Since opening last November, Remedy Holistic Pharmacy, a new kind of pharmacy that combines conventional and traditional medicine, has seen a 32% growth in gross income, according to founder Dr. April Segal.
Located in Little Italy and with four employees, the apothecary, designed with European vibes and clean, modern lines, is different from standard drugstores, she said; it offers services like immunization and strep, flu and UTI testing, but also private consultations and custom formulations from an in-house herbacy and B-12 and other vitamin shots from a naturopathic doctor, among other natural approaches.
“Being a pharmacist, I have firsthand experience with how pharmaceuticals can both benefit people and harm people,” said Segal. “A trend that I saw that disturbed me was seeing medications prescribed that didn’t address the root cause of illness — and they would keep being stacked on and never pulled off. That is when I started looking for a better way to use pharmaceuticals, a judicious and step-wise approach.”
This is exactly the concept behind Remedy, said Segal, who completed her doctorate of pharmacy at the University of Texas at Austin and her bachelor of science degree at Texas A&M in nutritional sciences: to use natural approaches first that address the root causes and then combine these methods with pharmaceuticals when needed, she said. In addition to this shift in philosophy, Segal said she also wanted to create a welcoming and friendly environment at Remedy. She did so by implementing white, light pink and gold hues as well as greenery throughout the open space.
Mostly Women Customers
Segal, who funds the business through personal equity and a Small Business Administration loan, said her customers are mostly women between the ages of 20-60, although Remedy also offers programs for men. The integrative pharmacy accepts insurance and also offers traditional Chinese medicine, Western herbalism and Ayurvedic medicine, as well as professional nutraceuticals and supplements.
Remedy is also a compounding pharmacy and has an on-site lab, said Segal; compounds are personalized medications made to order by a prescription from a doctor, she explained. In fact, it is exactly her ability to compound that has kept her busy the last few weeks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I feel fortunate that I am a compounding pharmacy which gives me more flexibility to supply needed items to patients when other supply chains are failing — like our ability to compound hand sanitizer,” she said. “I am hoping that the local government can provide support in the coming days for essential businesses like ours so that we can get needed supplies to stay open like the N-95 masks, which are needed for compounding medications or for interacting with sick individuals.”
Because of Segal’s focus on community, Remedy also places heavy emphasis on sustainability, she said, adding that it is the only pharmacy in San Diego to offer biodegradable prescription vials. Community classes are offered once per month, she said, and include topics such as herbal tincture making, medicinal mushroom education and natural hormone balance.
In the near future, Segal said she has plans to expand the Remedy brand items, which will include more herbal products and supplements, as well as develop an online store. And, although she gets asked constantly if she will open more stores around San Diego, and beyond, there are no official plans for that at this time, she said.