CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Premier Pharmacy is getting attention for its work in the community when it comes to making people well, even Oprah came to town to celebrate the pharmacy.
Dr. Martez Prince started the Premier Pharmacy about five years ago. He worked for a big box store, but wanted to do more for his community.
He found a team that had his same beliefs. The pharmacy goes the extra mile to connect with each customer, and has about 600 families it serves.
“We believe in passion over profit here,” Dr. Prince said. “So that means whatever it really takes to make the patient well - we are going to try to help that patient achieve their ultimate outcomes.”
The pharmacy believes in education, so they talk to customers and tells them about their medication. They treat the customers like family and looks out for them.
“You have a patient that’s just been told that they have cancer,” Dr. Prince said. “They have this rapid treatment that’s going to come up and now they have to worry about how they are going to afford this medication, but by us being in this setting to offer like our in-house discount card that we created, and we were able to get that medication for a fraction of the cost.”
Gloria Green has been coming to Premier since it opened. She believes the care and education she receives at the pharmacy made a difference in her life. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. Prince told her exactly what her prescribed pills will do for her and what they won’t. He made some recommendations.
“I am much better,” Customer Gloria Green said. “My doctors don’t even know what to think because I am better - they gave me three months to live back in 2017 and we are in 2020 - God is good.”
Green says she will continue to rely on Premier for medical advice.
“They have really helped me a lot,” Green said. “If I have questions about my medication - I feel free to call them.”
Prince says he is doing the right thing and wants to expand his business.
“My why is like really seeing the patient,” Prince said. “And how it impacts them. How it increases their longevity - their wellness and everything and like seeing our patients smile.”
Oprah left the pharmacy impressed and glad Prince answered the call.
“We are supposed to look inside ourselves,” Oprah said. “And say Oh, I just don’t need a job - I want to use my life in service...this Premier Pharmacy is not just an advantage and a great offering for this community - it’s a model for the country.”
Prince believes his independent pharmacy should be modeled. But he says there is a challenge to make that happen.
“The patient sometimes aren’t aware that they can use us like as an option,” Prince said. “And so that is definitely one of the challenges. Insurance companies should do a better job at explaining to patients you have the option to use whoever you want to use.”
According to the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), the number of independent pharmacies will decrease in America by the year 2025. In 2017, there were 21,909 independent pharmacies - that number is expected to drop below 20,000. Prince says his customers keep him motivated.
"Just as much as I mean to them," Prince said. "They mean just as much to me because they have become my family."
The pharmacy also has a clinic that makes house calls.
After Oprah left the pharmacy, more people found out about the pharmacy and wanted to switch their pharmacy.