The recent closing of the Borders bookstore has me wondering what people would think if they lost the services of their local pharmacists.
The possibility is real. The similarities to what shut down Borders and the economic pressures facing retail pharmacy are quite striking, except for one thing: books are a commodity, drugs purchased at a pharmacy and the services provided by a pharmacist are not.
Those warehouse-like mail order operations are huge profit centers for these companies. Oh sure, they will "allow" local pharmacies to fill your immediate needs like antibiotics and diarrhea medicine. The problem is, neither an independent pharmacy or any chain pharmacy could stay in business with those few prescriptions.
If the mail order pharmacy trends continue unchecked, the days of having a trusted pharmacist to ask if this medication is right for you will come to an end. What does this do to the local economy? Large companies that depend on local commerce for their very survival seem to have no problem sending millions of their dollars out of state each year for mail order pharmacy services.
City, county and state governments do the same thing with your tax dollars being shipped out of state. This makes about as much sense as the unemployed factory worker hoping to get a local manufacturing job spending his unemployment check at Walmart on a kitchen table made in China.
So what can you do to save money and support the local economy? First be sure you have a relationship with your local pharmacist. He knows the most about you and your medication. Today it is Borders, who will it be tomorrow?
Elaine Liang, RPH