Pharmacists pride themselves as being ranked consistently among the most trusted and accessible professionals in healthcare. According to a census reported by the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 91% of Americans live within five miles of a community pharmacy. Pharmacists are committed to medication safety and effectiveness by dispensing accurate prescriptions and providing patients the education necessary to take their medications as prescribed and safely. Increasingly, pharmacies have expanded their roles outside just filing your prescriptions from your doctor.

Here we learn about the many ways a pharmacist can help you manage your health: 

Vaccinations: Pharmacists advance public health by providing you your annual flu vaccine and, in most states, other vaccines, too, at the pharmacy usually without an appointment. Pharmacists are well-trained in immunizations and their indications as well as inoculation technique.

Brown Bag Consultation: This is the affectionate term pharmacists use when meeting with patients to discuss their medications. The idea originated from having patients bring their medication, supplements, vitamins, and over-the-counter medication in a “brown bag” to the pharmacy. This medication review, or brown bag consult, allows for the pharmacist to review your medications and to potentially make recommendations for changes. The pharmacist can give you advice on how to approach and have those conversations with your doctor(s). Discussion of optimal usage and importance for adherence usually comes up in conversation furthering your knowledge and understanding of each of the medications. The ultimate goal of a brown bag consult is to increase compliance and improve your quality of life.

Resources for Lower Medication Costs: With access to healthcare and medications remaining a big issue due to overall cost with many patients, your pharmacist can help you navigate to potential big savings in your annual mediation expenditures. Some resources can come in the form of filling 90- or 100-day prescriptions to lower your costs and time going to the pharmacy. Oftentimes, there is more than one medication to treat the same condition. In the instance that your cost is seemingly high, a pharmacist can recommend generic treatment options if available and appropriate. Other forms of savings pharmacists are well versed with include prescription discount programs (e.g. Inside Rx), and patient assistance programs from drug manufacturers for branded medications.

Medication Replacement: Whether you are traveling and accidentally left your medication at Uncle Bill’s in Timbuktu, or threw it out with yesterday’s mail, and you realize suddenly you are out of your medication. Your next stop is your friendly neighborhood pharmacist. There they can refill the medication or call your doctor should you need refills. But wait! You just filled your medication a week ago? No matter – most insurances allow for something called an override for replacement of lost or stolen medications. A pharmacist, using professional judgement, can assist patients who present to the pharmacy needing refills due to the aforementioned situation. It takes just a phone call to the pharmacy helpdesk to process your refill. The only caveat usually the insurance will only allow this override once every calendar year. Should you need to come out of pocket this is also when your pharmacist will shine in finding you the best possible pricing to keep you on track with your medication adherence.

Robert Squire is a pharmacist at SpotRx. SpotRx is a point of care pharmacy that puts control of the pharmacy experience back into the hands of the consumer.  SpotRx delivers an innovative pharmacy experience where patients can leave their doctor’s office with their medications via the convenient pharmacy kiosks or opt to receive all of their medications through delivery to their home absolutely free of charge. SpotRx is dedicated to increasing the health outcomes of their clinic partners by ensuring patients have a high-touch pharmacy experience while providing exceptional value for patients who have to pay out-of-pocket for their medications.