Pharmaceutical drug use is part and parcel of the modern American lifestyle, with over 55 percent of Americans taking them according to a 2017 study by Consumer Reports.
Many of those who reported using prescription drugs added that they take an average of four prescription drugs per day, as noted in this article from the website WebMD.com.
While the trend of consuming large concentrations of pills has continued for decades, many Americans have also begun adding more supplements, vitamins, and other holistic and natural remedies to their daily routines, the report added.
This growing movement has not been adopted by most doctors and pharmacists, however, as noted by a recent CDC statistic that nearly 75% of all doctor’s visits end up with prescription drug recommendations of some kind.
Now, one of the largest drug store chains in the country is making a daring and unexpected move to change all that — and it’s a welcome step for patients who never even realized there was another way.
Rite Aid Stores Begin Training Pharmacists to Recommend Natural Remedies
While Rite Aid is currently the fourth largest drug store chain in the United States behind Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart, respectively, the company has been dealing with a battery of financial challenges in recent years while staring down bankruptcy.
Despite its precarious financial situation, the company is far from risk-averse, as evidenced by how the Camp Hill, Pennsylvania-based drug store chain is embracing natural and holistic remedies in ways its competitors have not, including its recent announcement that its pharmacists are being trained to help customers select holistic remedies instead of drugs.
“They really are now experts to be able to consult with you about the proven, the worth trying, and then, of course, the traditional medicine,” Rite Aid CEO Heyward Donigan said according to an article published by The Hill.
Donigan made the announcement at the virtual event The Future of Everything Festival, adding that Rite Aid pharmacists are now trained on how to recommend holistic alternatives to over-the-counter and prescription medications.
Rite Aid will also be adding CBD products and alternative medicines to its pharmacies in the coming months as well, allowing it to stand out in a market where most pharmacists are almost exclusively trained on prescription drugs.
“Rite Aid pharmacists are certified on alternative and holistic remedies and are encouraged to help customers find treatments that can complement traditional medicines or replace them entirely,” journalist Alexandra Kelley explained in the article.
Thus far, the most popular treatments include melatonin, lavender, and aromatherapy, along with elderberry and zinc to support the immune system.
Rite Aid is also revamping its stores, its mobile app, and its product selections to include more organic, non-GMO, and chemical free products alongside its prescriptions.
“Customers will soon take notice as the look and feel of our stores is being refreshed, our merchandising mix evolves to an assortment that best supports whole health, and perhaps most importantly, our trusted neighborhood pharmacists are empowered and qualified to consult not simply on traditional medicines, but alternative remedies as well,” said Jim Peters, chief operating officer, Rite Aid, in a statement.
Reading between the lines, it seems as though both Peters and Donigan are determined to conflate prescription drugs with natural remedies, as if they are in the same category, a marketing tactic the industry has used in recent years by calling its synthetic medications “biologics.”
Of course, that’s to be expected in an industry where Rx drugs bring in the big bucks — but overall, the changes are still more than welcome at a time where the pharmaceutical industry has wielded its enormous influence and power to crush all competition, dominate the television airwaves and to continue pushing the myth that drugs are the only pathway to health.
As Rite Aid and others have demonstrated recently, that doesn’t have to be the case anymore, and so-called “alternative” remedies deserve all the recognition that prescription drugs do, and then some.