First pharmacy in decade open in Hill District

The drug store is operated by Duquesne University's pharmacy school


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Staff at the Hill District's new pharmacy will strive to greet patients by name and to learn their medical histories, director Terri Kroh said.

"It's not stop, drop and roll," she said of the Center for Pharmacy Services, which opened Monday in the Triangle Shops on Centre Avenue. A community pharmacy should be something more than a place where customers stop at one window, drop off their prescriptions and then roll their shopping carts through the store, she said.

"The whole emphasis here will be on counseling," Dr. J. Douglas Bricker said. He is dean of the Mylan School of Pharmacy at Duquesne University, which will operate the facility.

"It's a win-win for the neighborhood," Ms. Kroh said. Local residents will be able to get their prescriptions filled close to home for the first time in more than 10 years, she said. Duquesne pharmacy students, who will help to staff the center, will get practical experience in serving patients as part of their professional rotations.

PG VIDEO: HILL DISTRICT PHARMACY

Duquesne University describes the center as a first-in-the-nation effort: a community drug store operated off-campus by a school of pharmacy.

Pharmacy hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. It will be staffed by three pharmacists, three full-time pharmacy technicians and one part-time technician. Duquesne graduate students will begin working at the center starting next week and undergraduates will arrive in May.

In addition to advising patients on and dispensing medicines, staff at the Center for Pharmacy Services will offer free health screening and counseling, Ms. Kroh said.

The center plans to offer a $4 generic drug program. It will accept most major insurances and has pledged to work with patients without insurance to secure their medications, according to a Duquesne University fact sheet.

The Center for Pharmacy Services more closely resembles a doctor's office than either a national chain or a neighborhood drug store. Its unobtrusive entrance at 1860 Centre Ave. is next to a PNC bank branch.

Customers walk down a long hallway to a waiting room where a staff member, seated behind a glass window, collects basic information and accepts prescriptions. Individual counseling rooms are nearby, where pharmacists will discuss with patients when and how to take their medicines and warn of any possible side effects or drug interactions.

Patients also will be given information and counseling on dealing with chronic medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, Ms. Kroh said. The center plans to offer outreach programs at senior citizen centers and other community meeting places on topics like fall prevention and nutrition.

Neighboring merchants said they welcome the arrival of a new business. "It's good to have a pharmacy in this neighborhood," said Abe Daud, who operates Abe's Market, a nearby convenience store in the Triangle Shops.

Additional information on the new pharmacy is available by calling 412-246-0963 or by visiting the Duquesne University website, www.duq.edu/pharmacy.


Len Barcousky: lbarcousky@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1159. Staff writer Vivian Nereim contributed to this report.


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