“A Consistent Fixture in Our Community”: Eric’s Rx Shoppe Cares for the People of Horsham, Pennsylvania

Publication
Article
Pharmacy TimesFebruary 2024
Volume 90
Issue 2

Its pharmacists and staff combine technology and a personalized touch to care for their community

Eric Abramowitz, RPh, PIC, and Marc Ost, CPhT, are the co-owners of Eric’s Rx Shoppe in Horsham, Pennsylvania. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 1990, Abramowitz worked as a pharmacist at an independent pharmacy. After the pharmacy was sold to a chain, patients still requested that Abramowitz fill their prescriptions, so he approached Ost’s father, Richard Ost, RPh, for a partnership, and Eric’s Rx Shoppe was founded in 2009. Marc Ost, a graduate of the University of Colorado, worked as a sports agent before pivoting his career to work with his father at his pharmacy and then moved on to Eric’s Rx Shoppe.

“We are a consistent fixture in our community,” Marc Ost explains. “Community pharmacies and pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers. Our patients know if they call or come into the store, they will speak to a person, not a robot. The relationships that our team have developed with patients, providers, and other community stakeholders are unmatched compared to any other medical professional.”

Patients love the personal touches of being greeted by name and complimentary candies at the pharmacy.

Abramowitz recalls, “The first day the store opened over 14 years ago, my mom, Cookie Abramowitz, handed out Goetze’s Caramel Creams to customers, and it became a staple at Eric’s Rx Shoppe. We now drive down to the factory in Baltimore, Maryland, to pick up a pallet of Caramel Creams and give them out to our customers for free.”

Eric’s Rx Shoppe requires little promotion and advertising because most patients learn about it from word of mouth. The staff has relationships with various media outlets, which often contact the pharmacy for more information when a new vaccine is approved or other pharmacy-related events are in the news. The staff informs patients about new offerings and services through the store’s website and social media pages. Marc Ost says that being proactive sets Eric’s Rx Shoppe apart as a pharmacy.

“We have been the first pharmacy in the state, and sometimes the country, to offer new products and services. The reason for that isn’t luck. It’s the work that is put in sometimes for the 6-plus months prior to preparation. We have developed numerous relationships throughout the entire pharmacy industry, and we do our best to cultivate these relationships at conferences, trade shows, and meetings,” he says. Ost and Abramowitz have also opened Vaccine Shoppe, which is 2 doors down from the pharmacy. This space was previously a medical office with 3 private examination rooms and was vacant during the COVID-19 pandemic. When Ost and Abramowitz knew they were going to receive COVID-19 vaccine stock, they approached the landlord about renting another space.

“Now, almost 3 years later, we are still utilizing the Vaccine Shoppe and have been able to add 4 full-time positions dedicated to just vaccines. We have given well over 100,000 vaccines,” Ost says.

A new addition to the Vaccine Shoppe is Nex Playground, a motion-driven video game console. “Kids and adults love it, and crying kids aren’t crying for long after we show them this system. It’s just another way we think outside the box to make the vaccination for kids an enjoyable experience—or as enjoyable as it can be,” Ost says.

The pharmacy sponsors many community events and organizations every year. Abramowitz has raised his children in the community, and that consistency has played a major role in building public trust among the pharmacy staff. Particularly during the pandemic, when trust played a crucial role in immunizations, Ost said many patients asked whether Abramowitz was vaccinated before deciding whether they would get the vaccination.

Although Ost jokes that Abramowitz can be a traditionalist and prefers pen and paper, the pharmacy staff maximizes the use of technology. The team uses Eyecon for accuracy and production and has developed a vaccine booking system with the software.

Ost emphasizes that they employ great staff members, saying, “Our staff goes above and beyond for our patients. We call it ‘the Eric’s Rx way,’ and each staff member embodies that persona when dealing with our customers. While we certainly have days where it’s extremely busy and stressful, our staff continues to step up to the challenge.”

Many of the employees are engaged in the pharmacy field, and each receives a membership to the state pharmacy association. Ost pointed out that Christine Quici, RN, CPhT, who is responsible for the pharmacy’s Medication at Home adherence packaging for patients, was recently elected as the only technician to serve on the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association board.

Ost is involved with multiple pharmacy boards and associations, having served on the boards of the Philadelphia Association of Retail Druggists and BucksMont Pharmacists Association. He is a 3-year member of the National Community Pharmacists Association’s Developing Opportunities Committee and a Pennsylvania Pharmacists Care Network/CPESN Luminary. In 2022, Ost received the National Association of Retail Druggists Ownership Award from the National Community Pharmacists Association Foundation.

Together, Ost and Abramowitz have won many awards, including the 2021 Philadelphia Business Journal Leaders in Health Care Award, the 2021 Citizens (Bank) Small Business Community Champion Award, and the 2022 Upper Dublin Medal Winner for Outstanding Community Business/ Non-Profit Organization.

About the Author

Karen Berger, PharmD, is a pharmacist at an independent pharmacy in northern New Jersey.

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