Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacists Carving Niche for Alternative Care Business

Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacists Carving Niche for Alternative Care Business

Article excerpt

Cosmetics, toys, and hair accessories-move over! Make room for herbal supplements and private conference areas. Pharmacies these days are devoting more space to alternative preparations, and they are even setting up counseling areas for the increasing number of consumers embracing herbal supplements.

According to Allen Kratz, Pharm.D. and coeditor of the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association, $11 billion is spent annually by more than one out of three adult Americans on complementary or integrated medical care.

"Many pharmacists, especially owners of independent pharmacies or small chains, are realizing new ways to expand their practice by adding nutraceuticals," he said.

Bob Hoye, C.R.Ph., FACA, DNBHE, is one pharmacist who has taken the plunge into complementary care. He operates two adjacent pharmacies in Tampa, Fla.: Pharmaceutical Specialties, a customized compounding prescription drivenbusiness, and Hoye's Natural Pharmacy & Wellness.

"Originally we were a compounding pharmacy, and we still are. We work with hospice patients who brought in herbs and homeopathic preparations and who asked me, 'Are these good?' I didn't have an answer."

To find and provide some answers, Hoye attended the International College of Homeopathy California, and has become a board-certified homeopathic practitioner. "If [pharmacists] are getting into [alternative care], they will definitely need to do that. We had an education in pharmacognosy, but we never utilized it," he said.

Hoye also recommends that pharmacists attend seminars on nutrition and herbs and that they read the "volumes of information out there." Yet another suggestion is to attend trade shows and to speak to herbal manufacturers about their control procedures over their products.

Hoye suggested that when setting up an area devoted to alternative care, pharmacists would do well to set aside room for counseling. He counsels patients in 30- to 40-minute sessions for a $35 fee.

Another pharmacy that has realized the opportunities in the growing herbal area is Ritzman Natural Health Pharmacy, Wadsworth, Ohio. In addition to being a traditional pharmacy, the eight-store chain, situated within Summit county, is also a health-food store; it carries supplements, herbals and homeopathics, along with whole and organic foods. …

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