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Competing with the big boys: New pharmacy says it will offer better pricing and service

DeLand Pharmacy's new pharmacist — Ruchita Patel is the pharmacist at DeLand Pharmacy, which opened July 24 at 251 N. Amelia Ave. The experienced pharmacist will open her shop six days a week.

DeLand Pharmacy's new pharmacist — Ruchita Patel is the pharmacist at DeLand Pharmacy, which opened July 24 at 251 N. Amelia Ave. The experienced pharmacist will open her shop six days a week.

BEACON PHOTO/JOE CREWS

After almost a year-and-a-half of searching for a location, then obtaining the necessary permits, licenses and insurance-company contracts, DeLand Pharmacy is finally open on the north end of Amelia Plaza Shopping Center in a storefront that has seen a wide variety of tenants over the years.

That location is about a quarter-mile north of a Walgreens store, but pharmacist Ruchita Patel doesn’t plan to go head-to-head with the national chain. No, she plans to offer lower prices and better service.

“We offer free delivery, free flavoring [of liquid children’s meds] and a free diabetic-care club,” she said.

Customers who sign up for the diabetic-care club will get a free test meter, 50 free test strips a month for non-insulin users (100 strips a month for those using insulin), and low-cost additional test strips and lancets, Patel said.

Other services being offered include dated punch-card packaging, so customers can keep better track of whether they’ve taken their medications; compounding of medicines tailored to a customer’s specialized needs; synchronizing multiple prescriptions so they refill at the same time every month; assistance in organizing medications; and in-house charge accounts so customers don’t have to wait for refills if money is temporarily tight.

Free delivery service is available for the DeLand, Glenwood and Lake Helen areas.

DeLand Pharmacy is an independent entity, but it’s loosely affiliated with ValueNCare Pharmacy, which was opened a couple of years ago in Deltona, and several other independent pharmacies in the Orlando area that are run by some of Patel’s relatives and partners.

ValueNCare offers free deliveries in Southwest Volusia, but several clients live in Glenwood. They could transfer to the new store and keep the same benefits they already enjoy, Patel said.

Patel is an experienced pharmacist, with 11 years in the pharmaceutical industry and 15 years in retail work.

DeLand Pharmacy accepts most health care insurance as payment, including Medicaid, all Medicare Part D and commercial insurance. It also offers lower prices for cash-paying customers, Patel said.

DeLand Pharmacy is at 251 N. Amelia Ave. The new store’s hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Call 386-951-4174 for more information.

- Joe Crews, joe@beacononlinenews.com

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