by Brian Lamar, Contributing Writer

Not since the turn of the century when the Earth was plagued with the Great 1918 Influenza have Mississippians felt more insecure about the availability of medical supplies and medicine.

Since COVID-19 reared its ugly head, the country has been combating and enduring multitudes of Nationwide shortages of basic services and goods.

Although Alicia Puckett, the new hometown pharmacist on Davis Ave in downtown Pass doesn’t have a magic wand to make all our ailments disappear, she is  Pass Christian’s newest champion for personalized medical care.

Puckett, who grew up in neighboring Long Beach worked as a pharmacist in the corporate world for 11 years.

When she saw the opportunity to open her own independent pharmacy, she jumped at the chance for several reasons.

According to Puckett, the most important reason for her shift was to be able to have more one-on-one personalized care for her patients.

“During my time in the corporate chain pharmacy world, due to the fast-paced volume of customers, there was no time to give the amount of care to each person,” said Puckett.

Since opening on Dec 3rd, Puckett has enjoyed getting to know new patients.

Puckett loves the additional time between patients to not only talk about existing and new medicines but she is afforded the time to research suggestions for prescription change suggestions and go in-depth into negative interactions between medicines.

“At an independent pharmacy there is more attention to detail and focus on health conditions drug interactions more time to look into things like follow-ups with medical providers, drugs changes due to insurance. More time and attention to detail,” said Puckett

Another deciding factor that tempted Puckett away from the job security and comforts of the corporate world was a more hospitable home life.

“I needed my hours to change. Owning and working in an independent pharmacy offers more flexibility for my family. It works for me personally a lot better. With little ones, it is difficult to justify nightly 10 p.m. shifts. I also enjoy getting to know my customers extremely well. It gives me the opportunity to do something different with the front of the store like looking into boutique items and other unique products,” said Puckett.

Through the transition, Puckett has realized the heightened importance of personalized pharmacy care.

“The older generation considers a pharmacist the most accessible medical provider for advice. People need someone where they can pick up the phone for advice from a person they trust. A pharmacist is something that is always appreciated by a community. When you call here, there aren’t even voice prompts. We just pick up the phone and answer your questions,” she said.

So far, most of the questions have been about potential patients who were curious as to what Puckett can carry.

The good news is that Puckett has the same access to medicines as the big-box pharmacies.

Puckett believes that as the Davis Drugs becomes a more known facet in the community, the questions will change and she can fulfill the community advisor role to answer questions about recommendations for medicine.

“Many times, the most frequent question that I receive is ‘Do you think I need to go see a doctor?’,” Puckett explained.

“People aren’t always sure when to seek the next step. Sometimes they either need that little push or just reassurance about a condition that doesn’t necessarily require immediate medical attention”.

Although Puckett is just starting out in this new venture, she has changes planned for the near future.

“I will be offering vaccines soon. I am licensed to give them now, but I am in the process of stocking them,” she said.

Puckett hopes to meet new members of the community soon. She is looking forward to being the Pass’ new go-to person for help.

“I think it is important for people to know they can come in here without an appointment or pre-arranging anything. People can just come in and I will greet them and have a conversation about their individual needs.”

The store hours are Monday-Friday 9am-6pm and Saturdays 9am-1pm.

If you would need to contact the pharmacy, the phone number is (228)222-4249 or check out their website at davisdrugsrx.com.

Additionally, they can be followed on Facebook or Instagram @davisdrugsrx.