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Pharmacist My Linh Nguyen is leaving the chain world behind to open Cowan Pharmacy, an independent, on Wednesday.
My Linh Nguyen believes running an independent pharmacy will be more satisfying than working for a chain store.
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By Cathy Jett
PHARMACIST My Linh Nguyen felt frustrated when she worked for chain drug stores.
She was normally so busy that she didn't have as much time as she'd like to answer customers' questions and talk to them about their medications.
"I'd always go home and feel bad about it and complain to my husband," said Nguyen, who lives in Woodbridge. "The job satisfaction was not there."
She recently left her job at a Walgreens in Manassas to go into business for herself in Fredericksburg. She'll open Cowan Pharmacy, an independent, on Wednesday in Cowan Center, which borders Cowan Boulevard and is home to several doctors' offices. It's also adjacent to the Mary Washington Hospital campus.
"In business, it's location, location, location," Nguyen said with an infectious laugh. "That's the biggest factor. It's another option for patients leaving the hospital. Not everyone leaves on Route 1."
Independent pharmacies may seem like a rarity in a market dominated by the likes of CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens, but the nation's 23,000 independent pharmacists dispense 36.5 percent of all retail prescription drugs and represent nearly 40 percent of all retail pharmacies, according to the Alexandria-based National Community Pharmacists Association.
Independents also provide a number of other services. Last year, the most commonly offered ones were: immunizations (58 percent), delivery (76 percent), durable medical goods (69 percent), diabetes training (48 percent), blood pressure monitoring (50 percent), and compounding (66 percent), according to the association.
Cowan Pharmacy, which is next door to Basilico's Italian Market and New York Style Deli, is a light-filled, 1,200-square-foot space where Nguyen will dispense advice and medications Mondays through Saturdays with the help
Like most independent pharmacists, she will also provide a number of other services such as compounding, or customizing prescriptions for people and for pets. This can involve changing the form of the medication from a solid pill to a liquid, eliminating a non-essential ingredient that the patient
"The most common use is for skin conditions for kids when [the medication] doesn't come in the right dose," Nguyen said. "More independents do this than chains because it's time-consuming."
2571 Cowan Blvd., Fredericksburg
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.