We often overlook one of the most important members of our healthcare team — our pharmacist.
Your pharmacist can do much more than fill prescriptions. He or she can also answer questions about
- drug side effects and interactions
- container (child-proof caps) and drug dispensing issues
- large print drug information and instructions
- medication storage and disposal
- the best times to take medication
- tools to help you remember multiple medications
Finding a Pharmacist
While it is important to shop around to save as much as possible on your medications it can work to your advantage to find one pharmacy that you like and stick with it. You’ll have more confidence in the assistance the pharmacists provide and it will make it easier for you to track and refill prescriptions.
Here are a few other factors to consider before deciding on a pharmacy or pharmacist:
- Ease in asking questions and filling prescriptions in a timely manner
- Cost compared to other pharmacies
- Discount plans or coupons
- Other cost benefits, such as discounts on pet medications and other store purchases
- Access to prescription records (over the phone, in person, and online)
- Other services, such as delivery, shipping, consumer hotlines, online drug information, and coupon databases
You might also consider online pharmacies, but be careful. Check to make sure that you’re dealing with one that is reputable. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) offers an online database of accredited pharmacies that are licensed to ship medications to your state.
The FDA also offers some guidance in its Guide to Buying Prescription Medicine Online
Prescription Management Companies
Some patients, especially older patients who take many medications, may benefit from or be required by an insurance provider to use a prescription benefits manager such as Medco.
But if you do have options, take a moment to consider them. The help you need might be right around the corner at your local pharmacy.