Hill District residents rejoice over drugstore

Duquesne U.-run store a first for U.S.

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Hill District residents rejoiced Thursday when they learned that Duquesne University in the fall will open the first pharmacy their neighborhood has seen in a decade.

It would be the first university-operated community pharmacy in the nation, Duquesne University President Charles Dougherty said.

Community leaders gathered Thursday to celebrate the announcement at the pharmacy's future site, the Triangle Shops Plaza on Centre Avenue.

To neighborhood residents, "first" is not nearly as important as the location.

A pharmacy? In the Hill District?

"I hope so!" said Leroy Gray, 47, who rides a bus to East Liberty when he needs to pick up medication.

"It would be close to home," said Dorothy Fryer, 55, who relies on a prescription delivery service.

When Patricia McDonald, 72, needs to refill her thyroid medicine, she must ride a bus to the South Side Giant Eagle. She said the large pharmacy is inconvenient and does not cater to her needs.

"I can't tell you how important this will be in the lives of people," said Victor Roque, interim president of the Hill House Association.

Located across from the Hill House Association, the pharmacy will be operated by Duquesne's Mylan School of Pharmacy and will be open six days a week.

The $600,000 project will feature personalized patient counseling, said Douglas Bricker, dean of the School of Pharmacy.

Licensed pharmacists, Duquesne faculty and student pharmacists plan to provide patient consultations and risk assessments, checking blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

Duquesne intends to operate the pharmacy under the federal 340B drug pricing program, enabling pharmacists to provide cheaper medication by partnering with federally qualified health centers, which target poor and underserved people.

The drugstore would be the first in the Hill District since an Eckerd Pharmacy closed in 2000. Many see it as another sign that the Hill is on the rise.

"It cannot be overstated, the importance of the health and welfare of the Hill District," city Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle said. "This will not fail. This cannot fail."

Vivian Nereim: vnereim@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1413.


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