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Coupon Corner: Drugstores offering more services to customers

I just received a very interesting press release from Cassie Eberle of ShopSmart magazine about new money-saving and convenient drugstore perks.

You'll want to pick up the September issue of ShopSmart (a division of Consumer Reports) to see all 12 new in-store, online and mobile services drugstores are offering.

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Some may not come to Carroll County for some time, but others are here now.

Below are five of the 12 perks listed in the September issue.

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1. Private consultations with a pharmacist. In a recent national Consumer Reports survey, one-third of shoppers at chain pharmacies and big-box stores who said they weren't comfortable discussing personal medical concerns at the drugstore thought the pharmacist seemed too busy anyway. To help provide more personalized service, Walgreens has moved pharmacist desks to the front of some of its stores. Many drugstores also have a consultation area. (Such as Rite Aid.)

2. Personalized packaging. Sam's Club, Wal-Mart and some independent drugstores will put pills in individualized, daily packets instead of the usual bottles so customers can tell at a glance whether or not a dose has been taken. Many independent pharmacies will customize medications to suit individual needs such as creating a liquid version of a drug for someone who has trouble swallowing pills or adding flavor to a child's medication.

3. Home delivery — by robots. Drug-delivering drones are being launched this summer by a company based in San Francisco called QuiQui. It will deliver pharmacy orders to shoppers via hovering drone, for a fee of $1 per delivery plus the cost of goods.

4. More shots. Though rules vary by state, CVS, Rite Aid and other chains offer vaccinations for chicken pox, hepatitis A and B, the human papilloma virus (HPV), measles, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, shingles and tetanus. Target and Walgreens also cover travel immunizations such as those for meningitis, typhoid or other diseases.

5. New "get healthy" rewards programs. With the Walgreens Steps With Balance Rewards program, shoppers get 20 points for various healthy activities and goals, including miles walked, weigh-ins logged, yoga, swimming and more. For every 5,000 points, shoppers get $5 to spend in-store.

The full article has even more valuable information, including meds for pets, safe drug disposal and self-tracking kiosks.

Karen Silverman lives in Eldersburg and can be reached at kl.silverman@yahoo.com.

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