Healthcare: A Neighborly Approach- Southwest/ Tampa Bay- June 2004
To help her clients afford their medications, Shade launched Neighborly Pharmacy Services in January in Palm Harbor. The pharmacy purchases drugs from a wholesale distributor in Orlando and resells them at cost to seniors or anyone without health insurance or drug coverage. It accepts Medicare recipients.
The savings are considerable: Neighborly sells a month's supply of Albuterol, an asthma medication, for $6, for example, while national drugstore chains charge $12. Neighborly sells Viagra for $8 a pill, or about $240 a bottle, while other drugstores charge more than $300 a bottle. Neighborly sells most drugs on the market from generics to name brands.
Word has spread quickly among seniors. When Neighborly opened, it was filling about five prescriptions a day. Today it fills more than 100 a day. The pharmacy has had to add phone lines and volunteers to accommodate the more than 250 calls a day it receives from seniors requesting price quotes.
Local pharmacies have taken note. John Hawes, a pharmacist at Target's Palm Harbor store, says after several of his customers transferred their prescriptions to Neighborly, he began matching Neighborly's prices. Though most of his customers have returned, he concedes that Neighborly's prices are tough to beat.
This month Neighborly will open a store in downtown St. Petersburg. Shade is also working on opening a store in Pasco County. To avoid having to hire another pharmacist, Gaston Bedard, Neighborly's pharmacist, will fill the prescriptions at the Palm Harbor location, and a delivery driver will cart the drugs to the other pharmacies.
Meanwhile, other non-profits have asked Shade to help them start their own pharmacies. It's not an easy proposition: Neighborly owned the building that now houses its pharmacy and was able to devote the initial $300,000 Shade got from the organization's board of directors to personnel, utility and insurance costs.
Under orders to break even in three years, Shade is pursuing grants to help meet that goal.
"I'm doing this for the people who can't do it for themselves," she says.
Prices on the most popular drugs taken by seniors:DrugDoseQuantityNeighborlyEckerdWalgreensCelebrex200 mg30$ ?78$??92.09$??85.89Lipitor10 mg30????67????74.59???74.39Plavix75 mg30??111??141.59??124.09Enalapril5 mg30??????5???18.79???18.19Lisinopril10 mg30??????7???21.29???20.79
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