Five Reasons to Shop An Independent Pharmacy Vs. A Chain Pharmacy
Do you know who is your most accessible healthcare provider? Is it your doctor? Your nurse? No, it is your pharmacist; not any pharmacist but your independent pharmacist. Why is it better to go to your Independent Pharmacist over the Big Box Retailer?
What’s the Difference Between Shopping an Independent Pharmacy vs. a Chain Pharmacy?
That’s where those five reasons to shop an independent pharmacy vs. a chain pharmacy come in.
1. Customer Service
Independent pharmacies know their customers. You’re like family to them. Customer service is the lifeblood of an independent pharmacy. Consider how you’re treated in the check-out at a big box retailer, grocer or chain pharmacy? Not that great, right? That’s because they’re employees are there working for a corporation, not an independent business. For an independent pharmacy, it’s personal. Often, they know what you need, your family and your situation. There is a personal relationship and a foundation built on trust.
We talked to two local, independent pharmacists, John & Jerry and presented them with the big question. Why you? Both said it has to do with their customers. “We’ve known some of them since birth. We’re also part of the community, supporting our local businesses and nonprofit organizations. These people are our neighbors.”
John mentioned that because he is an independent pharmacist he has the freedom and flexibility to serve his community. Whereas if he were part of a big corporation they would be making decisions for him. Jerry says, “You will get better service from my employees because they enjoy working in an atmosphere of freedom, flexibility, and independence. They too are from the community and take pride in helping others.”
Big box pharmacies would like you to believe that they are less expensive than shopping at a local independent pharmacy. However, recent research shows that it’s actually the opposite. While there are some generic drugs that Independents can’t compete with, the majority of them are cheaper.
Did you know, independent pharmacists aren’t allowed to tell you if your prescription would be cheaper if you didn’t use your prescription card? They’re “forbidden” to share this information. But, if you ask them if you can pay in cash, they’re allowed to talk about it.
3. Shorter Wait Times
Customer satisfaction surveys consistently show what we already know. People don’t like to wait. In fact, the amount of time they are willing to wait continues to get shorter. This is where an independent pharmacy can really shine. There are a lot of different ways an independent pharmacy can achieve shorter wait times.
- Ample staffing during high-demand hours
- Open registers
- Well organized inventory and dispensary
- A streamlined POS process
- Online and mobile options to refill prescriptions
- Mobile payments options
- A designated payment and pickup kiosk
- Some independent pharmacies even offer a delivery service
4. Services Offered
Speaking of services, shop an independent pharmacy for a slew of offerings such as:
- Prescriptions: Of course you go to the pharmacy to get your prescriptions, but can the big chain fill them in as little as five minutes? Some independent pharmacies can.
- Immunizations: Easier than making a trip to the doctor, with a shorter wait time and less stress, is stopping by your local pharmacy for your flu shot. Most independent pharmacies offer more immunizations than just the flu. Many offer everything from Pertussis to MMR. Shop your local independent pharmacy to learn about the immunizations they offer.
- Free Delivery: Who doesn’t want free delivery? And who doesn’t want it when you have a sick child at home and you can’t leave them, but need their medication? Or if you are unable to drive? This feature alone is enough reason to shop at an independent pharmacy.
- Medication Therapy Management: Shop an independent pharmacy that offers medication therapy management. Your independent pharmacist may provide counsel on the correct use of medications, adherence, drug interactions and ways to save money.
- Medicare Part D Planning: Some independent pharmacists help patients compare different Medicare Part D plans, so they can choose the one that best suits their needs.
- Weekly Planners: This feature is particularly beneficial to those who tend to forget to take their medication. The medicine is packaged in punch cards so patients can access them at prescribed times
- Unit Dose Packaging: Attention caregivers who are required to have your patient’s prescriptions individually packaged, this feature is for you.
- Emergency On-Call Service: Another incredible, valuable offering you’ll only find when shopping at an independent pharmacy is an emergency on-call service. Have a question about a prescription? Need an emergency prescription filled? Some independent pharmacies have a pharmacist on call 24/7 for these reasons. Everyone remembers a time when you needed medication and the pharmacy wasn’t open. Not anymore. It may just be your independent pharmacy that has you covered.
5. Accuracy and Knowledge
The last time you visited your local chain pharmacy, did you even see the pharmacist? Have you ever actually talked to them? At an independent pharmacy, the pharmacist might even be the one who completes your transaction! At the very least they are likely to look up and ask if you have any questions. Even more common, they’ve reviewed your medication and any others your taking and are prepared to not only answer any questions you might have but impart anything to watch out for or that may cause interaction.
Many independent pharmacists and their staff continue their education with training in specialty areas like Diabetic Education and they’re ready to share this knowledge with their diabetic customers. Shop your independent pharmacy and get your questions answered by someone who wants to talk to you and is willing to help.
It’s pretty clear that the total package isn’t at the big chain, it’s in the details which are often overlooked by them. Build a relationship with your local independent pharmacy and discover the personalized services that you really need, at prices you can afford. The only thing you’ll be left wondering is why you didn’t make the change sooner.