independent pharmacies have continued to provide a high level of customer service, discounts and attention to patients. Independent pharmacy owners are not worried about customers leaving them for the big chains because customer service is where independent stores have a clear advantage.

Benzer Pharmacy for instance, recently threw a full-blown surprise birthday party for a longtime customer, Helga Courtney who turned 95 years old. Satyam Sharma, pharmacy manager at the store in Melbourne, Florida, said he knows his customers by name and for many of his older clients who are prone to forget calling in for a refill, he knows if their prescription needs to be filled and will make sure he has the necessary drugs in stock.

“When people use big chain pharmacies, they become a number rather than a name and the responsibility for making sure prescriptions get filled is entirely on the customer,” explains Satyam.

Independent pharmacies such as Benzer Pharmacy offer the same products and services as big chain pharmacies. The stores are typically owned by the pharmacist and the customer service is often superior to the big chains. To stay competitive, independent pharmacies offer more services such as free delivery and med pack preparation.

National Community Pharmacists Association says medication experts in independent pharmacies provide counsel on the treatment of a variety of health related concerns and reduce overall costs by helping to ensure that patients consistently take their medications and by referring them to generic treatment options when they are available.

“It is hard to get consultation from a big chain drug store pharmacist, but in a local independent pharmacy, pharmacists are readily available for consultation, free of charge. Establishing a good relationship with a pharmacist you trust is the number one reason to choose an independent drugstore,” adds Satyam.

Independent pharmacies offer custom compounds. For example, if a person has trouble swallowing pills, the pharmacy can work with their respective physician to get a prescription for a form of medication that is easier to take such as lollipops, liquids, or chewables. Benzer Pharmacy also provides a free home delivery service.

“Independent pharmacies offer free med pack preparations to customers who are having a tough time trying to remember to take all their medications and keep them organized using the multi-dose packaging. The pharmacies ensure medications are filled correctly and even complete prior authorization forms on behalf of the doctor.” describes Satyam.

There is a major difference in shopping at a chain pharmacy and an independent pharmacy. Shopping with locally, privately owned companies in the community supports the local economy. Jobs are created and a large percentage of the money spent stays in the community as compared to going to a big chain’s headquarters located in another state.

Other services provided by independent pharmacies include medication therapy management services as well as health screenings, blood pressure screenings, travel immunizations, and a large supply of durable medical equipment.

Big chain retailers seem to attract big crowds, which means long lines. Independent pharmacies however, will work to have patients out of the pharmacy in less than 10 minutes. “Customer service is the focus in these privately owned drugstores,” reiterates Satyam.

Chain retailers are often headed by corporations in big cities, and will never meet the people who make their businesses a success. This differs with an independent pharmacy. The owner lives in the same state and likely interacts with the people who make his business successful.

Independent owners take pride in serving their patients and playing an important role in their communities through donations, charities, volunteering and running campaigns. For instance, Benzer Pharmacy offers ‘Dispose My Meds’ a medication disposal program provided free of charge in all Benzer stores to properly dispose off pharmaceuticals.

“Our aim is to showcase our leadership in protecting the environment and preventing medication misuse by ensuring the safe and proper handling of medications, from dispensing to disposal,” says Emah Madegwa, Media and PR Manager.

It is evident that an independent pharmacy has a lot of advantages over big retail chains. The sad reality is that major retailers only see customers as “business.” Fortunately, an independent pharmacy views its customers as “people they love to serve.” This is why it’s better to choose an independent pharmacy for your pharmaceutical needs.

The next time a doctor writes a prescription for a new generic drug, shop around, as this could grant more personalized services than expected.

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