Choosing a Pharmacy

Below are lists of questions to consider while selecting a pharmacy and pharmacist.

Choosing a Pharmacy

It is important to select a pharmacy that will be able to meet your needs. Choosing one pharmacy for all your prescription and non-prescription needs means your medication information may be easier to track. This will help you, your doctor and pharmacist to better manage your medications and overall health.

It is also important to select your pharmacist with the same care that you select your doctor. You want a pharmacist who will take the time to counsel you at every visit, answer your questions and hold the same beliefs that you do regarding your medications.

Here is a list of questions to consider when selecting a pharmacy and pharmacist.

  1. Is the pharmacy in a convenient location?
  2. Is the pharmacy staff knowledgeable?
  3. How long has the pharmacist been in that location? What about his or her staff?
  4. Does the pharmacist take the time to explain your prescription and other health matters to you?
  5. What kind of training or experience does the pharmacist have in disease management?
  6. Is the pharmacy open 24 hours? Or, is it open at times that are convenient for you?
  7. If there is an emergency, is there an after-hours service or number to call? What are the costs of an after-hours service?
  8. Are their products reasonably priced?
  9. Will the pharmacy accept your insurance coverage? Will it be more expensive than another pharmacy to fill your prescriptions?
  10. Can you open a charge account or can they keep your credit card on file for convenience?
  11. Refills
    • How many days in advance do you have to order refills?
    • Does the pharmacy have a refill reminder program?
    • When you call in a refill, do you talk to a real person or to a machine? Is there a toll-free number to call?
  12. Does the pharmacy have a home or work delivery service? What is the delivery fee?
  13. Does the pharmacy offer any additional or special services – chronic health management, personal consultations, etc.?

The Pharmacy

After you have selected your pharmacy, tell your pharmacist about all prescription and non-prescription medications you are using. Medications available without prescription may also have serious side effects or interactions.

  1. Tell your pharmacist about any allergies you have.
    • This will help avoid being prescribed medications that could give you adverse reactions.
    • Be sure to tell your pharmacist if you have had any problems with any of your medicines, currently or in the past.
  2. Ask about proper medical use every time you get a new prescription.
  3. Listen carefully to the pharmacist's advice. Bring a notebook and write down the instructions and other information regarding your medications.
  4. You should receive written information about your prescriptions when they are filled. Often, this information is stapled to your bag. Look the information over and keep it handy.

The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice. These tips are from doctors, nurses and people who have shared their real life advice; always check with a doctor, pharmacist or other appropriate medical professional you trust before making any healthcare changes.

Updated: 5/2009