Keeping Tradition Alive In Altadena

Front cover WCPShopping local doesn’t equate to shopping at a big box chain centered in communities such our beloved Altadena. Shopping local means that a community supports their local small businesses. Webster’s Community Pharmacy has been a firm long-standing supporter of its customers since 1926. Current owners Michael and Meredith Miller have continued the legacy of this establishment while bringing in fresh ideas, building on personal relationships with their customers, providing a family-friendly work environment for their employees and much more.

From our wildly popular Fancy Food Truck Fridays to our Holiday Open House and special engagements, every event we produce is tailored to the heart of our community. We love spending time with our customers! Our staff is fully committed to making sure each customer feels like they are part of the family. Unlike big box stores who rely heavily on databases to look up customers’ names, our staff knows most customers by first name as well their history.

At Webster’s Community Pharmacy we know that this slice of Altadena pie enjoys the Mayberry touch. That’s why we provide Delivery Service to our customers’ homes or place of business within Altadena. We also accept most prescription plans while charging the same amount for them as big box chains, and have them ready in less than 10 minutes.

This nod to nostalgia is mixed with current social media trends including other time proven means of communication. Custom-made newsletters with store news and information are published monthly. Meredith Miller is the voice of our store’s Facebook Page sharing daily store news, pharmaceutical related information and community stories. Stop by our page to say hello to Meredith, she will happily respond. You can also find us on Yelp, Twitter, Instagram and other popular social media platforms.

Support local this year as we continue to develop new ways to better serve our community. We look forward to serving you soon!

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Installation of a state-of-the-art robotic prescription dispensing system at Webster’s Community Pharmacy

Early this September, Webster’s Community Pharmacy welcomed its newest member to their team of professionals with the installation of the ScriptPro SP 100. This state-of-the-art robotic prescription dispensing system has set the pharmacy apart from other independent pharmacies. By having this advance system in place, it will allow pharmacists more time for personalized services and counseling. Its prime purpose ensures accurate medication dispensing.

Looking inside the ScriptPro SP 100

This cutting-edge technology works by the submission of a prescription into the pharmacy’s computer system. The robotic arm selects the correct size vial, and then locates the specified drug. A barcode scan verifies the location of the drug as it holds the vial and counts the correct amount of pills as they are automatically dropped into the vial. The vial is then placed on a short conveyer belt, which passes through the labeling section. The patient’s name and medication warnings are attached to the vials.

All throughout this meticulous system, barcode scanning is used to protect patients from any errors. The pharmacist processes the final check while looking for any inconsistencies.

Patients can rest assure that their prescriptions will be filled with the utmost care. The Scrip Pro SP 100 is a staff member who works at an incredible pace filling 150 prescriptions per hour. This will assist during peak hours minimizing the need to wait in long lines or for countless hours.

The benefit to you

  • The pharmacist will have more time for personalized consulting
  • An increased accuracy of dispensing prescriptions
  • Shorter wait times

Getting to know your Altadena neighborhood pharmacist, Michael Miller.

Michael Miller, Owner and Pharmacist at Webster's Community Pharmacy in Altadena.

Altadena has long been the home of the iconic Webster’s Community Pharmacy. This neighborhood establishment was highly attractive to owners Michael and Meredith Miller who had previously owned the successful Fair Oaks Pharmacy & Soda Fountain in South Pasadena. “Having been in the community almost 20 years, and having brought back that historical establishment to be a very successful business, I thought it would be a natural calling to do something at Webster’s. They are also an iconic fixture in the community and we had a strong desire to bring in new and fresh ideas.”

Pharmacist Michael Miller comes from a long line of health care providers, which has influenced his passion for medicine and patient well-being. The shortage in pharmacists during the time when he graduated from college propelled him to pursue a career in that field. Since receiving his license in the mid 1970’s, Michael has taken his calling to help his community by providing them with the best possible health care. “We pride ourselves in knowing who our customers are, and caring about their protocols.” The Millers have taken action behind their words with the recent installation of a state-of-the-art robotic prescription dispensing system. This cutting-edge technology safeguards against any errors that can potentially happen at the daily level.

Among the many unique amenities that patrons can find at the new Webster’s Community Pharmacy, is a custom delivery service. “We pride ourselves in superior service. Being able to offer local deliveries to our customers’ home or office is a good option for those who need or want that type of courtesy. It’s unique because no chains offer this type of delivery service.” Part of doing things differently includes the option of paying for prescriptions and other items through the nostalgic charge accounts of yesteryear. “It’s something that is almost unheard of, but our customers enjoy that convenience. We have more flexibility than the corporate big box stores.”

At a time when everything has been streamlined to the point of losing quality service when shopping, it’s comforting to know that there are community independent pharmacies that still go that extra mile. Michael’s drive and passion is evident in the type of benefits his customers are now coming to expect from Webster’s Community Pharmacy. “We look forward to working in this new environment. Helping our customers get the best health care is our top priority. I’m always available for questions, too. Our patrons know that they don’t have to climb the corporate ladder to get answers. The buck stops with me.”

