5 Things to Look for When Picking a New Pharmacy

5 Things to Look for When Picking a New Pharmacy
April 5, 2024
RxLocal Team

If you’re in the market for a new pharmacy, independents should be your first choice.

Independent pharmacies — which are privately owned and not affiliated with big-box chains — offer personalized care, clinical services, and comparable prices to your local CVS, Walgreens, or Rite-Aid.

Instead of feeling like just another number at these chains, you can rest assured that independent pharmacies treat you like family. But how do you know which independent pharmacy is the best one for you?

Because you see your pharmacist so often (an average of 35 times a year) and rely on them for so many services, you should make sure you find the best fit.

Here are 8 things you should consider to find the right independent pharmacy:

1. What services do they provide?

Your needs should always be at the top of your list — whether they be picking up a prescription, getting a routine vaccine, or shopping for your favorite supplements and over-the-counter products.

When you search for a new independent pharmacy, keep these needs in mind and do your research to see if a pharmacy can meet them.

Check out the pharmacy’s website, look at their Facebook page, give them a call, or take a trip to their storefront; and ask all the questions that come to mind.

For one, find out if they keep your medications in stock. If they don’t, ask if they can easily order them.

If you take multiple medications, you can also ask about medication synchronization programs — which let you pick up all your prescriptions on the same day each month.

If you need specialized services, like compounding or routine testing, make sure those are available, as well. Some pharmacies offer even more advanced services, like diabetes management, weight consultations, and pharmacogenetic testing.

But you won’t know if you don’t ask — so pick up the phone and give the pharmacy a call.

2. Do they offer flexible pick-up options?

Once you decide that a pharmacy offers what you want, make sure you can get what you need, when you need it.

In general, many pharmacies are flexible with operating hours — staying open late and working into the weekend. Choose a pharmacy that fits within your schedule; and if you need specialized services, find one that accepts appointments for those services.

If you need some added flexibility, many pharmacies also offer drive-thru, curbside, and delivery services. Some delivery services are complementary if you live in a certain radius from the pharmacy.

These flexible pick-up options can save you time, money, and energy. And know that, in many cases, the best pharmacies will go out of their way to get you what you need.

3. Do they have affordable pricing?

Generally, independent pharmacies work to provide patients with the lowest possible rates, especially when compared to chains

In fact, independent pharmacies are more than twice as likely to recommend more affordable prescription options (like a generic substitute).

When you’re shopping for a new pharmacy, find one that values getting you fair prices without sacrificing the quality of treatment you receive.

This may mean working with your insurance to reduce out-of-pocket costs, maximizing cash-pay options when co-pays are expensive, helping you get set up with prescription discount programs, or creating payment plans.

As a rule of thumb, the best pharmacies make sure that you get the products and services you need without the high price tag.

4. How do they make you feel?

With all the technical considerations in mind, you should also think about how the pharmacy makes you feel. As a patient, you should feel comfortable with the pharmacy, those who work in it, and those who shop there.

A warm and welcoming environment can reveal the kind of treatment you’ll receive. Spend some time talking with the staff, whether it be pharmacists, technicians, or clerks. The best pharmacy staff take the time to get to know their patients on a personal level, leading to better care and better outcomes for you.

Creating community is important in every aspect of life, and pharmacies are no exception; so, make sure to find one where you feel right at home.

5. Are they involved in the community?

Your pharmacy’s interest in creating community should extend beyond its four walls and out into your local area.

The best pharmacies work to improve the lives of those in their community not only by treating their needs but also getting to know them.

To that end, check to see if your pharmacy sponsors the local little league team, hosts food drives around the holidays, or rallies around community members who fall on tough times.

In addition, watch to see if you spot them out in the community — on the school board, at the high school football game, or at the Fourth of July parade.

An active pharmacy isn’t just philanthropic: it knows its community, the people who live in it, and is invested in making their lives better — so, when you’re shopping, next underestimate the power of community involvement.


Whether you’ve moved to a new area, you’re tired of big-box changes, or you’re just looking for a change, there are plenty of independent pharmacies in your area to choose from.

With the right checklist, you can simplify the shopping process and pick the right pharmacy for you.

As you search for your right pick, consult the RxLocal Pharmacy Finder — a free tool that connects you to dozens of independent pharmacies in your area — and keep these considerations in mind.

Everyone deserves great care, and the right independent pharmacy can give it to you.