Pharmacies are an important part of the retail economy. They provide customers with vital prescription medications, advice about
their drugs, and other retail and medical services in some cases. The competition for customers is based on many of the same
factors other industries face, cost and service.
The role of the pharmacist is an important one even as we move to different delivery methods. Many patients see more than one
doctor and receive prescriptions from those doctors. Even when patients provide doctors with a complete list of all drugs being
taken, all interactions are not always caught. Pharmacists provide patients with an important check and balance against deadly drug
interactions with their knowledge of medications and patient history. It is important that patients consider that relationship when
selecting a pharmacy.
Pharmacists also provide valuable information about other products sold in the drugstore. Pharmacists can provide patients with
information about non-prescription medications they are purchasing and any negative reaction those medications may have with the
patient's prescriptions. This assistance can be invaluable to patients who are not always provided with this information from their
Pharmacies compete with each other in some interesting ways in the services they offer. The 24-hour pharmacy offers customers
the option of shopping when the need arises. Should a customer find themselves without a required medication or other medical
supplies in the middle of the night they know they can shop at that pharmacy for their needs. This leads some customers to move to
these pharmacies, even though prices, location, or other service factors may be better at another retail operator. They do not want
to take the risk of being unable to get medications when they are needed.
Other pharmacies offer other methods designed to entice the customer into other service methods. Online pharmacies offer the
ability to get prescriptions without needing to leave home. Mail order services are also being promoted to offer these services. Some insurance companies are even promoting discounts to customers who use alternate pharmacies.
Customers often find that the most cost savings is available with generic drugs. Discount pharmacies have created a market for
inexpensive generic drugs both online and in some of the larger retail stores. Customers can go to the retail stores like Wal-Mart,
Target, and Costco and get quotes on the generic equivalents of their prescriptions. Many are available at significantly lower costs.
This is most important for those who lack prescription drug coverage. A search online can help identify the locations of local
Another way pharmacies assist with the cost of drugs is by direct billing insurance companies. While many consumers do not fully
understand the qualifying status of their policies and the drugs ordered, many pharmacies have a wonderful way of providing the
correct codes and appropriate wording that seems to move claims through the system.
Pharmacies continue to provide vital service to the retail economy. Consumers rely on pharmacies to provide them with prescriptions
and valuable advice regarding the prescribed medications.