Rural Wyoming pharmacist drives 80 miles to deliver meds to patients

Bridger Valley, Wyo., a rural community of about 6,000 residents, lost its only pharmacy in February after Shopko filed for bankruptcy. Now, one pharmacist is making sure residents keep getting their medications, according to a Wyoming Public Media report.

Since late February, Bryce Habel, PharmD, has driven an 80-mile round trip trek almost every weekday to deliver prescription medications to patients. Dr. Habel, along with two of his co-workers, deliver heart medication, insulin and asthma inhalers to towns in Bridger Valley.

"We couldn't let them go without their insulin," Mr. Habel told Wyoming Public Media. "We couldn't let them go without medication that's keeping them alive."

Dr. Habel said his motivation for driving the 80-mile trek was that he didn't like the idea of his customers, especially the elderly ones, driving on potentially snowy, rural highways.

Dr. Habel operated this prescription service out-of-pocket as he searched for a new job. He was offered a job hundreds of miles away, but he turned it down and decided instead to move forward with a plan to open and run his own Bridger Valley pharmacy.

Now, South Lincoln Medical Center in Kemmere, Wyo., is helping Dr. Habel launch the pharmacy. The medical center has offered to open a pharmacy in the community and hire Dr. Habel as its manager. While the pharmacy is built, the medical center will pay him and his co-workers to continue the delivery service.

The new pharmacy, Uinta Drug Pharmacy, is scheduled to open in May.

"As a pharmacist I just care about people. That's who I am," Dr. Habel said.

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