Family Pharmacy
Long Beach, CA

8 - Family Pharmacy - PH

IPC’s Dan Moudry Most Valuable Pharmacy 2018

Family Pharmacy in Long Beach, CA was recently named IPC’s 2018 Most Valuable Pharmacy (MVP) of the Year! IPC’s MVP Award was presented to Rakesh Patel, Family Pharmacy owner, at the IPC Annual Business Meeting on July 10, during McKesson ideaShare 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Family Pharmacy has been serving the city of Long Beach and surrounding areas since 1975. Rakesh Patel is on the Board of Directors at St. Mary Hospital; he is actively involved in his local church, and community center food drives. His professional associations include California Pharmacists Association (CPHA), National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), American Public Health Association (APHA) and Independent Pharmacy Cooperative (IPC).

“It is an honor to be able to recognize Rakesh Patel for his leadership and dedication to community pharmacy.” IPC President and CEO Don Anderson said. “Family Pharmacy is a prime example of an outstanding voice for independent pharmacy.”

“We at Family Pharmacy come to work every day with the attitude to be the best we can be for our customers.” Patel said. “It is a good feeling to be recognized for the care and effort of our team at Family Pharmacy. We take pride in making it a place where customers feel appreciated. All of us truly appreciate this award, thanks again to IPC.”

IPC recently spoke with Rakesh’s son, Ricky Patel, co-owner of Family Pharmacy. Read the full IPC pharmacy profile below!

IPC:

Please tell us about the history of the pharmacy.

Ricky:

“The pharmacy is a collective effort; one person can’t take all the credit. It was initially opened in the 1970’s and moved to this location in 1982. The initial owner wanted to be independent to properly serve the community. He named it ‘Family Pharmacy’ because he figured that was a great way to introduce the pharmacy to the community and let everyone know we are all family. We let our service do the talking, people come in as customers and they never leave us. It’s been very rewarding. My dad, Rakesh, started working here part-time and eventually became the manager. He slowly transferred to ownership over the years through Marvin Lieblein, the original owner. Patients still get the chance to see Marvin and they love that.”

IPC:

Can you tell me more about the store itself? Is there an OTC section or do you focus mainly on prescriptions?

Ricky:

“We carry a complete line of OTC items. We like to think of it as a ‘one stop shop’ in the sense that you can pay your bills here, we have PO boxes, USPS services, all that kind of thing. We also provide all the regular prescriptions.”

IPC:

Are there a lot of other pharmacies/competition in the area?

Ricky:

“Absolutely, there are more pharmacies than I can count – independents and chains. We let our customer service speak for itself. People know how good we treat them. We don’t have to go out of our way to market ourselves because our customers do it for us. We personalize healthcare for the patient and people love it.”

IPC:

How are you involved in the community?

Ricky:

“We are very involved; we go to local hospitals and do diabetic counseling, we drop off glucose tabs or whatever they need. We are trying to help people live a healthier and happier life, that’s our ultimate goal. We’re right in the middle of the city, and Long Beach is a pretty big city.”

IPC:

What are the biggest rewards of being an independent pharmacist?

Ricky:

“When my grandma was close to passing away we used to go to a chain pharmacy and there was no personal interaction between my family and the pharmacist. It’s important for the pharmacist to serve as a buffer between the doctor and the patient so when the patient leaves the doctor’s office and goes to the pharmacy, they need the education about the medicine and what it will do to their body. It’s rewarding to be able to customize care as an independent in the way that chains can’t.”

IPC:

What are some of the struggles of being an independent pharmacist?

Ricky:

“Marketing can be a challenge, but the main challenge would be med synch. We have so many patients that see the doctor at different times. We synch everyone that we can and we make sure they are adherent. Once we’ve got them synched it’s no problem, it’s just the first couple months that can take a lot of patience on the patient’s part. Other than that we’re pretty blessed, it’s more rewarding than challenging. Any time you can see a patient walk out with a smile on their face is a great day.”

IPC:

How has your relationship been with IPC?

Ricky:

“We’ve been very happy, we love the way IPC works hand-in-hand with McKesson and has been helping us throughout the years. IPC fills in the gaps whenever McKesson can’t.”

IPC:

Any other special offerings you’d like to highlight?

Ricky:

“We offer medication packaging so people can stay adherent. We offer strip packaging, it takes all of the thinking out of the patient’s hand – they have everything spelled out for them. They can travel without taking all the big bottles with them. People respond well to that and especially the elderly patients.”