As you drive into The Medicine Shoppes’ parking lot two impressions hit you right away: the size of the building and the number of automobiles in the parking lot. The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy is housed in a building that is much more compact than that of large chain store pharmacies and with good reason,” stated Lana Hoang, registered pharmacist and owner. “Our pharmacy is dedicated 100% to healthcare, and we do not want any distractions from our main mission. That mission is the driving force in providing the finest medicines and products to guide our customers to a much healthier state of living.”
This philosophy is the reason for all the cars in the parking lot. “Our customers know that we are here to serve them, it’s our responsibility to consider our clients’ health and welfare when serving them,” continued Hoang. “The pharmacists and staff are constantly upgrading their skills through continuing education so that we may provide the expert counseling service for which we are known.” It is apparent that the staff knows their clientele as most are greeted by name as they enter the pharmacy.
The Medicine Shoppe is also a training center for pharmacy students from throughout New England. “We take great pride in our future pharmacists; that is why we participate in the students’ formal training.” Lana stated, “I am excited that Maine has several schools now offering training in pharmacy; this increases the number of well-trained pharmacists who will serve Maine patients.”
Hoang had over 10 years experience with a large retail chain store pharmacy prior to taking over ownership in 2007 from long-time proprietor, Moe Paradis R. Ph. She stated, “I always wanted to work at a pharmacy that focused on patients rather than on profits. I was lucky enough to meet Moe when he was thinking of retiring from his pharmacy and I was able to realize my dream and purchase The Medicine Shoppe in Lewiston.”
Coming from a long line of caregivers as a second generation pharmacist, Hoang’s mother and brother are pharmacists and her father is a retired medical doctor. Hoang received her B.A. from Concordia University in Montreal and earned her B.S. in Pharmacy from Arnold and Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy in Brooklyn, N.Y.
While growing up in Canada, Hoang learned French before she learned English; this has proven to be a great help in the Lewiston-Auburn Franco community. With many of the local customers speaking French, communication is greatly enhanced and appreciated. Hoang is not the only bilingual staff member who can converse “en francais.” The staff strive hard to communicate with all of their patients to fully understand their prescription needs and to assist them in understanding their role in improving their health and lifestyle.
Hoang is an active member of The American Academy of Anti-Aging and is proactive in staying current with the latest developments in anti-aging drug therapy management. To that end, she has attended several national training seminars conducted by acclaimed experts in the field. Hoang has recently partnered with Dr. Michael Bedecs, DO of the Age Management Center in Portland. During a recent seminar, Dr. Bedecs outlined his treatment regimens and cited The Medicine Shoppe as a place to obtain his prescribed and compounded hormone replacement creams and associated prescriptions.
The Medicine Shoppe, locally owned and staffed, continues to focus on the needs of the customer by offering a full line of over-the-counter products, important health screenings, and the personal care and attention of a knowledgeable pharmacist who always takes the time to get to know his or her customers.
“Our pharmacist-run business model allows me the freedom I need to grow my business and simultaneously focus on the needs of our customers. We are deeply involved in the administration of various clinics for our community. The Medicine Shoppe regularly conducts blood pressure screenings, seasonal flu and H1N1 flu shot clinics and Zostavax administration.”
Zostavax is a vaccine that aids in the prevention of shingles, a condition that can be very painful. Hoang continued, “At The Medicine Shoppe, we also compound a cream that can dramatically reduce the pain associated with shingles for those patients who have already contracted shingles.”
In addition to Hoang, The Medicine Shoppe has another gifted pharmacist, Lou Gagne, R.Ph. Gagne has over 33 years experience in pharmacy, with a wealth of knowledge in the science of compounding pharmaceuticals to order. Gagne is the lead compounding pharmacist; compounding medicines is the art of custom formulation of medications for humans and pets to address individual needs as cited by the physician. The compounding process is necessary for varied reasons; sensitivity to ingredients, taste ingredients, how a medication is administered and for strength of medication are the major reasons. Simply put this means that if you have a reaction to an ingredient in a standard medication a substitute can be used instead, gluten sensitivity for instance or a children’s medication can be flavored with grape so that the patient will take the medications more willingly. A patients size may call for a change in formulation from the standard dosage for a smaller or larger patient, or a family member may not easily swallow pills, for them we formulate a liquid form of the prescribed drug. Gagne explained, “We have compounded several medications that are very popular such as creams for wart treatment, gypsy moth formulations, creams for pain relief and nursing mothers’ relief creams.” Gagne stated that if you have any concerns with your medications or specific needs to call The Medicine Shoppe and request a pharmacist consult.
In speaking with Ann Loudermilk, The Medicine Shoppe pharmacy manager, one learns that a very important link to the L-A community is the Durable Medical Equipment department. Loudermilk is justifiably proud of the pharmacy being a Medicare Certified supplier of medicines, medical supplies and equipment for two area hospitals, several nursing facilities and private individuals.
“Our family of patients relies on the expertise of the people in our DME department to allow them to live their lives to the fullest enjoyment. It is important to us that the patient and the caretakers alike are fully trained regarding their use of supplies and equipment allowing them to become quite comfortable with their treatment plans. We take this responsibility very seriously,” said Loudermilk.
With an R.N. on staff, and additional staff members being trained at national seminars, patients can be sure to receive the best and most up to date information in the area. The pharmacy carries shoes for the diabetic, diabetic and wound care supplies as well as ostomy supplies, bathroom aids, orthotics, lymphedema and wound care needs and much more. Many of its patients meet Sue Mercier while discussing billing of medical supplies for their insurance carrier, and with good reason – Mercier is a walking encyclopedia of billing information regarding MaineCare, Medicare and private insurance claims, and is an important resource for the pharmacy and its family of patients.
The Medicine Shoppe is also proud to be associated with The Sam and Jennie Breast Care Center,” said Hoang. “We are the sole provider of Amoena prosthetics for the center and we provide the expertise of Joan Caron, a certified mastectomy fitter, Joan takes precise measurements and fits the patients custom made prosthetic replacements and also assists in the fitting of the patients garments as well. Joan has been on our team for 28 years and it an honor to work along side of her.”
Caron invites all of her patients to ask her any questions that apply to their needs, whether the questions are about garments or prosthetics. Caron and the Breast Care Center have an annual fitting event in October, but she stressed, “Don’t wait for that event if you have questions today – call me at The Bennett Breast Care Center or at The Medicine Shoppe.”
Loudermilk pointed out that the pharmacy has been honored by a nationally syndicated consumer study group as “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Chain Store Pharmacies” and rated as the top rated pharmacy for “Highest in Service and Knowledge” by an independent consumer products magazine for the past two years. “With fast and friendly service, dedicated healthcare professionals, extensive on-hand medical equipment and specialized medicines we are your one stop health needs source point. It is the mission of The Medicine Shoppe to provide the best treatment and outreach to our community.”
Hoang encourages all patients to call or visit with any health concerns that they may have. “We want you to feel like part of our extended family, one that you can turn to for professional advice and services. We even offer free delivery in the Lewiston and Auburn area”
The Medicine Shoppe is open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday; they are located at 373 Sabattus Street, Lewiston, next to St Mary’s Regional Hospital at the intersection of Campus Avenue and Sabattus Street. Visit www.medicineshoppe.com/0550. All prescriptions can be ordered online, by phone, fax or in person at the store.
“At The Medicine Shoppe we believe that we provide caring and treatment beyond prescriptions.”