Duncan and York residents no longer have to run into Safford to pick up their prescriptions. Canyonlands Healthcare opened a pharmacy in the former National Bank of Arizona on Fairgrounds Road April 1.

The pharmacy will be open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., said Andy Lewandowski, Canyonlands pharmacy director.

It’s the third pharmacy Canyonlands has opened and the only one to be in a separate building from the clinic, Lewandowski said. A fourth Canyonlands pharmacy will open in the Safford Canyonlands in the summer.

The pharmacy will provide services for non-Canyonlands patients, too, he said.

Those who need prescriptions filled will find it a different experience, Lewandowski said.

Because Duncan doesn’t need a full-time pharmacist, their prescriptions will be filled by a pharmacy technician whose every action will be scrutinized by a pharmacist in Page, Lewandowski said. The tech will be required to photograph every action they take and those images will be sent to the pharmacist.

Only once the pharmacist has verified the prescription was filled properly and the drugs can be taken safely with the patient’s other medications will the prescription become available, he said.

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When patients go to pickup their prescriptions, they’ll also be able to pick up a phone and speak with the pharmacist via video conferencing, he said.

This way of doing business is a great alternative way to give patients a service they wouldn’t otherwise have, Lewandowski said.

“Our clinic probably isn’t necessarily busy enough to always have a full-time pharmacist for money reasons or business reasons, but secondly, recruiting to a very remote place is always difficult for us, too,” he said.

Patients will still have to visit another pharmacy if they need a prescription for narcotics filled, Lewandowski said.

Still, for most people, the pharmacy will be real boon, he said.

“I think the real value we see here is that we’re able to bring these pharmacy services to a very remote area. Patients of the Duncan clinic were driving 40 to 45 minutes one way just get meds filled,” Lewandowski said.

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