Thrifty White Drug went into action to keep pharmacy services going earlier this month when river flooding forced the regional chain to shut one of its stores.

Thrifty White Drug, TCG, TCGRx, Beacon system, Minot, Souris River, North Dakota, flooding, Robert Narveson, Arrowhead Shopping Center, Thrifty White, pharmacy, Beacon turnkey pharmacy, Duane Chudy, prebuilt pharmacy

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Thrifty White keeps Rx services going despite flood

June 30th, 2011

POWERS LAKE, Wis. – Thrifty White Drug went into action to keep pharmacy services going earlier this month when river flooding forced the regional chain to shut one of its stores.

Technology provider TCGRx said Thursday that it was called upon by Thrifty White to deploy its Beacon turnkey pharmacy at a temporary location when the swollen Souris River spilled over into Minot, N.D., and forced the retailer to close its drug store in the flooded Arrowhead Shopping Center.

The swollen Souris River floods Minot, N.D. (Photo by National Guard/U.S. Air Force, courtesy of Flickr)

Robert Narveson, president of Thrifty White, explained that the chain used TCG's Beacon system at a temporary site to aid north Minot residents cut off from access to their medications by the historic flooding.

"We recently installed the Beacon system in an 800-script-per-day pharmacy," Narveson said in a statement. "The TCG Beacon inventory management system's efficient design allowed us to implement a temporary, 200-square-foot pharmacy serving 200 scripts per day in response to this disaster within 24 hours. With only a couple hours of training, our staff was able to provide important medications to the residents of north Minot.

"The capabilities of the Beacon system are unique in the marketplace, having a significant impact on patient care," he added.

Overall, Thrifty White overall has 82 stores, primarily in Minnesota and North Dakota, with other locations in Iowa, Montana, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Last week as much as a quarter of Minot's population, or about 10,000 people, had to evacuate when the fast-rising Souris River crested over levees and inundated thousands of homes and businesses. Published reports said the deluge may exceed the community's historic flood in 1969.

"The Beacon system is ideal for this type of emergency response," TCG president Duane Chudy stated. "It is a modular and prebuilt pharmacy that can be set up in under 24 hours and within a few hundred square feet. It is possible to set up a pharmacy and be live in a matter of days at any location."

According to TCG, a Beacon system with 100% of the formulary can be as small as 400 square feet. Its medication storage and retrieval software features an inventory control and reporting function that tracks inventory level, medication use, returnable inventory, expired inventory and will-call expiration. The solution, too, replaces the traditional method of alphabetized medication organization with a computerized system based on usage. Low-power LED lights quickly direct the pharmacist or pharmacy technician to the medication stock location or will-call location, which is then verified by barcode scan.

"Organizing the medications based on use in high-density storage makes the Beacon system space- and labor-efficient," Chudy noted. "This new technology allows us to standardize processes and install very quickly in order to respond to an emergency," he added.

The Beacon system is sold in the United States by TCGRx and distributed in Canada by Healthmark.