Pharmacist: Greg Harmon
Pharmacy: Kamehameha Pharmacy
City, State: Kapaau, Hawaii on the Big Island. One important point that works here is you get to dress like the locals, one pair of dress shorts, aloha shirt and slippers.
What led you to a career in independent pharmacy?
I had hospital pharmacy experience and wanted to live in this rural area. So I just purchased a closed business with local physician support. One year later, I purchased the commercial building with a partner and so I rent from myself.
What makes your pharmacy standout from the competition?
We offer fast service with waiting times less than five minutes; free delivery; charge accounts; veterinary prescriptions; simple compounding; over the counter (OTC) and herbal counseling; immunizations; and lots of triage time for tourists and local residents done out front—not behind the counter. The extra services offered are old-fashioned customer service and good communication with Aloha spirit! The basic rule of thumb of treat people the way you want to be treated.
What are your biggest challenges?
Today, challenges range from a lack of providers due to a federal health center organization and an economy that has seasons related to tourism. The biggest industry challenge today is inventory control and reimbursement above cost given the generic supply and cost issues that are always difficult to control and measure. The rise of closed network "preferred pharmacy" Medicare drug plans is also a challenge for patients if my pharmacy is excluded as the closest chain store is 22 miles, or a 45-minute drive, weather permitting.
Are you active in the community and, if so, how?
I have been a charter director for our non-profit hospital charitable foundation for over 10 years and also doing school and sports program activities in our rural community. I am also a member of our Hawaii Community Pharmacy Association and support our State Senator Josh Green who is chair for the state health care committee. He is also a doctor and champion for local community pharmacy.
Describe a recent, rewarding experience with a patient:
There are so many rewarding personal experiences on a daily basis that it would be difficult to just pick one. To show their appreciation, our customers sometimes bring in sushi, cookies, candy and fresh fruit.
How has NCPA helped your business?
Thank you NCPA for the programs and education to give us one step up to be able to survive in today’s changing business market. I would also like to thank my PSAO AAP-United Drugs for allowing me to be part of their organization being from Hawaii and Cardinal Health. There are several other suppliers like IPC and Harvard Drug that have been very helpful with our business model in Hawaii.