Fresh approach prescribed by local pharmacist

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Pharmacist Lloyd Duplantis specifies that his business philosophy and his faith work together in offering him an opportunity to operate as an alternative to most contemporary drug stores. “I’m happy to have that dimension,” said the pharmacist and ordained deacon.

Lloyd’s Remedies in Gray might not be as easily recognized as familiar major chain pharmacies or big-box stores where prescriptions can be filled, but the owner of this specialty pharmacy said the service he offers is not matched by the competition.

With more than 1,000 customers walking through the door a month and bringing in an average 150 prescriptions a day, this 65-year-old dispenser of good health assistance said the first advantage of an independent pharmacy is being able to take care of medical needs without having to contend with crowds of people wanting other consumer goods.

“We offer wellness advice and products in addition to the prescription department,” Duplantis said of the freestanding location on La. Highway 24 (W. Main Street in Gray), which offers a variety of health enhancement products ranging from nutritional supplements and vitamins to orthopedic shoes. Customers are even afforded a seating area with couch and chairs, complimentary coffee and some of the best reading material available in the Tri-parish region.

Even the name, Lloyd’s Remedies, Duplantis said is intentional to let consumers know they take a different approach to pharmaceutical services. “We combine the best of the old with the best of the new,” he acknowledged. “We even deliver prescriptions to people who have trouble getting out of their homes. If you live in New York and your mother lives here, we can make sure she gets her medicine. We service the elderly and disabled and can deliver their medication to them, make sure they get to their [doctor] appointments and make sure their prescriptions are updated.”

People often drop into this location asking what to expect from a new medication in terms of results or side effects. Many ask what they should not take with medication or what they can do to enhance their health as well as using prescribed drugs.

“People are very interested in alternative things that will keep them healthy,” Duplantis said. “We do a lot of consultations.”

He also provides standard prescription work and tells customers that insurance co-pay amounts are the same no matter where they go. This pharmacist makes a point of telling people that his business is different than what most people consider routine today.

“I don’t go against the big chains head-on,” Duplantis said. “I offer special things and services. Let’s say you’ve got a child with a heart defect and [he or she] needs to have an adult medicine prepared in child dosages. We do that. Let’s say you need surgery and there are specialty things that are no longer commercially available. Doctors send patients to us to prepare those things.”

Duplantis prides his business on being one location where people can know their pharmacist by face and name.

“Being in business for yourself allows you to be an active part of the community,” he said. “When you work with a corporate business you can’t do that.”

As for advice to other business owners, this professional says the prescription for genuine success is easy, “Eat well, say your prayers, and take life with a smile.”

Pharmacist Lloyd Duplantis says the proper prescription for an independent pharmacy is to mix medications with personal services and extras that chain businesses are unable to provide. MIKE NIXON