Harper Pharmacy
Harper, KS

12 - Harper Pharmacy - PH

Harper Pharmacy’s Slogan is ‘Caring for You and About You!’ and That is Exactly What They Do!

Harper Pharmacy strives to provide a small-town atmosphere while still offering the same services as the larger chains. IPC recently spoke with Kody Koester, PharmD, Pharmacist in Charge, and owner of Harper Pharmacy about his store and how he got started in independent pharmacy. 

IPC:

What is the history of the store and how did you get involved?

Kody:

“Harper Pharmacy opened in 2010. I grew up nearby in Conway Springs, Kansas and found out about the pharmacy opening in the paper. I was currently doing my undergraduate studies at Bethany College in Lindsborg, while applying for pharmacy school at the University of Kansas (KU). I decided to reach out to the pharmacy and inquire about working there during school breaks. I was hired and I worked there as a technician and pharmacy intern every summer, winter and fall break throughout pharmacy school. After graduation in May 2014, I started as a full-time pharmacist there. I took over as Pharmacist in Charge of the store in 2015.”

I chose independent pharmacy for the opportunity to provide the best patient care possible to the community.
IPC:

What is the most rewarding aspect of working in the independent pharmacy industry?

Kody:

“The best aspect of independent pharmacy is the opportunity to really get to know your patients, and the ability to provide optimal care to those patients and provide services that are not offered by other chain pharmacies. Independent pharmacy focuses on providing the best patient care possible to the community, not just dispensing medications or reaching number quotas. We also have the privilege of giving back to the community. These things are in my opinion what separates independent pharmacy from the chains and are the most rewarding aspects of working in independent pharmacy.”

IPC:

Why did you choose to be an independent pharmacist? How did you get into pharmacy in general?

Kody:

“I chose independent pharmacy for the opportunity to provide the best patient care possible to the community. Independent pharmacy can provide all the right tools and resources to make that happen. I got into pharmacy because pharmacists are one of the most accessible healthcare professionals available, and the ability to provide information and advice to patients continually every month (often times multiple times a month) is a great way to make a difference in healthcare and your community.”

IPC:

What are some of the challenges your pharmacy has faced? 

Kody:

“There are a lot of challenges an independent pharmacy can face, and even more so in recent years. Reimbursements from insurances continually decline all the time to the point that we get several prescriptions every single day that do not reimburse even the cost of the medication. For example, the pharmacy might buy 30 tablets of a medication for $50, but the insurance will only reimburse the pharmacy $38 for those 30 tablets when they are dispensed. This means the pharmacy loses $12 on that prescription and that doesn’t even include the cost to the pharmacy of the label, bottle, paper, labor, etc. This happens multiple times every single day at the pharmacy. 

Even further, PBMs (Pharmacy Benefit Managers) also charge pharmacies DIR fees on prescriptions several weeks or months later. These are fees charged even after the pharmacy has already been reimbursed under their cost!

Other challenges independent pharmacies face is the competition of mail order chain pharmacies. Some insurances will only contract “preferred” rates/copays if patients go to a chain or mail order pharmacy. This means that insurances will make patients go to a chain pharmacy or use an inconvenient mail order pharmacy if they want cheaper copays. There are many other challenges, but these are the biggest ones that we face every single day.”


"The special services we provide are a way of trying to help our community."
IPC:

How has IPC assisted your pharmacy?

Kody:

“IPC has been a great resource and group for Harper Pharmacy. They have been great with helping sponsor our grand reopening when we opened at our new location. They are also a great resource.

We have also benefited from the partnerships IPC is making with other front-end product companies. Obtaining OTC items and products at a lower price helps us keep our prices down for our community and stay as competitive as we can.”

IPC:

Are there any special features/offerings you’d like to highlight about your store?

Kody:

“Harper Pharmacy offers some services that you may not find at other pharmacies and chain pharmacies. We do offer a selection of braces, crutches, walkers, canes, and compression socks. We offer free delivery in Harper and six surrounding towns, a free MedSync program to get all your meds at one time, free blood pressure or blood sugar checks, adherence packaging, billing of Medicare Part B for nebulizer medications, scheduling of one-on-one appointments with a pharmacist for a complete medication review, a drive thru, as well as a self-serve photo kiosk for printing pictures.”

IPC:

What is the surrounding community like? Is there a lot of competition?

Kody:

“The nearest chain pharmacy is 38 miles away, but some of our patients travel to Wichita to see their doctor or for procedures so there is a lot of competition there. The nearest independent pharmacy is about 10 miles away in a neighboring community. The special services we provide are a way of trying to help our community.”