DIGITAL ORIGINAL: Independent pharmacy faces COVID-19 with community in mind

Lancaster

COLUMBIA, Pa. (WHTM) — Qwik-Med Pharmacy had been in business for a little over half a year when COVID-19 hit the U.S. The small business faces pandemic struggles with community care in mind.

Qwik-Med owner and pharmacist in charge Richard Boahene says business was growing exponentially when the pharmacy first opened, but the coronavirus significantly decreased revenue.

Boahene explains that when the pandemic hit, people weren’t able to see their doctors, which meant they weren’t filling prescriptions at the pharmacy. Many were also out of jobs, says Boahene, so they weren’t spending as much money at the shop.

Boahene says an independent pharmacy competing with major companies like Rite Aid or CVS is like “fighting a 600-pound tiger [with] a tiny cat,” but being a local business does have its benefits.

Qwik-Med customers struggling financially due to COVID-19 were able to pick up medications without payment, promising to pay at a later date. This was possible because of “a trust that has been built between Qwik-Med Pharmacy and the customer,” says Boahene.

Qwik-Med also offers free prescription delivery and pick-up as well as immunizations at customers’ homes, so patrons don’t have to visit the store in person if they are nervous about the coronavirus.

The big difference between small businesses like Qwik-Med and large corporations, says Boahene, is the relationship between the business and the community. “It’s personalized. I get to know customers. I know each customer that comes in,” Boahene says. “When you walk in, we just don’t treat you as a transaction, we treat you as a person.”

As a COVID-19 vaccine comes into sight, Qwik-Med is preparing to offer the medication. The pharmacy has a refrigerator ready to store the vaccine, and Boahene says customers don’t need an appointment to get it: “You just walk in, bam, get it, and you’re out.”

Qwik-Med does not yet offer COVID-19 testing, but Boahene says they are planning to roll out testing soon.

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