Friday, August 2, 2013
Parks Pharmacy has been open since 1961, and it has proved to withstand the test of time.
The business started with its original owner, George Parks, who was at the helm for 25 years. For the past 27 years, Steve McElmurray has owned it and kept up the two main ideals of the pharmacy.
The first is personal, professional care, and it is something that McElmurray and his staff stress to bring to everyone who walks through the door. The second hangs in the back and simply says “Nice Matters.”
In addition to typical pharmaceutical services, Parks Pharmacy also offers diabetic supplies, ostomy products and other medical equipment. The company also honors most third-party insurance cards.
“One of the biggest things that people don’t understand is that your co-pay is the same wherever you go, unless your particular plan demands you go to a CVS or something,” McElmurray said.
Something else the pharmacy also offers specifically for diabetics are shoes.
“Everybody that is diabetic is entitled to one pair of shoes paid for by their insurance,” McElmurray said. “They’re very good shoes; they’re lightweight, and we take a custom impression of the foot and send it off to make the insole to fit each person’s foot.”
Another thing that McElmurray commonly sees is people going to big chains in attempt to save money. The perception is that the bigger companies don’t have the overhead costs of smaller businesses, which in turn, means that the savings are passed on to consumers. In at least one case that he recounted, McElmurray was able to save someone a substantial amount.
“A lady went to another place and they priced her prescription at $143,” he said. “She came here – it was $14. They didn’t offer her a generic drug, and, in this case, there was one that was available and had been around for quite some time, and it is a good generic. We offered it, and it was a way for her to save.”
The thing that brings McElmurray the greatest joy is the interaction with all of Parks Pharmacy’s customers. He, along with the other four pharmacists, take the time to get to know each customer and find out what medicines could have reactions with one another.
“One lady called us while she was on vacation and said she couldn’t sleep well, had horrible pain and had lost 10 pounds, so I asked what she was taking,” he said. “I found the problem immediately, and found out the symptoms started two weeks after she started the medication. After tapering her off it for two weeks, she said she felt a little bit better. The week after, she said she hadn’t felt that well in six months.”
McElmurray also makes sure to answer any and all questions, especially for those who may have some anxiety after reading every side effect of their medication.
“That’s what we have to give out – if they test 1,000 people and one person has that (side effect) happen, it needs to be listed,” he said. “But we’re more than ready to answer those questions and get them to feeling better.”
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at the North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since January 2013 after previously working at the Aiken Standard. He is a graduate of Alvernia University and currently attends Drexel University.