Story and photo by Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The free-standing Westside Pharmacy, which has been at the corner of California SW and Brandon Street for 20 years, is closing, but its longtime owner isn’t leaving the business – he is partnering with QFC to provide pharmacy services in their about-to-open Junction store.
Michael Ng, pharmacist and 32-year owner of Westside Pharmacy, tells WSB he is very excited about this partnership with QFC for a number of reasons, including the expanded hours and parking availability for his clients.
The QFC pharmacy will be open from 9 am to 9 pm, seven days a week. Michael Ng, or “Mike” to his clients, won’t be manning the pharmacy by himself all that time — he will be working with other pharmacists, all of whom, he says, are former independent pharmacy owners. Mike notes that QFC likes to work with owners from the independent-pharmacy culture because “they run the pharmacy with the patient in mind.”
Mike says that his pharmacy staff will all be transferring with him, and he will be retaining all his clients who want to move with him. He will be maintaining his current phone number: 206.937.5722. There will be no downtime during the transfer, he says and the transfer will be quick! The Westside Pharmacy crew will be installed at QFC in time for the store’s opening, currently expected to be next Wednesday.
Mike notes that QFC has been very accommodating and will allow Westside Pharmacy to continue to offer some of its special services such as blister packs, medisets, (which organize medications by time of day and day of the week — for example, all medications to be taken Monday mornings are grouped together.) and compounding.
When asked what inspired this change, Mike explains how increased government regulation has made operations more difficult for the independent pharmacies. He cites an increase in certifications and constantly changing rules as impediments to efficient, patient-focused care.
To inform his clients of the impending move, Mike sent out a letter which includes the following:
“The memories are too many to share but I can remark that it has been a wonderful lifetime career. Thank you all for your friendship and loyalty. I have always felt privileged to serve you. I hope we have made your lives a little healthier by our small effort.”
He doesn’t own the current pharmacy building, so what happens there next, we don’t yet know.
Thanks to Celeste for the tip about the Westside Pharmacy change.