310 Sansome Street
P.O. Box 729
Philipsburg, MT 59858
(406) 859-3271
info@gcmedcenter.org

Pharmacy in Philipsburg

Michael Stafford, Philipsburg Mail, September 1, 2010

Philipsburg will soon have a retail pharmacy.

According to Hospital Administrator Amy Edwards-Webb and the pharmacist coordinating the effort, Eric Beyer of Frenchtown Drug, a retail pharmacy will supply the pharmaceutical needs of those in the area, as well as, those of the Granite County Medical Center.

"When we looked at the needs of the hospital, the community, and the county, we thought it was best to bring a retail pharmacy to Philipsburg," said Beyer, "how it transpired is that the hospital, for whatever reason, did not renew their contract (with their former pharmaceutical provider). We got word of that and had for sometime thought about a pharmacy in Philipsburg so we met with them and put a proposal together."

Edwards-Webb explained that the hospital had been in contract with St. James' Hospital in Butte for the supply of their pharmaceuticals. Due to a layoff by that provider, the contract was not able to be renewed.

The pharmacist told the Philipsburg Mail that the establishment, to be named Granite Pharmacy, will probably be set up and in full operation by early November.

He explained that while the business will be run by pharmacy technicians, technology will be set up enabling the store to have direct audio and visual contact with a pharmacist in a different location.

"It will be just like a normal pharmacy except the pharmacist will be off site," he said noting that the pharmacist will be in town a few days out of the month," "if we continue to grow where we're doing enough volume we can bring a pharmacist in."

Beyer said that in addition to providing the convenience of locality to those in the area, the pharmacy will also have competitive pricing. He went on to explain that it, as well as many other independently owned pharmacies are part of a collective group called Health-Mart. This group uses its unity of small pharmacies for buying power of pharmaceuticals. Beyer said that currently Health-Mart is the third largest purchaser of pharmaceuticals for retail distribution.

In addition, Beyer said that he believes that the focus on customer service will attract local customers. He said that once the establishement is up and running, those who wish to switch their prescriptions can do so over the telephone or with a stop to the pharmacy or by requesting that their doctor do so.

"We'll be able to fill all prescriptions and we'll take all insurances." Beyer assured. Beyer has opened pharmacies in small towns in the past and has an idea of how they work. "We have a good understanding of small town needs. Our goal is to provide pharmacy to rural Montana," he said. "I think people will be surprised at how well this will actually work."

In addition, the pharmacists said that they will also be available to supply medications to users of the Margo Bowers Clinic in Drummond. He went on to say that once a prescription is established for a resident outside of Philipsburg, the pharmacy can send the medication to the individual instead of having them drive into town to pick it up.

"We're just excited about working with the county hospital and excited about coming to town," said Beyer, "we're hoping to serve all the small communities around Philipsburg, as well as Philipsburg with their prescription needs."

The Hospital Administrator also shared anticipation of the business coming to town. "I'm excited. I think it's good for the community and good for the hospital," said Edwards-Webb, "it's been a long time since there's been a retail pharmacy in town."

Beyer said that the location of "Granite Pharmacy" will be in the back first floor section of the Kaiser House off of Montgomery Street.