January 2020

Old School, New School

Author: Barry Kaufman | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

In a world of corporate chains, Bluffton Pharmacy is an unapologetic throwback to a simpler time. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t on top of the latest treatments.

There’s a decidedly old-school vibe when you walk into Bluffton Pharmacy. It’s the kind of place where they greet you by name when you walk in the door, where they ask about your family. It’s the kind of community hub many people thought had been lost in the day of the mega chains. It’s the kind of place you walk into and wonder why we ever started going to corporate drug stores in the first place. Especially when you start looking at the price tags and notice this old-school service and charm comes cheaper than the sterile corporate assembly line.

“We have a lot more flexibility than chains do,” pharmacist Rob Vaughn said. “They’re locked into the pricing their corporate centers have told them to charge. With us, we can give medications to patients pretty much at what our cost is.”

It’s that kind of dedication that has grown a dedicated local following in Bluffton. So dedicated, in fact, that they happily pay full price for medications when their insurance doesn’t cooperate. “I had a guy come in today that was getting an immunization. I ran it through his insurance, and they wouldn’t cover it here. It would cost him $102 here, and that’s our cost,” Vaughn said. “I told

him, ‘I hate to do this, but you can go up the road to Walgreen’s or CVS and walk out with it for free.’ He told me he’d rather spend his $102 here. Isn’t that wild?”

It is, but at the same time, it isn’t. Bluffton is a special place in that its people understand the value of local businesses like Bluffton Pharmacy and happily give them their business if it means keeping an old-school family pharmacy up and running. Like its namesake town, Bluffton Pharmacy embraces the old school. But it also has a few new-school tricks up its sleeve.

One of the most striking new additions to the selection at Bluffton Pharmacy has been their extensive array of CBD products. Derived from the cannabis plant (the same plant from which both marijuana and hemp rope are derived), CBD oil has become a giant growth sector in medicine since the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized all cannabis extracts containing less than 0.3 percent THC.

“It’s a growing trend,” Vaughn said. “I had my doubts at first, but it helps patients’ recovery from arthritic inflammation, aches and pains, anxiety… it works.”

The CBD products on display at Bluffton Pharmacy encompass two different brands, each with their own targeted results. The majority of them come from a company called Charlotte’s Web, a supplier that the pharmacy arrived at after exhaustive research in the market. “It ranks at the top of nearly every category you can look at,” Vaughn said.

Specialized oils not only come in flavors like mint chocolate chip, orange blossom, lemon twist and olive oil, but there are also topical ointments and gummies with additional ingredients to help with anything from stress relief to joint inflammation to restless sleep.

“We get five or so brand-new people a day on it. That’s been pretty consistent since I’ve been here,” Vaughn said. “And we get 95 percent positive feedback. The people who come and get it come back, so it must be working.”

Jim Sauter, Alexis Wonser and Rob Vaughn

They even see repeat customers of the four-legged variety. “We have a chicken flavor CBD oil for dogs,” Vaughn said. “You can see the difference when they take it. You take a dog who isn’t very active, and once they start taking it, they’re up and about.”

And much like the other medications, you’re going to find CBD cheaper at Bluffton Pharmacy than anywhere else. “We don’t charge MSRP for this, except for the introductory dose… As you move up, we’re able to shave quite a bit off of the MSRP,” Vaughn said.

Their other brand, Coastal CBD echoes many of Charlotte’s Web’s offerings but with a few key differences. First, it lacks the minute amounts of THC found in the Charlotte’s Web’s line. “We wanted to have a THC-free option, because if you take a drug test, that’s going to show up,” Vaughn said. “But what we sell is regulated by the state and the federal government, so if you tell your employer why the THC is showing up, it’s probably not going to be an issue. Especially now.”

Coastal CBD also offers a range of terpenes, molecules that are produced in the resin of the cannabis plant alongside cannabinoids that can be tailored specifically towards issues like insomnia, anxiety, headaches, digestion and more.

“CBD really covers a wide range of things,” Vaughn said. “It’s worked out really well for our customers.”

Rounding out this old-school-meets-new-school ethos that defines Bluffton Pharmacy is their specialized compounding pharmacy, an area toward the front where medicines are truly personalized for your needs.

“We’ll pretty much work with anybody to do anything in the compounding lab. If it’s not a sterile compound, like an injectable, we can do it,” Vaughn said. “People think we only do bioidentical hormone creams, but we do a whole lot more.”

That includes everything from oral liquids to topical creams to inhalation mists. And, yes, specialized compounds for your pets. “There are a lot of different delivery mechanisms that people don’t realize we can do.”

It’s not just medicine that gets compounded into something truly personalized here. At Bluffton Pharmacy, they’re taking old-school service and care, compounding it with new-school options and the latest medical science to create something perfect for Bluffton.

Bluffton Pharmacy is located at 167 Bluffton Rd., Suite B, Bluffton. For more information, visit www.blufftonpharmacy.org or call (843) 757-4999.

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