If you take medications on a regular basis, you probably spend a lot of time at your local pharmacy. In fact, it’s possible that your pharmacy does more than fill your prescriptions. They may also offer immunizations, health monitoring and a walk-in clinic. Having a pharmacy that you can rely on for all of these things, plus reliable medical advice, is important. But, not all drugstores are the same.
People change pharmacies all of the time. Is it time to leave yours? Here are four signs that it’s time to part ways.
1. It’s hard to speak with the pharmacist.
Pharmacies get busy, so it’s normal to see the technicians more than the pharmacist. However, a good pharmacist doesn’t stay hidden. He or she should be available for questions and going over new mediations. Your pharmacist should be knowledgeable about the medications you’re on and their interactions. He or she should also respect your privacy as you discuss questions or concerns.
2. You have to wait for prescriptions to be filled.
Some waiting time is to be expected when having your prescriptions filled. Things can take longer if there is missing information or problems with your insurance company. The pharmacist also has to make sure the medication is safe for you. But, if you always find yourself waiting for no apparent reason, it’s possible that it’s a marketing strategy. Waiting means you have to spend time in the store, making it more likely that you’ll buy something.
3. You’re paying more than you need to.
If you have insurance, your copay should be the same no matter which pharmacy you go to. But, not everyone has this option. Also, with more companies moving to a Health Savings Account (HSA), choosing the cheapest pharmacy saves out-of-pocket money. Generally speaking, pharmacies in big-box stores or chains have cheaper prices than independent ones. You can also look at saving money by requesting 90-day prescription refills, paying cash and earning loyalty discounts.
4. The pharmacy lacks in technology.
It’s understandable why many people love the small town feel of their local drugstores. But, technology is important for a number of reasons.
- Online ordering is simple and effective. It allows you to keep updated with your medications without having to leave the home.
- With all medications synchronized, your pharmacist can make sure that you aren’t duplicating drugs, taking medicines you no longer need or experiencing side effects.
- Usually, pharmacies that are more advanced offer preventive care such as screening for blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol as well as routine immunizations. This allows you to take control of your health.
- Some pharmacies such as Walgreens have a mobile app that lets you connect with a pharmacy expert 24 hours a day. This is much safer than making assumptions yourself.
So, is it time to change pharmacies? If so, we recommend reading this article from ConsumerReports.org. There are great suggestions for choosing the best pharmacy based on what you’re looking for.