Nearly 70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription pill. It's no surprise, then, that the role of the local pharmacy has grown in recent years. In addition to dispensing doctor-approved drugs, pharmacists now take a more active role in patient care. With that in mind, here are five things to consider before choosing a drugstore.

Clear Instructions / Advice

In addition to preparing prescribed drugs, it is the duty of every pharmacist to give detailed instructions to each patient. Before the medication is dispensed, the patient should have a good understanding of its purpose, side effects, and dosage regimen. A druggist must also be familiar with the patient's medical history in order to give him or her specific advice. Because many Americans take more than one medication simultanously, the health professional must consider possible drug interactions during the initial consultation.

Accessibility

Survey after survey has confirmed that patients want greater access to their pharmacists. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Limited store hours, busy schedules, and unexplained absences are common complaints. But, whatever the excuse, a customer must always consider what's in his or her best interests. That may mean switching pharmacies if the man or woman behind the counter is unreliable.

Knowledgeable Staff

In the HBO comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm, there's an uparious scene where the main character, Larry, weighs the divergent advice of a doctor and a pharmacist. Because he believes pharmacists know more about prescription pills, Larry sides with the druggist. In real life, Larry would have been right! The average apothecary has a much better understanding of how drugs work than the average doctor. There are two simple reasons for this. First, the druggist works with pills all day long and, therefore, has more experience with them. And second, he or she has more contact with patients / customers than the average MD. As such, the man or women behind the counter knows how these medications work in the real world, rather than just in theory. With that said, not all druggists have the time to share their knowledge with each and every customer. That is why is imperative to find one who has a fairly flexible schedule.

Wait Time

Long wait times are often a sign that your drugstore is understaffed. Instead of minutes, you might find yourself wandering the aisles for a half an hour or more while the apothecary prepares your elusive prescription. If this happens once or twice a year, it's probably not a huge deal. But if it becomes a pattern, you should seriously consider finding a new pharmacy.

Supply

Because so many people take prescription pills these days, it's not uncommon for local drugstores to occasionally run out of medicines. This can and often causes major problems for people who need these drugs to survive. As such, it is extremely important to find a pharmacy that almost never runs low on supplies.

These five factors should help you select a dependent drugstore that will meet your needs.