Brabu Pharmacy: We can never close

Posted on Jul 02 2020

From left, Rafferty Dris, Robby Taman, Ted Parker, Lila Calvo, Erica Leon Guerrero, Theresa Zheng, and Ruella Ichuio. (BEA CABRERA)

In the face of a raging COVID-19 pandemic, Brabu Pharmacy has remained true to its commitment to have the medicine the community needs, while staying vigilant about safety and health protocols. Now on its 11th year of service, your Brabu Pharmacy team is united more than ever to prioritize patients and their needs.

“We can never close and I really give my staff a lot of credit. They knew what they were signing up for and the people who have been here depending on the business for a long time. During one of our pep talks, we all agreed that we are going to take care of all of our patients in preparation when the virus reaches the Marianas,” said pharmacy owner Ted Parker

He said that temporarily closing the pharmacy was never an option “as this is what we have to do,” while taking as many precautionary measures as they can.

Brabu sales representative Robby John A. Taman said that Ted and Kathy Parker were closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. mainland and the possible effects it will have in the CNMI. “They already knew that it would reach Saipan at some point and we had safety measures in our stores planned out so we were expecting it and were just waiting for the day when it will come. We had initial measures in place before Gov. [Ralph DLG] Torres released the directives,” he said.

Brabu Pharmacy continues to disinfect touch points such as cashier area, pens, and door knobs. (BEA CABRERA)

“The first month was really hectic. There was an overflow of workload as our patients tripled and there was a fear in the community that all pharmacies on island will run out of medicine and insurance companies will run out of coverage. At Brabu, we are glad we never experienced those and the companies that we worked with never left their clients hanging. …We made sure that we have a good supply for patients every month,” he added.

In terms of service, Brabu Pharmacy has broadened their efficiency. They deliver medicine to homes and businesses, created a drive-thru option or “Express Tent” for people who don’t want to go inside the store, especially the elderly, and their other branches at MH2 Puerto Rico and Kagman are now open.

“We always extend our service, whether it is prescription or non-prescription medicine. …The tent outside helps us limit the number of people inside the store as we continuously monitor the touch points such as pens, counters and door knobs. We want to make sure that they are sanitized, keeping them clean and safe so we can continue to provide Brabu service to all customers,” Taman said.

He said they created the “Express Tent” outside the pharmacy so customers can call Brabu in advance about the medicine or items they need and a pharmacy staff will assist the customer outside and the whole transaction only takes three to five minutes. “This allows us to bring the items straight to your car, instead of you having to come in to the store,” Taman added.

Pharmacy technician Lila Mailman said that going to work everyday may entail a little more risk but Brabu Pharmacy is making it safe for employees and patients. “It was overwhelming in the beginning but it was like after Super Typhoon Yutu. We kept our head down and continued working. … We take it day by day. We do our best and we try not to get flustered.”

“We don’t want anyone to go without medicine and we are available to give good health care advice always. One of the reasons why we made Brabu safe is that many people right now just stay at home but if they know that the environment here is safe, they will keep coming,” she added.

Customer service is a huge deal at Brabu Pharmacy, according to cashier Shianne Agulto. “I have made a few friends just tending to patients. There are some people who are open to making friends, [while] some people just come to get what they what they need. Either way, we try to engage so they will always feel comfortable whenever they are here,” she said.

Parker stressed that the community can never let its guard down during this pandemic, no matter how many COVID-19 cases are here. “I see a lot of people becoming cavalier, starting to not do the social distancing and other safety protocols. Look at the U.S. mainland. [It is not] only the elderly [that] are affected but even the young ones now. We have to stay vigilant and never let our guard down until we get through this,” he said.

“In the event a vaccine becomes available, I imagine the hospital will be quick to get the vaccination because it is their job. But as soon that will be available to outside places, Brabu Pharmacy will be happy to get it,” he added.

Brabu Pharmacy Gualo Rai is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm, with telephone number (670) 233-2668. Brabu Pharmacy at MH II Branch is open Monday to Friday, from 8am to 12pm, (670) 322-4898, and Brabu Pharmacy Kagman Branch (next to Ling Lin Market) is open Monday to Friday, from 8am to 5pm, (670) 256-2668.

Bea Cabrera
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor's degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.
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