The recent opening of Wailea Pharmacy, an independently owned and operated pharmacy, sounded like an opportunity to ask our local neighborhood pharmacist some pressing questions. Shelley Seideman and Farah Mikhail, who own it, share a vision of a pharmacy that offers personalized customer service and a full spectrum of products from pharmaceutical to holistic. Between the two of them, they have more than 35 years of combined pharmacy experience on Maui.
MAUITIME: When you go to a small independent pharmacy, what are some of the benefits in that experience?
SHELLEY SEIDEMAN: You enjoy all the same services as a chain store but our goal is to become an active partner in our patients overall wellness. We are locally owned and operated and our pharmacists have over 35 years combined experience serving patients on Maui. We care about each of our patients and consider all aspects of their care. We consider ourselves as Wailea’s “neighborhood” pharmacy and extend the friendly and personal service that one would expect in a neighborhood pharmacy. We also have shorter wait times.
There is really no disadvantage in working with a small, independent pharmacy. We provide the same prescription services, offer many of the same over the counter products and the convenience of personalized care. Wailea Pharmacy accepts most forms of insurance (just like the chain stores) and we are happy to assist with prescription transfers.
MT: Tell me about bio-identical hormones. Are they available for all hormone therapy? what are the pros? what are the cons?
FARAH MIKHAIL: Bioidentical hormones (BIH) are derived from natural sources–instead of synthetic compounds that are patented by pharmaceutical companies–and designed to replicate the same chemical structures as hormones produced by our bodies. As a compounding pharmacy, we can individually tailor a hormone replacement therapy designed specifically for each patient. BIH are available for all hormone therapies.
MT: In researching bio-identical hormones, I came across a lot of competing information and dated articles on the internet. How do you research medication? What’s your advice to a layperson wanting more information?
FM: BIH are prescribed by your doctor as an option to synthetic hormones. The decision to use BIH is a decision made between a doctor and patient.
BHI prescriptions are filled just like any prescription. Our compounding pharmacist has the equipment and training to fill your prescription. Wailea Pharmacy collaborates with physicians and compounding laboratories, and is a member of a compounding network–all of which helps provide the latest up to date information.
We also attend continuing education seminars to stay up to date on the most recent development and research. BIH can only be dispensed by a trained and certified compounding pharmacist. At Wailea Pharmacy, I’m certified by University of Southern California (USC) School of Pharmacy. In addition, Wailea Pharmacy has the equipment required to develop these medications.
SS: I recently attended “Natural Supplements: An evidence based update” hosted by Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in San Diego, California. We’re happy to assist our patients and suggest web sites where they can get more information. For example, the Life Extension Magazine website compiles evidence based research on many health related topics.
MT: How and why are you qualified to create a pharmacy and dispense medication?
FM: We have more than 50 years experience as Registered Pharmacists and have dreamed for years to provide the highest quality level of personalized care to serve the community and to help others obtain optimum quality of life. Wailea Pharmacy is a licensed pharmacy with the State of Hawaii.
MT: Lets talk about holistic medication. Can you request holistic medicine from most doctors?
FM: Holistic medicine encompasses the whole mind body complex and sees the interrelatedness of the body. Medications that work with that concept might be prescribed by conventional or naturopathic doctors.
MT: How do you provide consultations with naturopathic doctors? Are there some doctors you specifically work with?
FM: As a pharmacy, we’re working and consulting with several naturopathic physicians. In the future, some of our consultants will be given educational talks at the pharmacy on topics of interest to our community.
MT: How does drug insurance work with holistic, naturopathic and prescription medicines at Wailea Pharmacy?
FM: Each insurance company has a formulary which specifies which medications are included and can be verified by contacting your provider. Supplements, natural and homeopathic remedies are currently not covered by insurance.
MT: What’s the best way to insure you have researched your medicines?
FM: All our prescription medications are received from reputable manufacturers that are licensed and regulated to ensure their quality. We caution and advise our patients about obtaining medications online unless they’re aware of their source. Quality varies and may be dangerous to your health. Although supplements and natural preparations are not as regulated, we have researched our products to obtain the purest, most potent and quality brands on the market.
MT: If a person has questions about medication that you wanted to discuss with a pharmacist at Wailea Pharmacy, how would he or she go about doing that?
FM: A pharmacist is on duty without appointment to answer questions whenever the pharmacy is open. Please walk in and let us serve you.
MT: Have the new health plans that became available through the Affordable Care Act affected what you do as a pharmacist?
FM: No, there has been no change. We accept all of the health plans that are offered on the exchange, with the exception of Kaiser Permanente which is a closed system and, if chosen, a patient must go to Kaiser for their health care needs.
MT: Does medicine have to be prescribed? Let’s say I’m not feeling well, but head to the pharmacy. Can I just tell a pharmacist my symptoms and then get something that can help?
FM: It’s very common for people to come to the pharmacy seeking relief when they’re not feeling well. Many products are available over-the-counter to relieve symptoms, stimulate the immune system and enable the body to heal. We invite you to talk to our knowledgeable staff. But in some cases, the services of a physician are warranted. Pharmacists and staff are trained to know what questions to ask to assist in deciding if a visit to your physician is necessary.
For more information, visit Waileapharmacy.com