Monday, July 02, 2007

The Corner Drugstore, Barely Clinging to Health

Here's a good article regarding the state of American independent retail pharmacy. There are some definite parallels to the Canadian retail scene.

From the Washington Post:
Cheri Garvin and her staff at Leesburg Pharmacy will mix pediatric reflux medicine from scratch, in any flavor a child desires. If peppermint doesn't suit, she has peaches and cream, pina colada, pineapple -- and those are just the Ps. And the kids get an advance taste, ice-cream-parlor style. "We want to make Mom's job of getting it down them easier," said Garvin, a mother of two young boys. "We'll mix Tutti-Frutti if that's what it takes."

"What it takes" is a mantra for Garvin, a community pharmacist in a world being overtaken by chain stores and, increasingly, mail-order warehouses. She has survived by turning her brick-and-glass storefront in the Virginia Village strip mall into a refuge for anyone whose health-care needs don't fit within the template of the big-box economy.

Sandy Bishop drove her daughter Elizabeth, 14, eight miles from Ashburn, past a dozen pharmacies, to buy a brace for her ankle, which she sprained while playing lacrosse. "They have a much better selection here than Wal-Mart," said Elizabeth. Parents of autistic children, who are sensitive to many additives, come here to have their medicine specially mixed, allergen-free, in the pharmacy's state-of-the-art compounding lab. People with questions about medications can ask them at an out-of-the-way consultation counter. "I feel like I can actually talk to someone without those horrendous lines at CVS where everyone hears you," Sandy Bishop said. And if your baby has runaway diaper rash, Leesburg Pharmacy has an acclaimed homemade remedy with an unvarnished name: Robert's Butt Paste. Try asking your mail-order drug plan for that. ...more

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