Sweetgrass Pharmacy Offers a Personal Touch
The South Carolina business serves its community with compounding, medication adherence packaging, and free delivery and shipping.
Before she founded Sweetgrass Pharmacy & Compounding in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, Cynthia Feldman, PharmD, MBA, was an inspector for the South Carolina Board of Pharmacy, where she saw the difference that independent community pharmacists make in the lives of others and how compounding helps give patients access to custom prescriptions. She opened Sweetgrass Pharmacy, which has been in business for almost 5 years, in a space of less than 1300 square feet. It has expanded twice since opening.
At Sweetgrass Pharmacy, medication adherence packaging is offered via Medicine On Time. The bright, color-coded calendar cards make tracking pills easier for patients. “This helps patients stay independent, adherent to their medication regimen, and safer,” said Feldman, a 2007 graduate of the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy in Columbia.
Adherence packaging is provided free of charge to patients who fill their medications at Sweetgrass Pharmacy, which also offers free local delivery and shipping throughout South Carolina on all compounded medications. Because many outlying communities do not have compounding pharmacies, patients across the state turn to Sweetgrass Pharmacy for all types of compounds. Immunizations are very popular, and a variety of vaccines are available to patients.
In addition, Sweetgrass Pharmacy stocks a variety of cannabidiol (CBD) products made by Ananda and other smaller companies. The pharmacy carries specialty skin care products, such as those from Rodan and Fields and Rx Skin Therapy, as well as locally made candles, gifts, soaps, and treats.
Veterinary compounding is a specialty at Sweetgrass Pharmacy and includes hormone replacement therapy for pets. The pharmacy compounds creams, drops, sublingual troches, and suppositories that can contain all 3 major hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone). The oddest things that the pharmacy offers “would probably be an antibiotic for a duck and burn cream for a snake,” Feldman said.
Sweetgrass Pharmacy has the only certified veterinary pharmacist in South Carolina, Jessica Gaskins, PharmD, FSVHP, DICVP. “She is a wealth of information to our pet-owning customers, as well as a great resource for veterinarians in our community,” Feldman said.
The pharmacy’s employees work hard to make sure all patients are greeted by name as soon as they enter the pharmacy, Feldman said. Also, she added, “we offer free lollipops and dog treats at the register. We pride ourselves in providing our customers with personal attention, excellent customer service, and a trusting environment unlike any other pharmacy.”
Patients can request refills through the pharmacy’s mobile app, PocketRx, and via its website. Through the app, patients can also set reminders to take their medications every day and refill prescriptions.
Also popular on the website is an informative and regularly updated blog. One post addresses the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, educating patients about HPV and its complications and explaining the vaccination process. Another post discusses compounding in the form of lollipops, which the pharmacy compounds with lidocaine or tetracaine to treat pain from canker sores, radiation-induced ulcers, and sore throats. Sweetgrass Pharmacy also offers the unique phentermine lollipop compound. “Phentermine is a medication used to help promote weight loss, and this delivery system is a unique way to make weight loss more fun,” according to the pharmacy’s website.
Social media is another tool Sweetgrass Pharmacy uses to get the word out and engage community members. Many posts show staff members holding signs that read, “boomerang style,” encouraging patients to get a flu shot. Other posts show Feldman and staff members out in the community, participating in health fairs and lunch-and-learns. And still other posts are simply for fun, like an image of tablets formed in a bunny shape on a counting tray for Easter.
“We make it personal,” Feldman said. “We treat every customer like family and go above and beyond with each encounter to make sure that patients have a good experience, feel important, and want to refer their friends and family to us.” Patients often bring homemade treats to the pharmacy and write thank-you notes, she added.
Knowing the importance of community outreach, Feldman often hosts events at senior living facilities and other organizations to provide education on many pharmacy-related subjects, such as CBD products, adherence, pet pharmacy, and safety. “One of our favorite events is our ‘yappy hour,’ where our guests bring their animals [mostly dogs and some cats, too], and we lecture on pet pharmacy, have Q&A sessions, and socialize with pets and their owners in a fun, informal environment,” Feldman said.
Feldman lives with her husband and 2 children, ages 12 and 14. They are passionate about traveling around the world and experiencing other cultures. Feldman also enjoys spending time outside at their farm, exploring wildlife, and reading books about entrepreneurship, historical fiction, and, of course, pharmacy.
Karen Berger, PharmD, is a pharmacist at an independent pharmacy in northern New Jersey.