Highlighting the important role independent community pharmacists play in our national healthcare system.
Pharmacist: Ben Briggs, RPh, CNC
Pharmacy name: Lionville Natural Pharmacy and Holistic Health Center
City, State: Lionville, Pennsylvania
Pharmacist's years of service: 39 years
What led you to a career in independent community pharmacy?
After pharmacy school, I worked for a few years at a community pharmacy and didn't really like the way they were doing it. It was more of a convenience store that happened to have a pharmacy. I really wanted to do things a little differently. When I opened Lionville Natural Pharmacy, I had complete control and could shape my pharmacy to fit the needs of the community. I feel that I am truly able to practice at the "top of my license."
What makes your pharmacy standout from the competition?
In keeping with our understanding of holistic practice, treating the whole person, not just the injury or illness, we provide a unique approach to alternative health. When a patient comes in, we help them get to the root of their ailment. We offer both prescriptions as well as natural and alternative therapies. We educate our patients through private consultations, diagnostic screening, seminars, workshops, and newsletters. I also speak every week on a local radio program about health and wellness.
How did you ensure your staff was ready to offer the services you wished to provide?
At our Holistic Health Center, all of our practitioners are certified in their respective field. Our pharmacists keep up to date on current evidence based alternative medicine practices and we try to read clinical studies on the subject as well. We have a service oriented philosophy; all of our staff is experienced and knowledgeable.
What are your biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge that we have to overcome is all the misconceptions about alternative medicine, both by patients and by doctors. Patients may be taking supplements that they saw in advertisements or their friend told them to take, which may not be exactly right for them. We help them make educated decisions about their health care. Doctors can sometimes be challenging as well. Some don't understand exactly what we are doing, but most physicians are willing to work with us. We have doctors who refer patients here all the time with their herbal questions.
Describe a recent, rewarding experience with a patient:
A patient who came home from her freshman year of college was diagnosed with Fibromialgia. She was prescribed Lyrica, and when that wasn't working the doctor just upped the dose. After evaluating her, I noticed some symptoms that were consistent with Wilson's disease, a disorder that causes too much copper to accumulate in your body. I advised her to speak with her doctor about this possibility and it turns out that she actually did have Wilson's disease. The physician was pretty shocked that I was able to spot this and actually called to thank me. It felt really great to help that patient.
How has NCPA helped your business?
NCPA is the leading voice for independent pharmacy. They have helped show the true value that a pharmacist serves in the community.