SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Regional chains such as Lewis Drugs are making important contributions to the transformation of retail pharmacies into true community health care centers.
This week the 32-store chain, which operates in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa, will hold the latest installment in its annual series of flu shot clinics in Sioux Falls. All six of its stores in the market will provide walk-in immunization service from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on September 27.
“Many years ago we realized that this is a great way to help people stay healthy,” says Lewis president and chief executive officer Mark Griffin. “Our customers appreciate the convenience and savings that getting a flu shot at a drug store offers.”
This year the event, which will be held at many of the retailer’s other locations in subsequent weeks, will be expanded to include free hypertension screenings. If consumers are unable to attend one of the clinics, most of the company’s pharmacists are certified to provide immunizations on a walk-in basis.
Another Lewis initiative that is bolstering the positive impact of community pharmacy is the Synchronized MedFill program, which has just been rolled out to all of its stores. Under the program the chain’s pharmacists work with patients and physicians to designate one day a month when all of the prescription medications taken by a given individual are refilled.
“The program has been a big hit,” says Bill Ladwig, longtime head of professional services at the drug chain, who is one of three executives recently promoted to senior vice president. “Patients love the convenience, and it’s a great way to help maximize the pharmacist’s ability to improve adherence, avoid potentially dangerous drug interactions and monitor the effectiveness of therapy.”
In addition to Ladwig, the others elevated to the senior vice president level at Lewis are Bob Meyer, who is general merchandise and marketing manager, and Gene Elrod, who is responsible for human resources and loss prevention.