Alaska is considered by most to be a remote location, in fact it's one of the least populated states in the country. But that doesn't stop Whale Tail Pharmacy from being able to touch the lives of others across the world.
Whale Tail Pharmacy is in Craig, Alaska on an island of about 4,000 people. Julie McDonald, owner and pharmacist-in-charge explained that being on such a small island means everyone takes care of each other, and the pharmacy is no exception. Says Julie “it was founded on the mission principals of treating others and loving others.” Julie moved to Alaska from South Florida after meeting the previous owners of Whale Tail Pharmacy, who were missionaries all over the world. Julie worked closely with them until they retired, at which time she took over as owner.
On such a small island, there is no long term care and only two pharmacies – one of which is a tribal entity for Alaska-native beneficiaries. This means that Whale Tail Pharmacy is the frontline for most of the community’s medical issues. This includes offering Part D counseling and Mediset medication organization – which the pharmacy does 100% free. In fact, one of the pharmacy technicians at Whale Tail sees almost 200 people a year for Part D counseling alone, helping to walk people through the different plans and understand their options.
One of the most unique ways the pharmacy treats its patients is with Fisherman First Aid Kits. Historically, if the island’s fisherman got hurt during a trip out on the water, they’d often wait too long to get ailments treated in order to avoid losing valuable fishing time traveling back to the mainland. So the pharmacy teamed up with a local doctor to dispense antibiotics for the fisherman to have on their boats, as well as other treatment items such as splints. And as expected, the kits saw tremendous success in treating common ailments out on the water.
Not only does Whale Tail Pharmacy care for the entire community, but they are also the sponsor for an orphanage in Gulu, Uganda which cares for 25 orphans. Says Julie, “the strong mission focus of the pharmacy is exactly what brought me from South Florida to Alaska.”
Even on a remote island of only 4,000 people where their presence is front-and-center, Whale Tail Pharmacy made a point to have a presence online as well. When asked why the pharmacy decided to go digital with RxWiki, Julie explained, “that’s the way of the future. It’s really just a useful tool especially when the pharmacy is closed. People are still able to refill their prescriptions and leave us messages.”
Whale Tail Pharmacy’s unique way of helping others has made it possible to expand the breadth of their care on land, at sea, online – and even across the world to Uganda.