By John Norton
In “Independent Community Pharmacies to the Rescue – Part 1” we shared the story of Dave Miller as one more example of why public surveys routinely report high levels of respect for traditional corner drug stores. Being patient-friendly is one of the cores of the business. The average independent community pharmacy derives more than 90 percent of its revenue from prescription drug sales, so they depend on patients returning to their stores, mostly through a personal touch and by offering niche services. However, the bond between pharmacists and patient often grows even stronger during trying times.
Virtually every independent community pharmacist can describe a situation where they filled a prescription after store hours. Trekking out to the pharmacy in the middle of the night to help a patient in need might ruin a good night’s sleep, but it’s a godsend for the patient who is forever indebted. On other occasions it is the willingness to provide prescription drugs services during and after Mother Nature’s unleashes her wrath.
On Feb. 8-9, a record-breaking snowstorm blanketed much of the northeastern costal region. Robert Bradley of Beacon Falls Pharmacy in Beacon Falls, Connecticut was not deterred. He recently sent us this dispatch:
Beacon Falls Pharmacy was open normal hours throughout the blizzard of 2013 (as we were throughout hurricane Sandy). I delivered prescriptions as normal on Friday with my Ford F350 pickup truck. On Saturday, with many roads unplowed, we limited deliveries to emergency only.
The Beacon Falls Pharmacy is the only pharmacy in our hometown, so we feel a responsibility to be there for our customers and our townspeople. We have never closed due to a weather event in the 7+ years we have been open. When virtually the entire state of Connecticut suffered through an extended (weeklong) blackout following a surprise snowstorm on Halloween in 2011, we stayed open, running our operation off a portable generator and providing free cellphone charging for anyone who needed it.
So invariably when the latest poll from Gallup, J.D. Power and Associates, or Boehringer Ingelheim comes out this year the numbers will undoubtedly again document patients’ satisfaction.
Sometimes those sentiments are conveyed in person with a heartfelt thank you. Other times they come by answering the questions of a pollster. But the message is always clear. Independent community pharmacies make a difference in improving health outcomes, reducing costs and providing the human touch that is not always experienced in today’s marketplace.