In the small town of Midway, GA – population 2,027 – you’ll find the friendly and reliable Coastal Drug Company. Their mission statement is “To improve the lives of our patients by making their healthcare needs our first and only priority.” And that’s exactly what they are doing – throughout the pandemic they have adapted and continued their services to protect their community as the only pharmacy in town.
Right from the beginning of the outbreak, the team at Coastal Drug has paid attention to the needs of their community and found ways to give back. At the peak of the hand sanitizer shortages, owner Pete Nagel focused his efforts on compounding hand sanitizer at the pharmacy. “My main job [at the time] was trying to source as much alcohol, and as many bottles as possible,” Nagel says. After selling the hand sanitizer at their pharmacy, they donated the proceeds to United Way in order to help feed local children who were not currently attending school. “A lot of those kids depend on getting meals at school,” Nagel explains. “So we just saw a need to help with that.”
Another outcome of the sudden outbreak was a surge in patients being enrolled in Coastal Drug’s med sync program. The program was already established before, but not too many patients understood the value of synchronizing their medications in advance. The harsh reality of the pandemic gave patients a look into the importance of always being prepared with enough medications. “It gave us a good opportunity to sync a lot of patients up and send the message of – ‘don’t wait until the last minute when your medications are already out,” notes Harnish Patel, Pharmacist-In-Charge.
The pharmacy has also recently started using the RxLocal app, an integrated mobile app that serves as a patient portal and HIPAA-secure messaging platform. This implementation coincided with their shift to curbside and delivery services – offering a convenient way to keep communication with their patients. “They love it because we can easily communicate through the platform. And we’ve been starting to explain to more patients how they can get the app on their phone,” says Patel. The team at Coastal Drug Company is constantly looking for ways to improve the lives of their patients and help their community. They also want to do their part to increase access to services that will control the spread of COVID-19 in their hometown.
Owner Pete Nagel explains that the pharmacy is planning to offer COVID-19 testing soon. They also have experience offering several immunizations at their store such as influenza, pneumonia, and shingles. When asked about their interest in administering a future COVID-19 vaccine, Pete Nagel is eager and ready to take action.