PRINCE GEORGE — A new independently owned pharmacy opened in Prince George recently had a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony last Monday.
Benzer Pharmacy joins other medical professional facilities on Puddledock Road in Prince George.
Owner Zipul Shah saw there was a need there for an independent pharmacy, and one that was close to doctors’ offices that can help make it more convenient for patients to get their medicine quickly and “with that more personal customer service.”
While the grand opening was just last week, the pharmacy actually officially opened on Aug. 7 with a soft opening.
“Around here, people are going to the larger pharmacies and have to wait for an hour, and often they are not getting the customer service they deserve,” Shah said, who works alongside his wife, pharmacist Prakruti Shah. “At those other companies, they aren’t able to establish the bond that independent pharmacies like us can, and when you have that bond patients are more honest and comfortable.”
For example when a patient comes in to refill their prescription and they say they have 20 pills left, Shah explained, and they are only supposed to have two, “we can talk to them about the need to take the medications and can contact their physician.”
Some of the ways of contacting the physician includes providing reports of patient refills and discussions if they are not taking the medicine properly.
“Often patients have better relationships with the pharmacists then even their doctor, because we see them more often,” the business owner said. “This helps better serve the patients’ needs.”
Other ways that Benzer Pharmacy, located at 4720 Puddledock Road, is trying to best serve its customers is by offering home delivery at no additional cost, customized medication packaging to help reduce the risk of forgetting whether a person has or has not forgotten to take a dose, and refill reminders available through text, phone call or e-mail.
“A lot of pharmacies don’t offer the pill packaging because it can be expensive to do,” Shah said. “But we know this can make it easier for our patients and offer this at no additional charge.”
He also said Benzer offers the lowest out-of-pocket medications, veterinarian medicines, compounding and flavoring. That includes providing flavoring to medicines to make it easier and sweeter tasting to take for children and maybe other patients who request it. That, too, is at no additional cost.
They compound their own medicines and create creams — all in-house.
Shah says Benzer offers medications therapy management that helps determine if a client is taking different medicines that interact with one another. He said that includes stomach problems or high blood pressure requiring the patient to need blood pressure medicine. Oftentimes, all it takes is adjusting the times patents take their medicines.
So far, Shah said the feedback from local doctors has been positive as he’s met with those in the area including an orthopedic clinic, cancer treatment, infectious disease, physical therapy and family care facilities.
According to the company’s web site, www.benzerpharmacy.com, the pharmacy accepts all major insurance including Tri-Care, a military and military family insurance provider.
They also take time to look for coupons to help reduce costs for patients, and even helped a Fort Lee service member receive medications with no copay. They also offer flu shots and vaccines on site.
The Shahs’ desire to start an independent pharmacy began while Prakruti was working at a large pharmacy establishment. She became disheartened with not being able to work directly with patients and talk to them one-on-one about their medications, and instead was “having to push out prescriptions.”
“That’s when it started,” said Zipul Shah, whose background is in medical company management. “We actually are looking to work closely with physicians, taking time to talk to and get to know our patients. It’s all about improving patient outcomes by providing education and medication therapy suggestions and providing the best services we can.”