Flagship store on Carlisle first of what owner hopes will be a dozen operating with a mission of service to customers, community
Pride Pharmacy sounds like a business right out of the 1990s, not one coming out of the recession.
An entrepreneur with a great idea goes to a venture capitalist and gets funded to open a larger company than he originally envisioned. In contrast to the merger fever of the early 2000s that made small businesses either consolidate or go under, this one will go head-to-head with the national chains and then open a dozen more branch locations.
The concept of Pride Pharmacy is as simple as it is bold: Specialize.
The plan was to locate in a building with a large HIV medical practice, specialize in HIV medications and also offer a full-line of prescription drugs while providing the kind of customer service missing from national chains.
While they hope to capture a number of patients seeing doctors in the building, pharmacist-in-chief Todd Hulet and senior pharmacy tech Scott McGee both said they welcomed people from the neighborhood to come in to get any prescription filled. The pharmacy carries a full line of medications, they said.
According to owner and managing director Malcolm Roy, the concept has worked well in his pharmacy at Midland Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale. And the idea works here in Dallas for Bioscrip, which located a branch in the same building as the office of Dr. Nick Bellos, an infectious disease specialist with a large HIV practice.
Pride’s first Dallas location is in the Oak Lawn building on Carlisle Avenue where Uptown Physicians Group has its office. That group includes Dr. Brady Allen, one of Dallas’ most respected HIV specialists.
Roy got the idea for Pride Pharmacy when a friend said he’d give anything to not trip over the Pampers to get to the pharmacist.
Unlike the chain drug stores, the entrance to Pride Pharmacy looks more like a living room. If filling a prescription is going to take a few minutes, customers are welcome to get themselves a cup of coffee in the adjoining kitchen.
Roy understands that there’s a convenience factor with CVS’ and Walgreens’ numerous locations. But patients don’t necessarily need a doctor’s visit each time they refill a prescription, and they might not be in the Pride Pharmacy neighborhood. So Pride will deliver throughout the Metroplex — and that includes after-hours delivery to fit busy schedules since medications cannot just be left at the door.
Part of Pride’s service includes the use of compliance software. Roy said this was something Dr. David Lee of Uptown physicians requested to provide better patient care.
Roy explained that if a patient is given a 30-day supply of a medication but is only refilling it every other month, they are not taking the prescription as ordered by the physician. Using the compliance software, Pride sends a report to the doctor who will have a better understanding of the patient’s condition.
Remembering whether you’ve taken medication can be a problem, especially when you are sick. So Pride delivers its meds in blister packs marked with dates and times to take the medicine. Roy said that in addition to compliance, this is also just more convenient for the patient.
"You don’t have to carry all your bottles with you," he said.
He said a North Carolina study of 1,000 Medicaid patients showed that those who got medication in bottles rather than blister packs were hospitalized three times as often.
Roy compared going to a national chain with coming to his private pharmacy.
"We’re able to solve medication problems easily," he said. "They’re dealing with so many $4 orders. We can call the doctor and solve problems quickly."
In addition, Roy hopes Pride Pharmacy will make a difference in the community. Already, they were the title sponsor of Toast to Life, one of Resource Center Dallas’ signature fundraising events, and it is an arrangement they would like to continue.
Plus, the Pride Pharmacy lobby is available for community groups of up to 20.
Women with AIDS plans use the space for its meetings.
Roy hopes other educational and support groups will make use of the space. He said that the pharmacy area with the controlled medications locks securely, so the meeting area can be used after hours.
Of the 12 stores funded, Roy hopes three or four will be in the Dallas area.
He said he is pleased with his flagship store but for their next retail location, he would like to make one change: He wants public area of the store to be even larger to accommodate bigger groups.
He just thinks that it’s good business to be part of the community.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 23, 2010.