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Changing the face of pharmacy
Jon Wilson 6342
Hometown Pharmacy in Cuba City adds new products to help healthy people stay healthy. Products include oils, vitamins and supplements. Pharmacist Jon Wilson shows a portion of the display.

CUBA CITY—The healthcare trend of promoting health and wellness instead of just treating illness has reached Southwest Wisconsin. Hometown Pharmacy has taken steps to provide diabetic shoes, dietary supplements, vitamins, therapeutic oils and other products for customers to engage a healthy lifestyle.

“The pharmacy is just one bit of the whole [wellness trend] puzzle,” Jon Wilson, pharmacist of Cuba City’s Hometown Pharmacy, said. “We’re getting on board.”

Wilson said diabetic shoes have been added to the store’s inventory, allowing customers a way to prevent damage to their feet.

“We do vitamins, but now we’re getting into supplements and products that are more health-related and are more advanced than the typical vitamins,” Wilson said.

The items are difficult to select.

“Our goal is to try to find manufacturers with good reputations and scientific data to back up their product,” Wilson said.

“When companies come in to pitch their product, we send them to the company to pitch the product with their scientific data to back it up.”

He said Sean Casey, a Cuba City native, approached him recently about his Dietetic Advantage line of products.
“He came in with all of his data to prove his items could do what he claimed they could do,” Wilson said.

He said unless someone has done chemical testing on the product, he can’t tell a customer what is really in that product and how well it works.

“People come in and try to sell you products all the time and I don’t have any re-ally good way to know if it’s a good product or not a good product for my customers unless they have some sort of scientific research that states what they say is true,” Wilson said. “We switched vitamin companies a while back to a different one that could show they had quality testing that the products have what they say is in them.”

He said you can go to any number of stores in the area to get typical over-the-counter medications, but Hometown Pharmacy wanted to differentiate itself from competitors.

“We’re trying to move more and more toward wellness and health versus just being another pharmacy that you can buy products locally,” Wilson said. “That’s been a focus of the larger store group, to find those products and have pharmacists trained on those products to educate people better on them.”

In the prescription side of the business, the population is getting older quickly, requiring a number of changes to the services provided.

“The biggest issue is people who forget to take their medicine or they take it incorrectly, or the bigger fear is they overtake medicine,” Wilson said. “Now it’s becoming more service-driven. We now literally go to people’s houses to check on their medications, blister package medications, do pill boxes for people.”

He said there are even computerized pill boxes that dispense medication at particular times to prevent overdoses. Medication therapy management (MTM) is doing what pharmacies should have been doing all along, but in a more coordinated manner.

“We want to look at people’s medicines to make sure they’re taking the proper medicines, they’re taking them properly and on time,” Wilson said. “And if they’re having problems with medicines, we want them to get in touch with doctors right away. We are more driven to not just putting pills in a bottle, but trying to do a better job of educating people or partnering with people who may need some extra help to make sure they take their prescriptions properly. The patient is the one in charge. The pharmacist, doctors and nurses work with you to partner with you. If you go back in time, the doctor told you what to do and you didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes.”

Wilson said he sees this wellness trend growing. The federal government is pushing for education and implementation of health and wellness to help prevent illness.

“To be honest, it’s a whole lot cheaper to keep you well than it is to treat you once you’re sick,” Wilson said.

He said he sees people getting more educated about the wellness products, which has led to an influx in purchases and use of those wellness products. Having those products available locally helps.

At this time, Hometown Pharmacy continues to seek good wellness products.

“If people know of products that are good, quality products, we are looking for them,” Wilson said. “We send the product to the core group to do the research where pharmacists sit down with the vendors to determine if it is a good product.”
He said the Cuba City location was a test store for the Dietetic Advantage line.

“People were having to go to Dubuque or order it through the mail,” Wilson said. “We just happened to have a local person who was involved in it. We were the test store and now they’re putting it in all 30 stores.”

Hometown Pharmacy was started in the Madison area. All 30 locations are located in southern Wisconsin.