It was a great privilege being featured in the pharmacy profile of Retail Pharmacy April 2020 issue. Authored by Nerine Zoio, the feature story talks about how Priceline Pharmacy West Brunswick began and how it became the best pharmacy in integrating holistic approaches and pharmacy medicine to its patients.
Priceline Pharmacy West Brunswick in Melbourne is known among its regular patients and customers for its holistic approach to health, and its extra care. Owner Alvin Narsey realised pharmacy was his vocation when, aged 22, he was hit by a truck and lost his elbow while travelling in Laos.
“I was supposed to travel for a year, yet one week into my trip I was taken to the Australian Embassy in Laos and flown to Bangkok for elbow surgery the next day, followed by a two-week stay in hospital,” Mr Narsey told Retail Pharmacy. “While in the car to the embassy, it hit me that I was only 22, yet had almost lost my life, and that in fact I’d been wasting my time since becoming an adult. “And as I was driven to the hospital, three hours from where I was staying, and dropping in and out of consciousness, I realised what an important role medicines play in helping people.”
“And as I was driven to the hospital, and dropping in and out of consciousness, I realised what an important role medicines play in helping people.”
These reflections led Mr Narsey to decide that, when he recovered, he would help people through the appropriate use of medicine. Now, having achieved his goal and practising as a pharmacist, he says his whole philosophy centres around wellness and how pharmacy can help people attain it as soon as possible. “I believe wellness is attained through a combination of natural medicines and pharmacotherapy,” Mr Narsey said. “This is what I’m most passionate about and what I focused on in my final year of doing interns with preceptors and people who taught me how to practise pharmacy.”
The Holistic Approaches at Work
Dealing with Leaky Gut
His approach is evident in the pharmacy’s treatment of such conditions as leaky gut syndrome, in which it specialises. “We encounter many patients who suffer from reflux indigestion, which means they’re unable to digest their food,” he said. “They’re typically prescribed medications that only treat the symptoms. We know we have to treat the symptoms, but also work on healing the gut.” The pharmacy treats these patients with a course of prebiotics for a couple of weeks, followed by a “safe” preparation of curcumin in turmeric, plus aloe vera, glutamine and magnesium, then with probiotics.
The treatment protocol is tailored to the individual, he says, because some have stomachs that are sensitive to certain ingredients. “There are some ingredients and medications some patients need to avoid in the overriding quest to recolonise their gut and eliminate holes or cracks that allow bacteria, toxins, antigens and partially digested food to penetrate the tissues beneath it that trigger inflammation and changes in the gut flora or normal
bacteria,” he said.
When Wounds Hurt
When it comes to negatives affecting the body’s exterior, for those who have hurt or injured themselves, the pharmacy highlights its array of dressings as well as the expertise to treat wounds effectively and efficiently.
Vaccinations- Whooping Cough or Flu?
Vaccinations are another of its key services. “We’re doing a lot of flu and whooping cough vaccinations in Victoria, where we’re permitted to do them,” Mr Narsey said. “Not many pharmacies have taken this up, but we’re very big on it. This sees trained pharmacists on the floor seven
days a week.”
Anaemia Screening Test
Another of the pharmacy’s services he cites is haemoglobin testing. “We use a DiaSpect haemoglobin analyser to determine haemoglobin levels of our customers, so we can [assess] if their iron supplements are working,” he said. “This service costs $5. “It’s particularly useful for our vegan and vegetarian customers, who are usually eager to find out why they’re feeling tired.” Mr Narsey says he recommends that patients with low iron levels begin taking a supplement and return three weeks later for a progress check.
How We Cared for Breastfeeding Mamas
“This is something unique that we offer,” he said. As an example of its efforts to meet the needs of the community, the pharmacy makes available, for hire or sale, equipment such as the Medela Symphony electric breast pump and accessories, which it recommends as ideal for long-term and frequent breast pumping. The pump can be hired for a deposit of $400 and payments of $120 a month, with accessories, including bottles,
“As we’re open seven days a week and we have lots of newly
calibrated machines and stock available, we’re a natural choice for
mums who need this help – when they need it,” Mr Narsey said.
Pharmacy Advice ON-LINE & OFF-LINE
The pharmacy’s role as an adviser terms of holistic healthcare involves
continual use of social media, especially in giving timely tips on such matters as how to combat coughs and colds as the weather cools.
In the area of vitamin and mineral supplement use, according to
Mr Narsey, while it’s rare that a person will overdose on vitamin C, it’s possible they may take too much and start to feel ill. A small percentage of the population is sensitive to vitamin C, he points out, which results in diarrhoea as high doses are flushed through the system. He says this is just one example of the never-ending stream of advice and explanations the pharmacy provides to its customers.
The “Feel Good and Look Great” Holistic Approach
The pharmacy’s holistic approach extends beyond the utilitarian to beauty care, with suggestions at hand on correct makeup application and other tips.
Beyond healthcare and advice, Mr Narsey says the pharmacy caters for those who simply need to have a document certified, ensuring they are given a helping hand. Any donations forthcoming for such services are sent to the pharmacy’s charity, the Sisterhood Foundation, with the only request being that a review is completed on Facebook and Google. “We really enjoy having this opportunity to give back to the community,” he said.
Looking ahead, Mr. Narsey is focused on the pharmacy continuing to exceed its service standards in both the health and beauty categories. “All our pharmacists and pharmacy assistants and beauty advisers are passionate about what they do,” he enthused, “and they all display a high level of customer service.
- Nerine Zoio, “Holistic Approach Working in West Brunswick,” The Retail Pharmacy, April, 2020,32-33