Angie's LIST Guide to
Pharmacies

Pharmacies can serve as your one-stop center for your prescriptions, and for information about over-the-counter medication and good health and wellness practices.
 

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Many health care facilities and services are available to offer the type of care and service required by each patient. From ambulance services to hospitals to immediate care and more, there are various services to accommodate each need.
Many health care facilities and services are available to offer the type of care and service required by each patient. From ambulance services to hospitals to immediate care and more, there are various services to accommodate each need.
 
 

Finding the right pharmacy

If you're looking for a new pharmacy to get your prescriptions filled, research the pharmacies in your area before you commit to being a customer. You can start by checking Angie's List for member ratings and reviews. 

When you find a convenient, highly rated store, call the pharmacist to make sure the drugstore routinely stock's the prescriptions you use. Then visit the store to see the type of items it sells, including the products you typically buy. Find out if the drugstore have a website, and if so, does it offer online ordering and shipping to your home?

If you like to visit the drugstore to do some light shopping, consider the store's location and hours of operation. Find out if the pharmacy's operating hours differ from the non-pharmacy part of the drugstore.

Pharmacies that remain open 24 hours a day are ideal, particularly in case of an emergency. But if you prefer to use a pharmacy that's more convenient to your home or workplace, but isn't open 24-hours, find a pharmacy with later hours or 24-hour service that you can use in case you have to fill a prescription in an emergency. 

Getting to know your pharmacist

pharmacy
Pharmacist Mike Gillig talks with a customer about medications at a Walgreens in Noblesville, Ind. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

All pharmacist, regardless of the size or scope of the drugstore, must be trained and licensed by the state pharmacy boad in order to fill prescriptions. Most pharmacists' display their credentials on a wall that's easily visible to customers behind the service counter. If these credentials aren't visible, ask about the pharmacist's education, training and ask to see their state license.

If you feel comfortable with the drugstore you have chosen and decide to use it to fill your prescriptions, be prepared. A good pharmacist will ask you if you are being treated for any health conditions by your primary physician. As a practicing medical professional, he or she will ask about other prescriptions you are taking to avoid possible drug interactions, and give you an opportunity to ask questions. 

It's the pharmacists duty to help you to better understand your medications and guide you if you to avoid unpleasant or dangerous side effects. The pharmacist should be patient and understanding and answer any and all questions that you have, including questions about suitable alternative or generic drugs that may cost less. A good pharmacist will help you feel comfortable sharing any concerns you  have and most importantly, let you know that your questions are confidential and your information will be kept private.

Checking pharmacy and drugstore services

National drugstore chains are the dominate providers of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. However, many larger supermarkets and big box chains operate their own drugstores. Likewise, some drugstores and pharmacies are family owned and others operate on a regional scale.

In recent years, more drugstores have started offering a variety of wellness services that may include tests to check for high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and tuberculosis. Larger retail chain stores feature walk-in clinics at select locations that can diagnose and treat minor issues, such as sprains, strep throat or poison ivy. Some offer common vaccinations against such ailments as the flu and childhood illnesses like chickenpos, mumps and measles. Some drugstores even offer annual back-to-school, camp and sports physicals, as well as lifestyle programs such as smoking cessationsports.

For consumers who live in rural communities or more isolated areas without easy access to a nearby drugstore, consider using an online pharmacy. These retailers allow customers to visit their website to place orders for prescriptions and other essentials that can be shipped to their home. You'll find that many online drugstores offer added perks, such as health and wellness newsletters, and blogs to keep you informed and up-to-date on the lastest healthcare issues.

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