Cooper Drug Store Blog

Generic Viagra?

Thursday, May 23 2013 8:02 AM - by Brett Kappelmann

 Erectile Dysfunction (ED) medications have always carried a very high price tag.  Today, drugs such as Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra will cost you over twenty-five dollars a pill at your pharmacy!  Recently, however, a “generic” alternative to the most popular ED medication, Viagra, has come on the market but has remained surprisingly unknown to patients and doctors alike.  How can that be?

Did you know that sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, is actually the active ingredient in a medication called Revatio that is used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension?  There are two key differences though.  First, Revatio comes in a strength of 20mg per tablet, instead of 25mg, 50mg or 100mg per tablet of Viagra.  If you are on a dose of 50mg of Viagra, for example, then you would need to take an equivalent of two and a half tablets of Revatio to equal the same dose.

The second difference is the exciting part.  (Cue the drumroll…)  Revatio has recently become available in generic form for literally fractions of the price of brand Viagra!  Even if you would need five tablets of generic Revatio 20mg to equal a 100mg dose of Viagra, you still would pay far less than HALF of what you would pay for one Viagra 100mg tablet.  I have even discovered a few insurance companies will actually cover the generic Revatio at a generic copay while not covering Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra.  We saved one of our customers exactly $238.72 on just one prescription by asking his physician to prescribe generic Revatio, which was covered at a generic copay, rather than brand-name Levitra.  Disclaimer:  many plans are still not covering generic Revatio without a prior authorization that it is used for pulmonary hypertension rather than ED, but either way you will save, it’s just a matter of how much!

So ask your pharmacist about “generic” Viagra or come see us at Cooper Drug in downtown Augusta with your brand ED prescription and we would be happy to contact your doctor to suggest the less expensive alternative.  We also always welcome prescription transfers if anyone has been receiving the brand name medication at another pharmacy.

Thanks, Dad!

Friday, May 17 2013 2:47 PM - by Brett Kappelmann

I love my job. I am so thankful that I am able to get up every morning and go to work at a truly special place. I get the pleasure of goingto work with a caring, compassionate staff and take care of the most wonderful customers that any pharmacy owner could ever ask for. In the spirit of the Thanksgiving season, there is one person in particular that I want to thank for giving me the opportunity to work in the place that I love. I am thankful that through my job I get to spend the first couple of hours of my day with my dad.and not just my dad, but my mentor and role model. Dad, now 81, does not mess with the computer anymore, but you can find him sitting at the prescription checkout counterbetween 9 and 11 with the same infectious smile and greeting that he possessed when he owned and operated the business and I was just a wild little kid riding wheelchairs up and down the aisles (which I have since given up) and stealing candy (which I still do). I get to see him interact with many of the same customers that were hiswhen he first took over the business back in 1956. That is special to me.

I have learned so much from Dad. Treat your customers no different than your closest friends. Listen to them. Go out of your way to help them whenever you can. Since becoming the owner in 2005, I try my best to be like my dad. I continually fall short, but I always strive to become better. Working next to Dad serves as a reminder to always strive to give the customers your best.

I am also thankful for the opportunity that I am in right now. As the only sibling that chose pharmacy as a career, I wasn't for sure if I could do the ownership-thing. It seemed pretty intimidating at first. My dad offered me a position at Cooper Drug when I graduated back in 2003. I remember thinking something to the effect of "this should be a nice little experiment." Ironically, I had never worked in an independent pharmacy before, only at a Walgreens and hospital pharmacy in Topeka during my pharmacy school days at KU. "I guess I can no longer race wheelchairs down the aisles anymore," I jokingly thought to myself. If I ever started dreaming with my wife, Bridget, at the possibilities of ownership, I would quickly become overwhelmed by the thoughts of all the time, energy, and money that it would take to revitalize Cooper Drug to allow sustainability for 50 more years. More than that, KU taught me to be a very good pharmacist, but not a thing about operating a business.

Well here I am eight years later. Bridget and I went through the time, energy, and funds it took to transform Cooper Drug into what it is today. I have fond memories and taking an evening accounting class through Butler County Community College with Bridget in order to get caught up with what I missed regarding business management at pharmacy school. The rest I have picked up from working with and learning from my dad. Today the store is what I had envisioned eight years before. We have a great staff, a beautifully renovated pharmacy, and unique services that make us like no other pharmacy around. I am so thankful that I get the privilege to be a part of it.

What convinced me to become only the third owner of Cooper Drug Store in its ninety year history? I am heretoday because of Dad. I observed how he treated his customers and how they treated him in return. I wanted to be a part of that. I will always strive to be like Dad who understands that it is relationships that make you want to get up and go to work each morning.I hope that one day I am worthy of being the same type role model to my sons that Dad has been to me. I hope that one day one of my four boys, ages 6, 3, 1, and -4 months(due in March), who are now wreaking havoc in my store as I once did in Dad's, will keep the legacy of Cooper Drug Store alive because of the realization that Cooper Drug is such a special place to work because of those same relationships. Thank you Dad for all that you have done for me. ..and thank you customers for being patient with me as I continually strive to be more like him.

Mail Order Medical Supplies: Buyer Beware

Friday, May 17 2013 2:46 PM - by Brett Kappelmann

Last week, one of our elderly patients came into the pharmacy complaining about the constant harassment she was receiving from Liberty Medical over her diabetic test strips. According to this patient, Liberty would call her several times a week when they deemed it was time for her to reorder her strips. Basically, they refused to leave her alone until she ordered them again.even if she didn't need them. And sometimes, she said, they'd just send her strips and lancets without contacting her at all.

Due to massive marketing campaigns, many Medicare recipients have the misconception that there is a significant advantage (like lower prices) to purchasing certain home medical supplies-such as diabetic testing supplies or nebulized medications-from large mail order companies. In reality, patients can receive these same products at the exact same price from your local, friendly, independent pharmacy. In fact, there is actually no real advantage to selecting these mail order providers, and utilizing these giant companies can often be inconvenient and/or even potentially harmful to the beneficiary. Here are just a few of the advantages of staying local for home medical equipment:

  • The Same Price: Medicare patients will pay the same price (which is often nothing if they have a Medigap (also known as a supplemental) plan regardless of who provides their home medical equipment. Unlike many mail order pharmacies, every company that bills Medicare for medical equipment is paid at the same rate and must charge their patients the same price.
  • No Waiting: Mail order companies often take several days to several weeks to ship supplies to their patients. When using a local supplier, this problem is eliminated.
  • No Damage from Shipping: We routinely encounter patients who show us medical supplies that have been extensively damaged during shipping. While these companies usually offer replacements, this often means additional waiting periods.
  • No Temperature Extremes from Shipping: Many medical supplies are also temperature sensitive. For example, most diabetic test strips must be stored under 86 degrees. However, these mail order companies do not usually provide any means of avoiding extreme temperatures during shipping (even during the heat of the summer), which could lead to inaccurate readings.
  • No Wasted Supplies: Many mail order companies have been known to ship products to patients on a fixed schedule.whether they need them or not. In fact, many patients who use these companies end up accumulating huge stockpiles of diabetic testing supplies. With local medical equipment providers, you receive the required supplies only when you need them.

Please consider supporting your local pharmacy if there is ever a need for medical supplies such as diabetic testing strips. I am confident that you will find your needs will be met without all of the extra hassle that comes from dealing with a mail order company.