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Re: the death of the independent pharmacy

Posted by Noa on December 22, 1999, at 23:51:21

In reply to Re: the death of the independent pharmacy, posted by Abby on December 22, 1999, at 21:45:43

I would guess that what takes the most time in filling a prescription is getting the coverage approved by the insurance, completing the requisite documentation, etc.

BTW, 2 anecdotes about independents (not meant to be representative, in any way):

1. I moved into this apartment just about two months before an independent pharmacy in the adjacent mini-strip closed. It was so incredibly convenient, even had a post-office "outpost". Why did it close? HUGE scandal. One of the pharmacists employed there had been convicted of carrying on a stolen medication racket for years. He worked with a partner who was a hospital employee, who would steal medications from hospitals. They would repackage them and sell them to customers. I believe they were also selling the wrong medications to customers, and were selling out-dated medications repackaged as new.

2. I used to work in a neighborhood that has an independent pharmacy that has a fiercely loyal local following. The neighborhood also had, just a block or so away from the drug store, one of the last remaining independent movie houses, built, I think in the late 1940's, which was still a single screen, one large hall. Sadly, the movie theatre went the way of all the others and closed, and it was announced that CVS was going to move in and renovate the building. The neighborhood went ballistic. There were intense drives to prevent CVS from moving in. The neighbors rallied to hold public protests, appear at council meetings, send out petitions, etc. People were concerned about traffic and parking, were angered about losing the theatre, and about the loss of one of the last independent theatres, a landmark that they were proud of. And, they were very concerned about what might happen to the independent pharmacy. They shouted and leafletted, and petitioned for months. To no avail. The CVS moved in, and for the first few months had very little business. It was practically a sign of "treason" to be seen entering the CVS. After a while, of course, the CVS started making some inroads. They donated some space in their building and some computers, to an adjacent school. Resistance died down a bit. Of course, there are still many locals who are adamant about continuing the boycott, but their numbers are eroding as time goes on. And, the independent pharmacy has managed to stay in business. Why? For several reasons. The pharmacists is knowledgable, takes the time to talk to people, and has carved out a niche for himself by specializing in vitamins, herbs and supplements in addition to medications. He participates in some of the major prescription plans and keeps his prices competetive.




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