New pharmacy goes old-school at Greeley’s St. Michaels Center

Long before they became decorative household knickknacks, mortars and pestles were the collective symbol and tools of the apothecary trades.

But the heavy ceramic bowl and grinding stone are making a comeback in Greeley at the Pharmacy at St. Michaels through Steve and Amy Ramsey.

The Johnstown couple in the last month opened their traditional “mom-and-pop” pharmacy in the southwest Greeley commercial center. As an independent pharmacy, they have the luxury of moving away from the one-size-fits-all medicine philosophy.

They mix their medicines to take out allergens and other substances such as preservatives that can cause serious side effects in some patients, building them from scratch in a custom recipe from doctors. They can put them in pill form, ointments, oral or injections to suit the particular needs of patients in special circumstances.

“In the old days, that’s the way medications were put together anyway,” said Steve Ramsey, 52, in between a growing number of calls after meeting with doctors in town about his services. “Today, it’s becoming more and more needed because there seems to be more allergens. There are more peanut allergies, or more gluten allergies, so what you want to do is make sure different allergens are not in these products.”

They do can non-narcotic pain medications as topical creams so they hit affect spots directly and eliminate the requisite “haze” that comes with typical oral narcotics.

“We want people to try alternatives, those type of things are not as addictive,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey has been a pharmacist for going on 30 years; he learned the art of “compounding” at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. Amy Ramsey, 38, has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado. She has a pharmacy technician certification and also trained this past summer on compounding.

Practices changed in the ’90s, whereby pharmacies became more dispensaries, and the art of compounding by a trained pharmacist slowly faded.

Having his own pharmacy allows Ramsey to specialize in medications the larger pharmacies , perhaps, can’t. He is hoping to specialize in treating certain diseases, such as diabetes, with hormone replacement therapy.

Ramsey, an ordained minister, also likes the idea of the local pharmacist talking with customers to help them with their specific medications.

“I just like the idea that I’m actually helping people, and helping them take their medications properly and get the benefit out of it,” Ramsey said. “If they have been having issues with manufactured medications, and we can take it away, it improves their lives.”

In addition to humans, the Ramsey’s also mix medications for animals, such creating a topical cream from medications instead of pill form, which have never been appetizing to dogs or cats — even wrapped in treats.

Prescription medications may be the pharmacy’s niche, but they also sell over the county medications, as well as some medical accessories such as walkers and wheelchairs.

They’ll also dispense good, old-fashioned over-the-counter, one-on-one advice.

“In bigger pharmacies, you’re very busy, so you’re trying to keep up with the work and you’re not able to spend the time you’d like to with each individual customer or patient,” Ramsey said. “We hope in our environment, we’re able to do that. It’s important for people to have face-to-face (time) and get to know their pharmacist.

“We want to get to know people so they’re not just another pill bottle — they’re a person. Any pharmacist would agree.”


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New pharmacy goes old-school at Greeley’s St. Michaels Center
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