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CDPHP opens first retail pharmacy in Watervliet

CDPHP and local officials cut ribbon on new pharmacy
Ashley Hupfl
CDPHP and local officials cut ribbon on new pharmacy

The Capital District Physicians Healthcare Network has opened its first standalone retail pharmacy in Watervliet.

The new pharmacy, ConnectRX Hometown, is in the former Watervliet Pharmacy, in Albany County. It will offer free home delivery to neighboring areas and provide pharmaceutical services to residents with or without CDPHP insurance.

CDPHP Chief Pharmacy Officer Eileen Wood says the company wants to offer an integrated pharmacy service that also provides a smaller, localized community experience for customers.

She added she first began her career as a pharmacist 40 years ago at an independent community practice.

"This is really kind of going back for me to the beginning of my career to something that's near and dear," she said. "Although, since then, in the decades since then, we've all observed the big box pharmacies come in and kind of squeeze out the independent pharmacies and really the access to the pharmacy professional."

While describing the need for person-to-person pharmacies, Wood gave a real-life example of a local Watervliet resident.

"We had a referral from a case manager at CDPHP that a grandmotherwho is a caregiver for two children with significant pharmacy needs were told that they could no longer get deliveries from the big box pharmacy. So, within three hours, CDPHP and ConnectRX worked together to transfer those prescriptions here and get them to the home," she said. "So that those patients, those children would get their medications that's important for them to stay healthy."

Democratic state Assemblyman John McDonald, who represents the 108th district, says the growth of community pharmacies is a step in the right direction.

"We've talked about how we need to change how things are happening in the pharmacy community," the Democrat said. "But, the same (time), what's been lost, which is being regained on a larger scale, is the fact that that connection to patients, the connection to people. More and more people are living in the community now than ever before."

McDonald is a practicing pharmacist in nearby Cohoes.

The new pharmacy sits on the corner of 19th Street and 6th Avenue, not far from a Walgreens. Customers will also be able to buy over-the-counter drugs in the small store. Watervliet Mayor Charles Patricelli says he grew up around the corner from the new pharmacy.

"This has been here since I’ve been born and it is important," he said. "I know Dr. Bennett said things may have changed coming up and down 19th Street, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to our residents and with this facility and it still being a part of this (community), we are committed to help our residents, as well."

CDPHP President and CEO John Bennett says this pharmacy is the first of more to come.