Highlighting the important role independent community pharmacists play in our national healthcare system.
Pharmacist: Annik Chamberlin
Pharmacy name: Beacon Prescriptions Compounding Pharmacy
City, State: Southington, CT
Pharmacist's years of service: 9
What led you to a career in independent community pharmacy?
My dream of owning an independent community pharmacy began at the young age of 16 where I started my first job as a clerk at a local independent pharmacy. I knew then that someday I would own and operate an independent community pharmacy. A few short months later, the pharmacy was bought out by a chain pharmacy. I continued to work for the chain pharmacy through high school and college, however, my dream of independent pharmacy ownership was still very strong. During my chain pharmacy work experience, I was fortunate to have excellent mentors and unique opportunities that reinforced my desire for serving patients as well as my love for a challenging and rewarding career. I am also very blessed to come from a hard-working family with lots of entrepreneurial spirit. During my last year of college, I completed a rotation at a independent community pharmacy that helped me gain more experience and insight and led to my first job as a pharmacist. The next 6 years after college graduation, I worked very hard at growing personally and professionally in preparation for pharmacy ownership. In 2010, I realized my dream when I purchased Beacon Prescriptions Compounding Pharmacy in Southington, CT with my business partner. Owning this pharmacy has proved to be the most rewarding and challenging experience and I would not change a thing in the world.
What makes your pharmacy standout from the competition?
Beacon Prescriptions is a full retail pharmacy that operates a state-of-the-art compounding laboratory. We standout from the rest by always striving to provide superior customer service as well as to continue to be a resource for patients and prescribers by staying on the cutting edge with knowledge, training and equipment. We also carry high-end nutritional supplements, stock specialty infertility medications, and offer shipping and delivery. Our pharmacy has extensive experience with safely and accurately compounding customized medications, both sterile and non-sterile. Our current location in Southington, CT is home to a 1500 square foot compounding laboratory also containing an ISO class 7 clean room and several hoods. Our laboratory contains pharmaceutical grade chemicals and specialized equipment, including a sterile containment unit, ointment mill, electronic mortar and pestle, autoclave, dry heat oven, and Pro 300 capsule machine. Our Isotech Microsphere sterile containment unit allows us to prepare sterile injectables and ophthalmic preparations. Our training and equipment allow us to prepare many dosage forms including suspensions, capsules/SL tablets, creams/ointments, suppositories, transdermal gels/creams, troches, otic medications, ophthalmic preparations, and injectables.
What are your biggest challenges?
As a young business owner, my biggest learning curve is in the the area of employee management and inventory control. As a pharmacy business owner, my biggest challenges are declining third party reimbursement, changes in pharmacy laws and regulations, and most recently dramatic price increases in prescription medications.
Describe a recent, rewarding experience with a patient:
I am truly blessed to be challenged daily by the complexity of our patients and rewarded with the solutions that specialty compounded medications can offer. We have solved many dilemmas such as when a medication is discontinued or unavailable, a dosage strength is not commercially available, a medication requires some flavor additives to make them more palatable, a patient can't take a commercially available product by the intended route, or a patient has allergies to preservatives or dyes. We have been able to assist many patient populations including elderly patients, pediatric patients, hospice patients, patients with difficult to treat conditions like chronic pain, as well as patients with sensitivities and allergies. More specifically, here are some examples of medications that have been compounded in our laboratory; fortified eye drops and ophthalmic preparations to treat eye infections, transdermal creams used for nausea and vomiting in cancer patients, injectable medication for use in erectile dysfunction, transdermal creams used for neuropathies, injectable medication used for infertility, topical preparations used in wound healing, ointments used for anal fissures, intrathecal medications used for spasticity, vaginal suppositories used for neurogenic bladder, troches containing bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, liquid suspensions with no glucose, creams to treat dermatological conditions and many, many more.
How has NCPA helped your business?
NCPA is truly the voice of the community pharmacist. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend and present at a NCPA Annual Convention in Philadelphia. Attending this conference proved to be beneficial by offering peer networking, first-class continuing education, and the latest in available products and services. I left Philadelphia invigorated with fresh ideas and new knowledge to bring back to the pharmacy. I am looking forward to attending another annual convention in the very near future. NCPA also has many valuable resources available especially in the area of pharmacy ownership.
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