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Davidson Drugs expands its services on the Key

Offering Parata® high-speed medication packaging system with an extensive free delivery program

By Debbie Flessner

When John Davidson, a newly graduated pharmacist from Illinois first visited Siesta Key on vacation in 1955, he most likely didn’t envision at that time that he would build a long-lasting family business in the new paradise he had fallen in love with.

By 1956, he was working as a sales representative for a pharmaceutical company, but was based in Sarasota and looking for a place to open a pharmacy of his own. He decided that Siesta Key would be the perfect spot.

“John started the Siesta Key Pharmacy in 1958 in the Village,” John’s son Richard, the President of Davidson Drugs, said. “It was a very small pharmacy, with a soda fountain.”

Eventually, John was presented with an opportunity to develop and build a retail/medical center down the road a bit, so along with his friend Dr. Freeman Epes, they developed the land at 5124 Ocean Blvd. John opened Davidson Drugs, and Dr. Epes’ office was right next door.

But John wasn’t yet finished building new pharmacies.

“The Crescent Beach Davidson Drugs location opened up in the sixties in the building that used to be the Captain Curt’s center,” Richard said. “And then John opened the Midtown location in 1981. That one just closed down at the end of May this year.”

Richard said that the family felt the Midtown site had become less of a retail destination when the main anchor left the plaza, and they thought that it would be better to pool their resources at the Siesta Village pharmacy/store. So when they closed the Midtown location, all the staff members, including the pharmacists, were given the opportunity to come work on Siesta. Most of them took the family up on the offer.

“Everyone is very excited about it, and it’s been a great transition,” Beth Martin, RPh, Pharmacy Manager said. “Many of our customers from the Midtown location are now coming to Siesta, and for those who can’t, we can bring their medication to them. We have a very extensive delivery program, and our drivers are absolutely wonderful. All of our deliveries are free.”

The Davidson family asserts that personal touch is one of the business aspects that sets their pharmacy apart from the big box stores. A full-service pharmacy, they also have a United States Post Office inside their store, as well as a business center, and sell souvenir items, resort wear, office supplies, gifts and anything you might need for a beach trip.

But what they’re really selling is a face-to-face relationship with their clientele.


Siesta Key Village pharmacy staff with Richard Davidson right front row

“We are actually the oldest originally-owned pharmacy on the west coast of Florida,” Richard said. “Over that time, we’ve really gotten to know our customers by name and know what their needs are.”

At the core of Davidson Drugs’ success is the family’s, and the company’s, devotion to their customers—offering them more efficient access to their medication, with a personal touch. That’s why, a few years ago, the company bought a Parata® high-speed medication packaging system.  It takes the medications a patient has been prescribed and packages them in sealed, single-dose packets, which are all labeled with the date and time they need to be taken. As a result, Davidson pharmacists can spend less time labeling, counting, sorting and capping — and more time providing patient care.

“This is our version of the Amazon Pill Pack, but we’ve been doing this for about five years,” he said. “Amazon has a great model, but the difference is that if there’s any kind of change that needs to be made, we can pick it up, make the change and deliver it the next day. As a local pharmacy, we can get their medication set up, do their med packs, deliver it to them and have a pharmacy tech monitor their progress.”


Davidson Drugs utilizes the revolutionary Parata machine, which is a robot that packages and dispenses individual medication doses

The Parata® organizes all of the patient’s medications by date and time, and Davidson Drugs doesn’t add on any charges for the service. Additional benefits are:

•             The packaging is clear, so patients can see when to take their next dose.

•             It’s simple to tear off each package when it’s time to take medication.

•             Davidson Drugs can also include reminders for non-oral medications, like inhalers.

•             Packages are easy to open and great for traveling.

Beth says that from a pharmacist’s perspective, the Parata® helps her provide the ultimate level of customer service.

“We contact doctors to make sure that the packets include just what the customer needs,” she said. “We synchronize all their medications so that they all come due at the same time. We also do bubble (blister) cards.”

Using the system helps the pharmacists at Davidson Drugs provide even better customer service for their clients. When a patient first brings in their recurring prescription, the pharmacy can set it up so the prescription is filled and ready to be picked up or delivered to the client on the same day each month.

As a Davidson Drug’s customer using the Parata® system, you will be given a box that holds a strip of medication packages with your month’s prescriptions. When it’s time to take your medication, you simply tear off the next package and confirm the date and time that is printed on it. If you have missed a dose, you will know right away, so there’s no need to be stressed or worried about possibly missed medications.

Before your next order is due to be filled, Davidson pharmacists will check in with you to make sure that you’re on schedule with your doses, and to see if you have any changes in your medication. If necessary, they will call your physician for refills or work with your insurance company on coverage issues.

Besides groundbreaking technology like the Parata®, one of the primary reasons Davidson Drugs excels in its customer service efforts is that it maintains many longtime employees on staff, including Beth, who has worked for the company for more than 30 years. She said she likes that it is a family-owned operation, and especially, that it is service-oriented.

Davidson Drugs Siesta Key Pharmacy staff at work

Having grown up on Siesta Key, and in his family’s business, Richard says he feels it’s important to shop with locally-owned businesses, because it fosters a genuine sense of community.

“We offer true concierge service to our customers,” he said. “This is our home, and we’re really in tune with our customers’ needs and making sure we take care of them.”

Davidson Drugs has two locations:  Siesta Village, 5124 Ocean Blvd, 941-349-1111; and South Siesta Key, 6595 Midnight Pass Road, 941-349-4343. To learn more, visit the website at www.davidsondrug.com.