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Just months after losing his fight to keep long-established Blair’s Drug Store in Henrico County in business, pharmacist W. Berkley Rayfield has started a new business that specializes in sorting and packaging customers’ medications.

“We specialize in compliance packaging. It’s like your medication would come to you in a continuous strip of bags,” sorted by day and time, explained Rayfield, partner in a new business called Carepac Pharmacy with his sister-in-law Kim Kalten, a registered nurse and pharmacy technician.

“For instance, for anybody taking a blood pressure pill, an aspirin, and a vitamin every day, we could package all that together,” Rayfield said. 

The new pharmacy is at 8209 Whippoorwill Road, at its intersection with U.S. 301 in Hanover County. Open since April, Rayfield and Kalten are currently the only two employees.

In November, after 1½ years of ownership, Rayfield and his wife and business partner, Joy Rayfield — who is also a pharmacist — closed Blair’s Drug Store at 3601 Mechanicsville Turnpike.

They had bought the business in May 2014 with the intention of saving the longstanding independent community pharmacy that was a neighborhood fixture. The drugstore also included a restaurant, and that commitment and some other issues made running the establishment unfeasible,Rayfield said.

“Blair’s was a fairly large store. In addition with running the restaurant in there, you have a fair amount of overhead. ... It was kind of a situation where the overhead was rather large, which didn’t make it financially doable,” Rayfield said.

The new venture, Carepac Pharmacy, is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The new space is about 1,500 square feet. The pharmacy also dispenses prescriptions in regular packaging and has an assortment of over-the-counter, nonprescription pharmaceutical products. 

Kalten is also trained in fitting people for compression hosiery worn to prevent blood clots, fluid accumulation and other circulation disorders in the legs, and offers that service at Carepac Pharmacy.

Their niche, though, is the presorting of customers’ medications.

“This kind of replaces the chore every Sunday of filling up mom or dad’s pill box,” Rayfield said, giving an example of how a caregiver of an elderly parent who is taking multiple medications would use the service.

“We don’t charge any additional fee to package their medication, so it’s their usual copay.”

The program also provides free delivery to Richmond-area customers who use the compliance packaging program.

“Hopefully it’s a situation where we can help a lot of people who have confusion on when they take their dose,” Rayfield said.

“Each little bag will have listed what’s in the bag but could also have a picture of the sun coming up or a picture of the moon, so they can better understand when they are supposed to take it.”

The technology used to sort and package the medications is made by TCGRx, a Wisconsin-based company that has traditionally provided pharmacy automation equipment to long-term care facilities.

“We are doing a lot more work with the retail independents now,” said Deborah Parker, spokeswoman for TCGRx. “Our primary focus was long-term care. We are well known in the long-term care industry.”

At Carepac Pharmacy on Monday, Wyatt Cowan, an implementation specialist for TCGRx, demonstrated how the equipment operates, using small hard candies as a substitute for pills.

Compliance packaging is more commonly found in independent pharmacies, said Timothy S. Musselman, executive director of the Virginia Pharmacists Association.

“A major push that increases the use of compliance packaging is medication synchronization programs, which enables a patient to have all of their current medications filled at the same time,” Musselman said.

“These programs are of great benefit to the patient, especially those with a number of medications and/or complex therapy. Syncing a patient’s medications and packaging them in containers that assist the patient (or their caretakers) in taking the correct medications at the right time can reduce patient confusion and increase compliance.”

When the Rayfields closed Blair’s, they sold the prescription business to a nearby Walgreens drug store, and that helped offset their losses on that business venture. Rayfield said a tenant who was scheduled to occupy the Blair’s location had planned to open a restaurant.

While Carepac Pharmacy is being established, Rayfield and Kalten both are working part-time positions outside of the pharmacy.

Kalten works as a nurse at a local hospital, and Rayfield works at another independent pharmacy. Rayfield’s wife, Kalten’s twin, works as a pharmacist at a different establishment.

Click here to read the original article.

About TCGRx 
TCGRx is a leading supplier of pharmacy automation, offering scalable solutions that range from simple packaging technology to enterprise-wide perpetual inventory management. TCGRx solutions are specifically designed to make pharmacies and their processes more efficient. The company provides comprehensive workflow automation, including design and consultation services, to offer in-patient, out-patient, retail and long term care pharmacies a fully featured, integrated solution. With a strong presence in pharmacy markets throughout the U.S. and Canada, TCGRx is headquartered in Powers Lake, WI. For additional information, visit http://www.TCGRx.com, or contact them at 262.279.5307.

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