Pharmacies are big business, with drive thru’s located everywhere in the U.S. and more on the horizons breaking ground; independent (standalone) pharmacies seem to be popping up here and there, but for those already in existence, the challenges have been overwhelming with several being bought out by larger corporations; such as Rite Aid and Boots. Walgreens is the largest pharmacy chain here in the U.S. which comes as no surprise, and CVS continues to work their way up as well. Walgreens popular slogan “At the corner of Happy & Healthy” was replaced last year with “Walgreens. Trusted since 1901” and continues to transform its stores throughout many locations. Pharmacies are competitive, so expanding services…like in-store testing and vaccinations, could possibly prove to be a positive, though smaller medical facilities are gaining popularity as they try and fit the bill, so-to-speak.

Pharmacy drive-thru’s are convenient for those in a hurry, sick, or maybe have a carload full of kids and don’t want to take them all in the store. The convenience is great, but how good is it when you pull up behind someone and realize their car isn’t running and it looks like they’ll be awhile?  It’s frustrating. I’ve already left the line and gone inside; then return to my car while noticing that no one in the drive-thru had moved. Sometimes the drive-thru’s aren’t efficient at all, but is it the pharmacy or the patients’ fault for such delays? Honestly…It could be either.

For those of you that like to use drive-thru’s, a word of advice…call your pharmacy to make sure your items are ready for pick up before you head out, along with the total amount due; this way you are prepared with your payment. If you have multiple prescriptions and some are new for you…please go inside so the technician can talk with you about them. If you’re in the drive thru, the vehicles behind you can hear your conversation, so it’s always safer to go indoors. Be mindful while you’re in the drive thru, this means if you have a list of questions…it’s not the opportune time to be asking; again… you should go inside. The drive-thru’s were made to be a faster convenience, and yet I don’t believe the employees stress this to their customers; they’re afraid of retaliation and confrontations by customers. Unfortunately, it’s a sign of the times, and people are always in a hurry…that is, until it’s their turn at the window. The pharmacy technicians have their hands full, and there’s not a day that goes by that it isn’t busy; they multitask and take multiple phone calls daily, while filling, counting, printing and whatever else they need to do; their job position seems to be on ‘Overload.’

The pros about sticking with the same pharmacy; they get to know you and your medication list. It’s important because with new prescribed medications comes risk; interaction with others can occur, and once you stay with the same pharmacy it’s easy to get a printout…even for the year (taxes). I’ve used several pharmacies through my life, and I prefer Walgreens; though they all have their challenges today. When picking out a pharmacy, always make sure they are a good match; hours, location and knowledgeable staff. It’s your health and your money…it’s your choice.

Make your week count.