Prime Rx Pharmacy in the Cross Creek Center plaza on Cross Creek Blvd. (at Kinnan St.) is making it easy for adults, teens, and kids ages 12 and up to get a Covid-19 vaccine.
Vikas Ghiya, R.Ph. (Registered Pharmacist), says that’s the key to students being able to return to school safely this fall.
“If people are vaccinated, the chances are less to get sick or spread Covid,” says Vikas, who emphasizes that it is both convenient and free to get a vaccine. “There’s no cost for the vaccines and no charge for patients, whether they have insurance or not.”
The pharmacy offers all three currently available Covid-19 vaccines — the two-dose vaccines manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine — and those who want them can just stop in at a convenient time.
If you prefer to make an appointment, you can do so by calling the pharmacy at (813) 955-7777 or by visiting mycovidshots.com/#!/form/PrimeRxPharmacy to make your appointment online.
For the past year, the pharmacy has been taking precautions to ensure that its customers and staff stay safe during the pandemic. Now, the precautions are routine.
For example, masks are worn at all times, chairs up front are separated for social distancing, shields are installed to separate staff from customers at the register, and additional cleaning measures are in place.
In addition to home delivery for anyone who is not comfortable coming into the store, Prime Rx now also offers curbside service.
The ease of getting a vaccine and having prescriptions delivered to your car or home are examples of the many ways Prime Rx Pharmacy puts its patients first and serves them in a personalized way.
Vikas, who is a long-time New Tampa resident, opened the Cross Creek location nearly two years ago, bringing his business to his home neighborhood from its previous location in Pinellas County.
He has worked as a pharmacist since 1992, first for Eckerd, then Publix. In 2009, he established Prime Rx Pharmacy in Seminole with partners who opened other Prime Rx pharmacies in St. Petersburg and Riverview.
When the partnership dissolved in 2012, Vikas kept his Seminole location open while he commuted from New Tampa. He says that when he had the opportunity to relocate, he decided to come all the way to New Tampa, cutting three hours out of his daily commute.
Vikas has been married to his wife, Harsha, for 32 years. Harsha manages the office and billing for the pharmacy, and also has a license as a pharmacy technician, so she can help her husband with that part of the business when needed.
Vikas says the entire staff prides itself on being both fast and accurate, plus going above and beyond what is typical at a corporate pharmacy or chain drug store.
“Here, customer service is a priority,” explains Vikas. “We often recognize our customers and welcome them by name.”
In fact, to be more accessible to patients, the pharmacy can now be reached by text message. “People can text us whenever we are open,” says pharmacy tech Angelica Guinand, “to ask questions or ask for refills.”
If you text after hours, a member of the pharmacy staff will reply when the office opens again.
In India, Vikas was educated in Ayurvedic medicine, which is a holistic healing system developed more than 3,000 years ago. He earned a doctorate degree and practiced Ayurveda in India until 1988, when he moved to the United States. He explains that in the U.S., his doctorate in Ayurveda is not recognized.
So, Vikas enrolled at St. John’s University in Queens, NY, and received his B.S. degree in Pharmacy in 1992. Then, he moved to Florida.
“Even back then, corporate pharmacy was looking at quantity, not quality,” he says. That’s why he chose to be an independent pharmacist, using both his pharmacological training and physiological training from India to spend more time with each patient.
Blister Pack Prescriptions…
Prime Rx Pharmacy offers customized pill packaging, with medications sorted by the day and time a patient should take each of them. This is especially helpful for people who are chronically ill and take several medications at different times throughout the day.
“Instead of opening three or four different bottles, patients just open one blister pack,” Ghiya explains. “It helps the patient not to miss any pills. We count and make sure they get the exact dosage they need.”
He says he’s had patients whose health has improved, thanks to the consistency of not missing doses of medication or taking extra doses.
In addition to prescriptions, the pharmacy also carries a wide selection of over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and durable medical equipment (DME) for sale, with some items also for rent, such as wheelchairs and canes.
Vikas and his staff are happy to counsel patients about the best vitamins for them, especially when they are taking prescription medications. Prime Rx offers high-quality vitamins that he says work better and are absorbed better than those sold in typical chain drug stores.
Pete Radigan lives in Basset Creek in K-Bar Ranch. He switched from local chain drug stores to Prime Rx Pharmacy about a year ago.
“Vikas is great,” Pete says. “From the moment that I met him, he’s gone out of his way to make me feel like I’m part of a family. It’s little things, like dropping off a prescription because I didn’t make it up to the pharmacy before it closed and he knew my wife was sick.”
While prices are similar — or lower — than what Pete says he used to pay at the chains, the service is more personalized.
“Vikas looks at the customer as a whole person, at his family, at everything,” Pete says, “as opposed to just that transaction, that day.”
And, Pete says, the personalized service and family-like atmosphere is not only cultivated by the pharmacist. “It’s his whole staff. They’re as customer-centric as he is.”
Prime Rx Pharmacy is located at 10010 Cross Creek Blvd. It is open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. For more information, visit PrimeRxPharmacy.com or call (813) 955-7777.