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Amazon or Your Local Pharmacy? By Our Student Pharmacist, Sandy Saleh.

During the holidays, it is very tempting to use online shopping for gifts due to the comfort and convenience of being able to stay in your home while purchases “magically” show up at your doorstep. COVID has also encouraged everyone to stay at home and use these services.

Convenience is always a plus in any type of setting, but convenience does come with downsides.

Prices may not always be what they appear due to shipping costs and other hidden fees.

Some websites like Amazon require a membership that they auto renew yearly with increased costs. It is also a hassle to get your money back for any returns that you might need to make, and returning items is a trip in itself.

These might not seem like too big of a deal, but purchasing items online also has a huge negative impact on your community.
Small businesses and even other local shops help your local community grow. Most small businesses actually donate to your community often because these small businesses are usually owned by people who live in your area.

The business owners also pay the same taxes you do, allowing for more money to go to support your local schools, parks, fire and police departments. Amazon may charge you for taxes, but those taxes do not come back to your community.

Amazon is not all bad. There are plenty of items on the site that cannot be found locally and it’s worth using when there is not a source for a particular item in your area. Just check out your local shops first for common goods to help out your own community.

pharmacy indAmazon has also recently entered the pharmacy business promising customers lower costs on drugs. For the most part, prescription costs are actually fixed by your insurance company and there is a high chance that the prescription cost through Amazon is the same prescription cost at your local pharmacy.

Amazon requires an actual prescription sent to them before they can give you any drug costs without insurance. They offer two day prescription delivery with other purchases which may sound appealing, but most local pharmacies offer same day delivery!

While Amazon allows you to speak to a pharmacist, the interaction is over the phone and nothing beats speaking to a pharmacist in person for all your healthcare needs.

Local pharmacies also offer in person services like vaccines, blood pressure monitoring, and sugar measurements that can help the pharmacist view your health and medications at a personal level. Amazon claims they offer drug cost transparency, but you can always ask your local pharmacist those same questions.

Shopping and getting prescriptions in your own community benefits you, as well!

Using the same local pharmacy allows a patient to get to know their pharmacist. Knowing the pharmacist allows for higher quality healthcare. There is so much a pharmacist can do for a patient including speaking to the patient’s doctor to get any drug changes that are needed and helping monitor chronic healthcare needs.

When your pharmacist gets to know you well, it is easier for them to resolve any problems you might run in to on prescriptions. That goes for shopping at local stores as well! Getting to know your local community members adds to your network when you need any help with day to day things.

Before shopping online, make sure to check out your community businesses first! Most of them also deliver or ship directly to you.


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