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Some drugs a challenge to get as the pandemic impacts independent pharmacies

Supply and staffing challenges have impacted businesses across the country, but how are local pharmacies impacted?

SUMTER, S.C. — Alderman's Drug Company has a long history in Sumter's community.

Photos of busier days show memories of how things used to be at the independent pharmacy.

Today, the aisles are emptier.

Pharmacist Nikki Cross has watched the change for nearly 20 years.

In the earlier days of me being here, it was a lot busier," Cross said. "Everybody knows everybody.... It's just very personable."

Medical plans that favor big box chains are just one of the challenges she said they've faced.

"They say, 'Oh, I hate to have to switch, but if I go to CVS, I can get it for free,'" Cross said. "You can’t beat free.”

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Then the pandemic came. Some customers have died due to the virus.

The toll is not just an emotional one.

Cross said it could take up to three new people to replace the financial void of one who has died.

Meanwhile, some medications are more difficult to get amid the pandemic despite some improvements since the start of the year.

"Some particular companies are still short on supply," Cross said. "It varies. Some seizure-type medicines that I haven’t been able to get.”

Christmas Pharmacy opened in January of this year.

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Pharmacist Steve Christmas said supply hasn't been a major challenge for them.

"It was a little difficult to get people to make a change from other pharmacies or even venture out in the traffic, even street traffic wasn’t as high as normal, but we’ve overcome that," Christmas said.

Both are hopeful their love for customers and more personal approach will help them thrive amid pandemic changes.