Chain pharmacies have sprung up all over the country. They sell everything from prescriptions to pet products. There are sometimes very good reasons to go to a chain pharmacy but a lot of the time, going to a locally owned drug store can offer a lot of benefits. Here are a few:
You will not wait as long. Research has shown that at least 19% of the time when customers show up at a chain they find that their prescriptions are not ready and 21% have to wait a long time. When you look at the data from independent pharmacies, those numbers drop to 7% reporting their prescription was not ready and 4% said that they had to wait a long time. Often when people drop off their prescriptions at the local pharmacy, they are ready within just a few minutes.
- Local pharmacies offer more services. Among the services that are offered from the local pharmacy are delivery, compounding, immunizations, charge accounts and durable medical goods. The way the chains make their money is volume. While all pharmacies want to increase the number of prescriptions they fill, the local pharmacies know that if they want to compete, they need to offer more in the way of services. Some chains around the country are starting to offer delivery but they still do not do compounding.
- They provide more one on one attention. The typical chain pharmacy has one pharmacist on duty at any time and over the course of their shift, they can fill more than 300 prescriptions with the help of between three and four technicians. By contrast, the average local pharmacy will have been two and three pharmacists and at least three technicians. They fill about 200 prescriptions in a day. It is much easier for them to develop a relationship with their customers than it is for the people who work at chain pharmacies.
- You get better customer service. Because patients can establish a relationship with the pharmacist, the customer service they receive is going to be far superior. Often when people go to the local pharmacy, they get to know the owner. All of this can make the customer healthier. Often people take more than one medication and these are not always prescribed by the same doctor. This can mean than drugs are prescribed that do not work well together. Because the pharmacy staff has more time to spend one on one, they also have more time to check prescriptions to make sure they do not interact poorly with each other. Also, customers can talk through their concerns about the medications they are taking with the pharmacist in more depth than they ever can with a chain pharmacy. This is one of the best reasons to go to a local pharmacy vs. a national chain. All customer questions can be answered in a thorough manner.
- Decision making is local. Legally, pharmacists do have some leeway and can use their discretion when it comes to providing customer service. The problem is that when you go to a chain pharmacy, they have an added level of scrutiny, they have a corporate office that they have to answer to. That often means that pharmacists are less likely to use the discretion and are more strict with some rules than they need to be. The bottom line is that local pharmacies do not have to answer to an office someplace far away, they can make the decisions that can help their customers without worrying about someone looking over their shoulder.
- Local pharmacists have a higher accuracy rate than their chain counterparts. The most important job pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have is making sure they give their customers the right medication. While chain pharmacies strive to be as accurate as possible, local pharmacies achieve that more regularly. This could be because they can take more time on each prescription whereas the chain pharmacies make their money by filling as many prescriptions as possible so it is more likely that mistakes will happen. The problem is that mistakes with prescriptions can really hurt people.
A good pharmacist can be a great resource to help people get and stay healthy.
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