For Seniors Only: An Independent Drug Store Based on Providing Excellent Service

For Seniors Only: An Independent Drug Store Based on Providing Excellent Service
October 17
00:00 2014

By Rebecca Holder

Unknown-1Dave Marley pays attention to the “aha” moments in life. It was one of those moments—frustration at a big chain pharmacy over his daughter’s medication—that led him to open his independent pharmacy, Marley Drug, in 2003. “I knew there had to be a better way of doing business,” says Marley. For him, the better way was rooted in the past; a time when the independent pharmacist knew his customers and individualized, personal service was the norm.

Indeed, stepping into the small storefront of Marley Drug is reminiscent of a by-gone time. Old-fashioned pendant lights hang from the ceiling and one wall is graced with a carefully restored antique display case. Its shelves are lined with medicinal memorabilia including a large apothecary jar filled with colored water. “The apothecary jar was really a communication tool,” explains Marley. “The color of the water let the community know what illness was spreading.”

Though Marley is fond of the nostalgic touches in his store, he utilizes technology to provide a new level of personal service to his customers. One high tech tool is his “robot,” the ScriptPro automated dispensing machine. With just a few taps at the computer, it fills a prescription—accurately, safely, and much faster than a human—sending the labeled bottle into the hands of the pharmacist in well under one minute, as Marley demonstrated with candy-coated chocolates. “This machine allows us to work more efficiently so that staff is able to spend more time talking with customers,” says Marley.

A commitment to customer service, smart use of technology, and another “aha” moment in 2011 created Marley Drug’s Extended Supply Generic Drug Program. “I was contacted one evening by a breast cancer patient who had lost her job and insurance. The least expensive price she’d found for her generic cancer medication was a little over $400. She had almost given up hope and resigned herself to losing her battle with cancer because there was no way she could afford the medicine. My price was $40,” recalls Marley. It piqued him that customers’ options were so limited by big box pharmacy profits and business practices.

The extended supply program is “very simple” according to Marley. “If I can buy a generic drug for less than $12 for 90 pills, it goes on my list. I have drugs on my list that aren’t on my competitors’ $4 list. ”That means customers can get a 3-month supply of a generic drug for $20 plus $10 shipping; 6-month supply for $37 with free shipping; or a 12-month supply for $70 with free shipping. Coupling smart purchasing with the Internet and the mail-order market, Marley Drug is now licensed in and serving 22 states—all from his, independent pharmacy on Peters Creek Parkway.

“This is a good option for people without insurance,” says Marley. “And if you have insurance, it may be cheaper to pay out-of-pocket and not file insurance when you look at co-pays and restrictions on supply. With Medicare Part D annual enrollment starting October 15, it’s a good time for seniors to talk with staff and compare pricing. If they can pay cash for their generics and not file on Part D, it may delay or prevent them from going into the “doughnut hole.” There are significant cost savings to be had and we want to help our customers be aware of that.”

Marley Drug is located at 5008 Peters Creek Parkway, W-S. They may be contacted at 1-800-286-6781 or (336) 771-7672; via e-mail at; or through their website,

The Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) has trained experts who can answer questions about Medicare, Medicare supplements, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) and long term care insurance. Call 1-800-443-9354 for assistance.

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