Larry Leske, pharmacist at GuidePoint Pharmacy in Redwood Falls, estimates there are currently about 10,000 medications available for patients, and GuidePoint Pharmacy keeps about 3,000 of them on hand.
“We can get any of the rest the next day, since they’re delivered by courier Monday through Friday,” he said. “Most people don’t realize the extreme cost of the inventory we have to keep on hand.
“If we fill 6,000 prescriptions a month and haven’t used a medicine in three months, it’s tough to keep that one on the shelves.
“We have several clients who have prescriptions that cost $10,000 a month.
“You can’t keep that on a shelf for 29 days. We have to order those two or three days in advance.”
Virtually all of the prescriptions GuidePoint Pharmacy receives are sent straight to the pharmacy’s computers now.
“Handwritten prescriptions are a thing of the past,” Leske said. “We’re hooked up electronically with every insurance company.”
The only exception is prescriptions that contain narcotics still need a handwritten signature to be considered legitimate.
Most people don’t realize there are only three pharmacies in Redwood County, and all three are in Redwood Falls. There’s been a pharmacy at 216 South Wash-ington Street in Redwood Falls for decades, with a variety of owners.
In 2009, the business became GuidePoint Pharm-acy, one of an independently-owned group with branches in Rochester, Brainerd, Crosby, Winthrop, Worthing-ton and Grand Marais.
“One of our owners is on the state board of pharmacy, and on staff at the University of Minnesota,” said Leske.
One benefit of having connections with the U of M is students from the pharmacy school regularly come out to Redwood Falls to assist at flu and diabetes clinics.
Currently GuidePoint Pharmacy in Redwood Falls has two full-time pharmacists and one part-timer.
In addition, four pharmacy technicians take and fill orders, and a driver makes deliveries as needed.
In addition to filling regular prescriptions, GuidePoint Pharmacy provides a number of other services, such as diabetes and cholesterol checks and blood pressure screenings for customers.
GuidePoint Pharmacy is also certified for medication therapy management.
“For patients who are eligible, we review their medications step-by-step and try to answer any questions they have,” said Leske. “Medicare and insurance companies see we save them, as well as the pa-tients, a ton of money by do-ing that, as well as helping the patient’s quality of life.”
In addition to prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, patients can find a separate room full of various medical braces, supports and first aid supplies.
Being a small-town pharmacist means being on call all the time. If a hospital or nursing home needs a medication at three in the morning, Leske has to fill the prescription and deliver it.
Page 2 of 2 - “As much as possible, we try to treat the whole patient,” said Leske. “We’re not just dispensing medications, we’re dispensing advice. When the patients leave, they should feel better than when they came in.”