Why local pharmacies are important | Editorial

I’ve been passionate about pharmacies for a long time.

Strange choice, you say? I think not. What could be more important than personalized, attentive health care?

The beginnings of the pharmacy are ancient. According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, when the first person expressed juice from a succulent leaf to apply to a wound, it was being practiced.

A brief history

In ancient Greece and Rome and during the Middle Ages in Europe, the art of healing recognized a separation between the duties of the physician and those of the herbalist, who supplied the physician with the raw materials to make medicines. The Arabian influence in Europe during the 8th Century AD brought the practice of separate duties for the pharmacist and physician. In America, Benjamin Franklin took a pivotal step in keeping the two professions separate when he appointed an apothecary to the Pennsylvania Hospital. Today, the pharmacist continues to fulfill the prescriber’s intentions by providing advice and information; by formulating, storing and providing correct dosage forms; and by assuring the quality of medicinal products.

My family and I have filled our prescriptions at local pharmacies for as long we’ve lived here. The attention to detail I have experienced is unlike anything you will receive from online pharmacy companies.

Across the country, rural pharmacies are shutting down because of customers using mail-order companies for their prescriptions. We cannot let this happen in our county. Living on an island makes it so important to maintain the vital services we need for everyday life. Having a local pharmacy is good for your healthcare, good for the economy and good for the community.

Around 15 years ago insurance companies started offering mail-order pharmacies in order to generate higher profits. While this is sometimes cheaper and more convenient for the customer, it is devastating to small town pharmacies. It’s also important for customers to purchase items off the shelves like vitamins, bandages, etc. Contrary to popular belief, the net profit from pharmaceuticals alone is not high.

For me, it is more important to know your pharmacist and trust they are looking closely at your medical history than it is to save a few dollars. So next time you need to fill a prescription or buy a toothbrush, please consider what it would be like if we did not have  locally run pharmacies.