Independent drugstores rank high in survey of Consumer Reports.

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 Independent drugstores rank high in survey of Consumer Reports readers

(NATI HARNIK/ ASSOCIATED PRESS) – Although may chain stores have removed their online price-checker feature, people facing large out-of-pocket drug bills may want to shop around for the best deals.

    Calk one up for the little guy. Consumer Reports’ latest drugstore study affirms that the top-rated walk-in stores are neighborhood independents, not giant chains such as Walgreens and CVS.

    Of CR readers who shopped at independent drugstores and participated in the survey, the vast majority were highly satisfied with their experiences. Included in the “independent” group were The Medicine Shoppe and Health Mart, chains that are individually owned and operated. Independents made fewer errors, offered swifter service and were much more likely to have medications ready for pickup when promised than traditional chain, supermarket and big-box-store pharmacies, the survey found.

    People who filled their prescriptions at independent stores also praised the pharmacists’ accessibility and personal service, and encountered fewer delays and medication mix-ups than those who shopped elsewhere.

    These findings are based on the responses of more than 40,000 Consumer Reports readers; while that’s a large number, the respondents were not selected at random and therefore their views are not necessarily representative of all consumers.

    One of the most disturbing findings is that so few people are talking to their druggists about dosing, interactions or medical conditions. Less than half the respondents had a conversation with their pharmacist about their prescription drugs; only a small number discussed over-the-counter medicines.

    If you’re seeking answers on the Internet rather than from a health-care professional, you’re “swimming in shark-infested waters,” warns physician John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. “Brand drugmakers have so much money and are so smart that it is very difficult to find information online that they do not influence heavily,” he says. “In my mind, unless you are very careful and already well informed, you should assume that whatever you read on the Internet is coming from a drug company.”

    Other results:

    – Problems are common. Almost half the readers participating in the survey had at least one problem during a total of about 54,000 drugstore visits. Top gripes: Medicine was out of stock, counter service was slow and the order wasn’t ready when promised.

    – On-time delivery improves. Overall, drugstores have gotten better at delivering prescriptions when promised. That’s especially good news because nearly half the respondents said the ability to get in and out quickly with medicine in hand was an important consideration in choosing a drugstore, compared with a much smaller number in the survey Consumer Reports conducted in 2002.

    – It pays to shop around. If you have large out-of-pocket costs, it’s wise to do some comparison shopping. That might require phone calls, because many chains (Costco is an exception) have removed their online price-checker feature.

    – Discounts and freebies are available. Some stores offer free diabetes drugs and 14-day supplies of certain generic antibiotics, along with low-priced generic prescription drugs (for example, a 30-day supply for $4 or three months’ worth for about $10) and discounted immunizations for flu, measles, chickenpox, tetanus, pneumonia, hepatitis, HPV and other conditions. (Pharmacists in all 50 states are now permitted to inoculate.)

    Many chains, including CVS, Walgreens and Wal-Mart, have walk-in clinics offering services such as inexpensive physicals for school sports, pregnancy tests and treatment for ailments such as bladder infections, poison ivy and pinkeye.

    – The Internet can be hazardous. Though there are credible online pharmacies, such as those affiliated with physical stores (CVS.com, for example), most are shady. That’s the conclusion of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, which accredits online drugstores. Of the more than 7,000 online drugstores whose practices the NABP has reviewed, only about 3.5 percent appear to be legitimate. The rest sell foreign or non-FDA-approved drugs, don’t require a valid prescription, lack a physical address or otherwise fail to meet the NABP’s standards.

    “We still have big concerns about rogue sites,” says Ilisa Bernstein, a deputy director in the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Roughly 36 million Americans have bought medications online without a valid prescription.

    – E-prescribing isn’t used enough. With almost 4 billion prescriptions dispensed annually, there’s ample opportunity for wrong dosing instructions, missed drug interactions, patient allergies and errors due to illegible handwriting. If more doctors sent prescriptions electronically to drugstore computer systems, which have access to patients’ medical histories, the error rate would drop and doctors would spend less time clearing up confusion.

    Copyright 2011. Consumers Union of United States Inc.

    A recent Washington Post poll has determined that independent pharmacies rank high in overall customer service.  In general, independent pharmacists are more accessible, more likely to counsel patients and keep excellent prescription records.  This survey was conducted among a sampling of Consumer Reports readers. At Webster’s Community Pharmacy, we value every patient’s health and trust in our services.  Michael Miller, our Pharmacist-In-Charge has been practicing for over 30 years.  He is always available to offer advice, counsel on medications and lend a supporting ear whenever necessary. If you have any questions about your medications, OTC items or other concerns, please give us a call at 626-797-1163.