Getting your prescription filled in Marfa, Texas, was never easy. For years there’s been no pharmacy in town. Then there was an on-again / off-again delivery service from Alpine. Now, there’s something more permanent.
For decades, Marfa residents had to make the half-hour trek to Alpine for their medications. Even further for those living in the city of Presidio. The Class H pharmacy and delivery service Marfa Meds filled the gap for a while, allowing limited pickups at the Porters grocery store in Marfa. Bob Fast, who owns Prescription Shop in Alpine and Marfa, is naturally proud of adding a new convenience.
The pharmacy is renting its space from Don Culbertson, attached to the Marfa Country Clinic, but the relationship is not operational. At the moment, the pharmacy is not fully operative because Fast is still waiting on state approval for the Class A pharmacy license, which designates a brick-and-mortar facility that can fill prescriptions on location. At the moment, the pharmacy is only selling non-prescription items.
But there’s a twist. Fast says his new pharmacy will not accept insurance, because the reimbursements he receives don’t make it economically worthwhile. But everything is a trade-off.
With the opening of a new pharmacy in Marfa, the future of the delivery service Marfa Meds is unclear. This service works with three supervising pharmacies in Alpine; City Drug, Prescription Shop, and Highland Drug, all Class A pharmacies that fill prescriptions on sight. The law stipulates that there cannot be a Class H pharmacy in the same county where there is a Class A, but the closure of Marfa Meds is contingent upon the Texas Pharmacy Board’s verdict.
Allen Haley, who supervises Marfa Meds for the Big Bend Hospital District, explains explains that once Prescription Shop Marfa receives its Class A License, the Texas Pharmacy Board will decide on the future of Marfa Meds. The service has the opportunity to transition out, and the closure could take weeks or possibly months. For the moment, Marfa Meds will continue to operate until otherwise notified, and the Pharmacy board may give the service a further exemption to continue operating despite the law.
If Marfa Meds is forced to stop, the Big Bend Hospital Region may consider opening a telepharmacy service or Class A Brick and Mortar, but currently have no intentions to terminate the Marfa Meds program.
Fast expects his full license to arrive in a couple of months. For a while, at least, clients will be able to weigh which service works best for them.