VALLEY FORGE, Pa. — While the coronavirus pandemic has upended the world, independent pharmacies have doubled down on their commitment to provide personalized care to their patients. The countless ways that these independent pharmacies have gone above and beyond to serve their communities during this pandemic, have further established the critical role that community pharmacies play as the most assessible sites of care and brightest sources of positivity through this health care crisis.
Beyond maintaining access to care, pharmacies have quickly adapted to serve their communities in new and inspiring ways. In response to the pandemic, AmerisourceBergen and Good Neighbor Pharmacy (GNP) launched a Fearless Pharmacy campaign to highlight the widespread efforts of pharmacies across the country, from major retail to independent community pharmacies. Since its launch in early April, the website has received 9,500 page views and 8,500 unique visitors, with viewers spending an average of more than eight minutes engaging with the content.
“Our Fearless Pharmacy website sheds light on over 50 amazing stories of community pharmacies going above and beyond,” said Brian Nightengale, senior vice president of community and specialty pharmacy at AmerisourceBergen and president of Good Neighbor Pharmacy. “We continue to be inspired by our customers’ efforts – from compounding hand sanitizer for their local EMT services, to providing free personal protective equipment to local healthcare workers, to pharmacy owners who are offering free lunches to people in their community who have been laid off because of COVID. The stories are endless.”
For example, Lily’s Pharmacy in Johns Creek, Georgia has recently received attention for its unique community-empowering initiative. Lily’s Pharmacy owner Jennifer Shannon asked her customers to leave homemade cards at their doorsteps when receiving a medication delivery, so pharmacy employees could gather and distribute the cards to elderly patients who were feeling lonely in isolation amid quarantine. Since launching the campaign back in March, the pharmacy has collected thousands of homemade cards from children, pharmacy students, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, and other organizations across the state. Shannon and her team are continuing to attach the cards to the prescriptions they deliver to the community’s elderly residents.
“Many local patients frequent our pharmacy because they want the in-person care we offer, or just to talk or receive a compassionate hug. With so many of our elderly patients at home, isolated from their own families, and not able to come in, the phone calls we received during the peak of the pandemic brought me to tears,” said Shannon. “My husband and I continue to be over-joyed by our community’s contributions, which have helped bring a smile to our older patients who remain in isolation during this dark time. It’s an incredible example of a community rallying around their local pharmacy to bring care to their neighbors in a unique way.”
GNP pharmacies have leveraged the support and resources provided by AmerisourceBergen and GNP to expand medication delivery and use social media to spread awareness of services.
“We first used word-of-mouth and other traditional tactics to promote our cards initiative, but ultimately, using social media – in part because of the resources GNP provided – was such an effective way to rally hundreds of people to help. Building my social media presence allowed me to increase my following and engagement across all channels, and that ultimately lets me help more patients,” continued Shannon.
Inspired by Lily’s Pharmacy and the Shannon family, GNP turned to social media to launch its #PrescriptionforKindness campaign, calling on GNP member pharmacies and communities across the country to spread hope and positivity by sharing messages, artwork, poems, videos and more on social media using the hashtag #PrescriptionforKindness.
The story of Lily’s Pharmacy serves as just one example of how pharmacies across the country have found unique ways to go above and beyond for their communities.