Small pharmacies run in the Nekos family. In Kingston, you'll find George Nekos behind the counter of Nekos-Dedrick's Pharmacy; Peter Nekos is over at the Boiceville Pharmacy in Boiceville; and Jared Nekos, the brothers' nephew, has been the face behind Dedrick's Pharmacy and Gifts in New Paltz since he bought it from the Sheeley family in 2018.
The Nekos' foray into the pharmacy business started back in 1952, when Jared's grandfather added a small pharmacy to the back of Nekos Luncheonette, which his father—a confectioner from Greece—opened in Uptown Kingston in 1901. As Jared says, "Is there anything that feels more Americana than a lunch counter, soda fountain, and pharmacy?"
Growing up in Kingston and working in his family's luncheonette was what inspired Jared to go into the small pharmacy business himself. After graduating from pharmacy school in 2013, he went to work for the Sheeleys at Dedrick's on Main Street in New Paltz. The pharmacy also has a legacy that stretches back to Kingston in 1857. Today, Dedrick's has both a pharmacy and gift shop, which carries home goods like candles, tea, and seasonal decor, women's clothing, and kids' and babies' clothing, toys, and books.
"I didn't expect how much I would love being a pharmacist," Jared says. "But when you recognize that a patient needs a little of your time, advice, and counsel, it's very moving."
The meaningful personal connections that Jared and his team of four pharmacists make on a daily basis are part of what makes Dedrick's tick. "Sometimes a patient has just been discharged from the hospital and their medication has changed dramatically," he says. "There can be a lot of confusion and a conversation with a pharmacist can help them learn how to get back on their feet and start the healing process at home."
One of the counseling services the pharmacists at Dedrick's provide is called medication therapy management (MTM), which anyone can walk up to the counter and request.
During the session, a pharmacist walks you through all of your medicines, making sure there's no drug interactions with other medications you're taking, and that you know when and how to take them correctly. (Notably, Jared says that according to a recent study, approximately 50 percent of people don't take their medications as prescribed.)
"There's been a huge expansion in what medications are available to patients," Jared says. "One of our primary focuses in filling a prescription is to give it an absolutely thorough review." This includes confirming with the prescribing doctor that both they and the patient are aware of any risks and interactions, and adjusting the prescription if necessary.
To help their patients streamline their medications, Dedrick's has also recently invested in a medication adherence technology called PakMyMeds. By using PakMyMeds, the pharmacists at Dedrick's can provide patients with a 30-day supply of medications synced to refill on the same day and sorted into individual perforated pouches by dose and time. "As patients age, the simplification process is really important," says Jared. "We have families that drive hours just to help pack a pill box every week, and still there are complications. This solution can really change people's lives for the better and we are very excited to offer it."
Throughout the pandemic, it has been important for Jared that Dedrick's play a role in preventing community transmission, which is why they pivoted to curbside pickup only in late March. "We needed to do all that we could to protect patients' access, the patients themselves, and our workers," he says. "There was a period of adjustment, but we saw incredible patience and kindness from the community."
Dedrick's is now open again to the public and back to providing the level of personal service that Jared believes sets independent pharmacies apart. "If you're picking up an antibiotic twice a year, maybe you wouldn't notice the difference, but your parents or grandparents with complicated medication regimes do. People all over the state and country are losing access to quality care because of the external stresses of the big chains and the predatory practices of Pharmacy Benefit Managers that work on behalf of insurance companies," he says. "When you move into a smaller community, you have to start thinking about where your money is really going and the impact of who you choose to support."