While independently owned pharmacies used to be the only place that you could pick up your prescriptions, they're quickly being replaced by major chains. Major chains are convenient since they have locations everywhere. Unfortunately, they don't always provide patients with the best service—pharmacists at these locations are often stressed and overworked. Thankfully, local independent pharmacies still exist in many areas. If you feel that you've been receiving inadequate service from the major retail chains, read on to learn four reasons why you should consider taking your business to an independent medical pharmacy.
1. Personalized Service
When you're visiting a big retail chain, you're most likely one of hundreds of customers that the pharmacist has seen that day. If you have questions about your medications, such as wanting to know how to deal with potential side effects, it can be difficult to get the pharmacist's attention. While pharmacists at retail chains are knowledgeable and more than happy to help, they're simply incredibly busy due to all the prescriptions they need to fill.
The dynamic is different at an independent medical pharmacy, which typically has a much lower volume than the big retail chains. You'll receive service that's more personalized, allowing you more time to ask questions and raise concerns about the medications that you're prescribed.
2. Shorter Wait Times
A lower patient volume also usually means shorter wait times while you're waiting for your prescription to be filled by the pharmacist. Some people don't mind the wait times at the big retail chains, especially if they have other shopping to do. However, it can be a major inconvenience when the only reason you're visiting the pharmacy is to pick up your prescriptions. Worse, it could potentially expose you to illness—some people waiting in line for their prescriptions may be picking up antibiotics for a bacterial infection. Shorter wait times are more convenient and can even be better for your health.
3. Less Risk of Medication Errors
The slower-paced environment of an independent pharmacy means that medication errors are less likely to occur. If your prescription is filled incorrectly, you may not notice until you take the medication. This is especially likely to occur when you've been prescribed a new medication and are taking it for the first time.
Medication errors can be dangerous, as some relatively benign medications can have serious adverse health effects when you don't have the condition that the medication is designed to treat. Antihypertensive medications for high blood pressure are a good example. If your blood pressure is normal, antihypertensive medication can drop it to levels that can cause you to faint. When the pharmacist has more time to double-check medications due to a low patient volume, you're less likely to encounter errors.
4. More Reliable Inventory
The big retail chains stock their medications based on computerized inventory management software. Wholesale medications are purchased and stocked based on what's most commonly prescribed. A major retail pharmacy may not stock the medication that you're prescribed or may run out before you can fill your prescription.
Inventory shortages are less likely to happen at an independent pharmacy that you've been visiting for a while. When the pharmacist knows the medication that you're taking, they can specially order medication from the wholesale pharmacy to ensure that they always have your prescriptions in stock. You're less likely to encounter the inconvenience of visiting multiple locations in order to find someone who stocks the medication that you've just been prescribed.
Overall, independent pharmacies have a number of advantages over the big retail chains that often make them more convenient to use. If you're currently using a major chain for your prescriptions, consider switching to a smaller, independent medical pharmacy for the personalized services that they offer.
To learn more, contact a local medical pharmacy.