How To Choose The Right Pharmacy For You

The right pharmacy plays an important role in your family’s health care. But what criteria should you use when choosing one? There are so many out there, it’s hard to know which one to pick. Should you pick a large chain, or a small community-based Oakville pharmacy? There isn’t one right answer. It depends on what you are looking for and what priorities you have.

First, if you are looking for a one-stop shopping experience where you can fill your prescriptions, print photos, and grab a few basic groceries all in one place, a larger pharmacy chain will offer you the convenience of having those amenities all in one place. Many larger pharmacies are more like small grocery stores. This can be very handy if you want to, for example, pick up cold medication, relaxing bubble bath, chicken soup and some soothing tea all at the same time.

ID-100205944On the other hand, if you want personal service and a more one-on-one relationship with your pharmacist, a community pharmacy is probably best. Their clientele is smaller, and the pharmacists will typically know the customers by name and know their needs when they walk through the door. That kind of service can’t feasibly be offered by a large chain. Whereas you may have to pick up your medicine at the pharmacy and the other get-well items elsewhere, you’ll leave the pharmacy having had a one-on-one consultation with a pharmacist that knows you and your family and their particular needs.

This is not to suggest that a larger pharmacy is impersonal or that their pharmacists care less about their clients.  Not at all.  It’s just that with a much larger volume of customers coming through the door every day, some on regular basis and some only once, it is much harder for a pharmacist at a larger pharmacy to form the same close relationship with is customers.

Second, it’s important to note that small pharmacies may not have prices that are as competitive as larger ones. Because they cannot offer the kinds of sales and discounts that bigger chains can, you may pay more for many over-the-counter products such as cold remedies.  However, it’s a trade-off. If you can afford to pay a few cents more for your pharmaceuticals, you will get more personalized service and a feeling that the pharmacist really knows and cares about you.  If you need to save as much money as you can and are looking for a place where you can use coupons and take advantage of regular flyer deals, however, you might want to opt for a bigger chain.

Selection is another factor to consider. In a small local pharmacy, you may only have the choice between two types of analgesics (Tylenol vs. Advil, for example) whereas in a larger store you’ll have many choices, including brand names and store brands, which offer more selection both in terms of types of products and number of brands. If you are loyal to one brand, however, this isn’t an issue as long as your local pharmacy carries what you typically reach for. If you want choice, however, this may be a problem.


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