Choosing a Pharmacy and Pharmacist
Here are questions to consider while selecting a pharmacy and pharmacist.
What to look for:
A pharmacy that can meet your needs for prescription and non-prescription medications as well as your schedule (open late at night or on the weekends). Using one pharmacy makes it easier to track your medication information and help you, your doctor and pharmacist better manage your medications and overall health.
A pharmacist who will take the time to counsel you at every visit, answer your questions and hold the same beliefs that you do regarding your medications.
What to Ask
Is the pharmacy in a convenient location?
Is the pharmacy staff knowledgeable?
How long has the pharmacist been in that location? What about his or her staff?
Does the pharmacist take the time to explain your prescription and other health matters to you?
What kind of training or experience does the pharmacist have in disease management?
Is the pharmacy open 24 hours or open at times that are convenient for you?
If there is an emergency, is there an after-hours service or number to call? What are the costs of an after-hours service?
Are their products reasonably priced?
Will the pharmacy accept your insurance coverage? Will it be more expensive than another pharmacy to fill your prescriptions?
Can you open a charge account or can they keep your credit card on file for convenience?
How many days in advance do you have to order refills?
Does the pharmacy have a refill reminder program?
When you call in a refill, do you talk to a real person or to a machine? Is there a toll-free number to call?
Does the pharmacy have a home or work delivery service? What is the delivery fee?
Does the pharmacy offer any additional or special services – chronic health management, personal consultations, etc.?
After Your Decision
Give your pharmacist the following information:
- All prescription and non-prescription medications you are using. (Medications available without prescription may also have serious side effects or interactions.)
- Any allergies (food, drug, environmental) you have. (This will help avoid being prescribed medications that could give you adverse reactions.)
- Previous problems with any of your medicines.
When you pick up your prescription:
- Ask about proper medical use.
- Listen carefully to the pharmacist's advice. Bring a notebook and write down the instructions and other information regarding your medications.
- Review the written information about your prescriptions and keep it handy.
The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice. These tips are from doctors, nurses and people who have shared their real life advice; always check with a doctor, pharmacist or other appropriate medical professional you trust before making any healthcare changes.
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