As the most accessible healthcare providers, community pharmacists play an important role in the healthcare system and the lives of their patients. This American Pharmacists Month, we’re celebrating their contributions by highlighting a few pharmacists making a difference in their communities.
Read the other Q&As in this series with:
- Liz Altmiller, Your Drug Store
- Bruce Schreiber, C.O. Bigelow
- Nicolette Mathey, Palm Harbor Pharmacy
- Chris Proffit, Uptown Drug
Name: Chris Halko
Pharmacy: Benton Pharmacy in Fort Benton, Montana
Q. How long have you been a pharmacist (and at your current pharmacy)?
A. I graduated in 1995 and have been at Benton Pharmacy for 24 years. I started the day after my 23rd birthday! This summer, I celebrated my 47th birthday! Time goes by fast. I’ve been the owner of Benton Pharmacy since 2006 and opened my other store in 2010.
Q. Why did you choose this career path?
A. I was interested in either pharmacy or physical therapy. I met a retired pharmacist at a career fair when I was a junior in high school and he spoke very fondly of his profession. I made up my mind on the spot that I was going to be a pharmacist!
“I see the pharmacist becoming a stronger member of the healthcare team.”
Q. What is your favorite part of your job?
A. The customers. Nothing gives me more pleasure than helping people.
Q. What are some industry trends you’re keeping an eye on?
A. Being a rural pharmacist, I have gravitated towards watching managed care. I am very involved in my contracting with PBMs. I’m also watching the DIR transparency fight that is going on right now pretty closely.
Q. What do you think the future holds for the industry?
A. I think we are turning the corner on our relationship with PBMs. The public is becoming more aware of the issues with pharmacy in regard to DIRs, clawbacks, and transparency. I also see the pharmacist becoming a stronger member of the healthcare team. We get to see our patients far more often than any provider or nurse; it only makes sense that the pharmacist is a strong member of this team!