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Top Ten Reasons to Choose Independent Pharmacies Over National Chains
Bigger Does Not Mean Better When It Comes to Pharmacies!
In the past, local independent pharmacies played a critical role in helping people to maintain their health and wellness. They were, truly, the only option for obtaining medicines that required prescriptions.
Over time, however, large-scale national chain pharmacies have popped up everywhere. Every block seems to include a CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Publix, or Winn Dixie or other similarly large chain pharmacy. Bigger, however, does not always mean better when it comes to handling your prescriptions and comprehensively managing the treatment of health issues, especially in these uncertain pandemic times.
There are so many areas in which smaller, local pharmacies excel—and by supporting them, you’ are also supporting your local community, economy, and neighbors. They’re truly a gift to your community!
Equal Expertise and Knowledge Paired with Personal Attention
The pharmacists and staff at your neighborhood pharmacy are trained equally extensively, if not more, than those working at the large chain stores. They can provide the same level of service when it comes to filling prescriptions, administering vaccinations, offering pharmaceutical advice about your medicines, and more—but all on a much more personal level.
Let’s take a look at the top reasons why local pharmacies typically outperform national brands…
1. Decreased Wait Times
Anyone who has waited in a pharmacy for a prescription that has been called in, or even waited on a lengthy line just to pick up a prescription that is already available, knows that it can be tedious—especially if you, or a loved one, is ill.
The wait times at local independent pharmacies are much lower than their national brand counterparts. A Consumer Reports study indicated that only 3% of customers at local pharmacies waited “a long time” for service, whereas 18% waited that long at chain pharmacies. Less time spent waiting in a line means more time resting when you’ are ill, spending time caring for sick family members, or simply doing the things you’d rather be doing!
2. Greater Affordability
Many people wrongly suppose that large-scale national chain pharmacies will be the most affordable option for prescriptions, because they can purchase their drugs in bulk and negotiate lower prices. However, this is not the case. In fact, smaller, local, independently owned pharmacies are often a good deal more affordable.
Through offering discount programs and payment options that may not be available elsewhere, local pharmacies strive to ensure that anyone who needs medication can obtain it at a fair price. Also, independent small pharmacies are much more likely to suggest a cheaper option—possibly a generic—to customers to help them save money. It is less about their bottom line, and more about providing care to their customers at prices they can afford.
3. Careful Monitoring and Accuracy
Independent pharmacies typically handle a smaller number of customers and prescriptions overall. Since they take on fewer customers, local pharmacies can focus more intently on the people they do care for. They can also maintain a more structured internal review and monitoring process.
They’r are less likely to misfile patient information and paperwork, make miscalculations on medication or dosages, or mix up prescriptions. The level of care provided by smaller pharmacies in local communities is top-notch, and they’re committed to providing services at the highest level of quality.
4. Reliability and Personal Connections
When selecting a pharmacy, reliability is critical. A pharmacy must be dependable. Not only must the pharmacist and techs be available when you need them, but they must do their jobs correctly on a consistent basis. There is no room for mistakes when it comes to medication and pharmaceuticals, therefore daily tasks must be done correctly every time.
Smaller pharmacies do not face some of the challenges that larger chains experience— especially in more recent years due to COVID-19-related issues—including staffing shortages and overworked staff members.
Independent pharmacies are better able to maintain a smaller overall number of staff members, while ensuring all of their team members are experienced and reliable, and that they truly care about their jobs and the people they serve. They must view maintaining customer health as the most important part of their job responsibility.
Whether filling prescriptions, providing vaccinations, or offering consultations on any number of prescription-based questions, smaller pharmacy pharmacists and techs aim to form personal connections with their customers, rather than simply viewing them as business transactions that help the business’s bottom line.
5. Extra and Enhanced Services
While most of the major national pharmacies offer little more than the standard services that are expected, such as filling prescriptions and providing vaccinations, your local neighborhood pharmacy might offer significantly more by way of convenience than you knew was possible from a pharmacy. Look into it!
Some local pharmacies have begun to offer convenience services such as same-day delivery to your own home. In addition, many provide custom medication services such as prescription compounding, medication synchronization, and medication therapy management. Some even offer customized weight loss assistance programs, dietary consultations, smoking cessation assistance, nutritional counselling, and make durable medical equipment available.
They maintain a broad focus on the wellbeing of the entire patient or customer, rather than treating single issues alone and making sales. Their clinical support can truly improve the health and wellbeing of community members.
6. Greater Convenience
Local independent pharmacies know that life is busy, challenging, and sometimes difficult to manage. As such, they’ are aware that small conveniences can make a world of difference in the lives of people and families.
By providing convenient options for people to use in obtaining their medicines, local pharmacies make things easier. Curbside pickup, drive-through options, and the willingness and ability to ship medications—and even over-the-counter products—to homes make smaller pharmacies unique. Individual owners and managers of these small pharmacies are better able to provide the flexibility that their customers need because they know them well and see their needs first-hand.
In addition, customers can schedule appointments for vaccinations at times that may be outside of normal operating hours, or hold off-site clinics, to reach customers where it is most convenient for them.
7. Customers Are Not Just Numbers
Smaller pharmacies see their customers as individuals with unique health and prescription needs. Their staff takes the time to get to know you—not just by what medications you’re picking up, but by your name, your family, your face, and your coordinated health plan.
They remember you—the real you—not just the sales transaction. It is not uncommon to be immediately greeted by name upon entering the pharmacy or going up to the pharmacy counter.
Because of this more personal relationship, customers feel more comfortable speaking up and asking questions about medications, prescriptions, procedures, immunizations, and more. Customers can become much more involved in their own healthcare plans.
Pharmacists and staff are not only working to maintain these relationships with their patients, though. They also form relationships with the local doctors, service providers, and other community leaders, enabling them to work together with them to ensure that the entire community is receiving the best care possible and that any community health problems are solved early on.
8. Shared Community Values
The staff at local pharmacies understand their customers’ values. They understand the community in which they work and want what’s best for it — and everyone in it. Not only do they want to ensure that their community members are in good physical health, but they also aim to help foster community values and become actively involved in community goals and initiatives.
Independent pharmacies play important roles in supporting their communities, so it only makes sense that community members should band together to support them in return. Purchasing from a small local pharmacy returns a large amount of money to the local economy. You’re truly helping to inject funds into your community and helping local families thrive when you shop local!
While we all want to know that our local pharmacists and techs are well-educated, many local pharmacies take it a step further. In addition to ensuring top-notch education for staff members, they also aim to educate entire communities about health risks, issues, and health-related subjects.
Sometimes this comes in the face-to-face form of helping someone learn how to use medication correctly. Other times, a pharmacist may help you to know what to expect when you’re facing a specific ailment — or provide tips to make you more comfortable. Furthermore, discussions about your health goals and how to achieve them are not out of the ordinary.
In addition to these one-on-one discussions, some pharmacies host special workshops and attend community-wide events to share information with their community members. In more recent times, during COVID-19, social media and online classes have become popular as well. These can be used to keep people up to date with health-related news.
Local pharmacies truly make it their responsibility to educate their communities and customers in ways that large national chains never could.
10. Customer Satisfaction
Local pharmacies work very hard to ensure that their customers and staff are happy. They offer convenient shopping, quick prescription filling, short wait times, and comprehensive levels of care that are unmatched by other larger chains.
A J.D. Power & Associates survey discovered that local pharmacies achieve top scores, above national changes, for customer satisfaction. They have taken the challenges of the past couple of years and transformed them into opportunities and will likely continue to succeed as people learn the many benefits of relying on smaller pharmacies to meet their needs.