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End of Days for Independent Pharmacies?

End of Days for Independent Pharmacies?
Photograph by H. Armstrong Roberts/Getty Images

When patients arrive at Woods Pharmacy & Prescription in Mountain View, Ark., pharmacist Dana Woods greets them by name. In a town of 3,000, where Woods has owned the $2 million pharmacy and soda fountain for 26 years, he usually also knows their parents, their children, and their medications.

Brett Barker, a pharmacist and director of clinical services at NuCara Pharmacy in Nevada, Iowa, says his personal relationships with patients help him catch dosing errors and recommend low-cost generics over expensive drugs whenever possible. NuCara, a $30 million business with a dozen locations and 175 employees, sorts medications into daily-dose packages for seniors and hand-delivers them every Friday.