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Is a Medical Supply Store the Same as a Pharmacy?

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Pharmacies and medical supply stores are both associated with medical care, often providing over the counter and prescription items needs for treatment, recovery, or health maintenance. Although they are similar, there are some definitive differences that distinguish them from each other.

Medical Supply Store – Non-Drug Medical Items

The inventory in a medical supply store is primarily filled with non-drug items and supplies for at-home use.

In many cases, these items require no prescription to purchase, although it is common for health insurance plans to cover them for individuals who require them for healthcare purposes.

For example, a medical supply store may carry crutches, wheelchairs, or walkers for individuals with mobility challenges.

It may also sell medical monitoring equipment, sterile swabs, home-care supplies, bathing aides, and durable medical equipment like diabetic shoes, CPAP machines, and nebulizers.

Medical Supplies in a Pharmacy

Pharmacies have a broader focus, with an emphasis on the sale of prescription and non-prescription medications. Often, you can find many other items at a pharmacy, as well, including certain medical supplies.

Usually the medical supply selection in a pharmacy is more limited than in a medical supply store, although some independent pharmacies may be more likely to carry a wider inventory of medical supplies than bigger chain pharmacies.

That is why many people prefer to shop at local pharmacies where they can purchase many items in one location. In just one quick stop, you might be able to pick up your prescriptions, order some durable medical equipment, and perhaps even pick up a gallon of milk for the house one your way out.