LYNCHBURG, Va. – Tom McDaniel is one of many customers who have come into Timberlake Family Pharmacy looking for affordable medication.
"The pharmacist really came out and said, 'I'm sorry. It's going to cost over $200 for generic Celebrex,' and I just kind of smiled, said 'I can't do that,' and walked away,” McDaniel said about his experience at Walmart.
McDaniel eventually found the price he was looking for at Timberlake Family Pharmacy. But he, like other customers was surprised to learn that local pharmacies are treated unfairly compared to the bigger names.
"The light is being shed on that now. (A) Couple states (of) have actually enacted some policies. So it's changing. It will help us a great deal because they truly sometimes can make pennies on a dollar for services they provide. That's just really not fair,” McDaniel said.
Pharmacists say some local pharmacies are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a month.
Timberlake Family Pharmacy is one of the few independent local pharmacies left in Lynchburg.
"We've had patients come here that couldn't get their medication elsewhere because the pharmacy was being paid below their costs and that happens to us sometimes too,” Vince Ettare, co-owner of Timberlake Family Pharmacy, said.
Unlike others, the pharmacy has a compounding lab on-site, and it is surviving. Ettare said that sometimes caring more for the customers' health outweighs the financial loss.
"We pride ourselves on being very transparent. Lots of patients, when they come in, we tell them, 'This is what it costs us. What do you think is a fair price?' That seems to be a good technique for us to build that relationship, put them at ease,” Ettare said.