As a mother of a teenager and three younger kids, including 5-year-old twin daughters, Laoag City resident January Suguitan has her work cut out for her. She and her husband Charlie have to juggle feeding, clothing and teaching their children with making sure that they have enough asthma medicines on hand.
The entire family is asthmatic although eldest son Natan now has only mild asthma. She gets her family’s meds from three Watsons branches in Ilocos Norte as well as at a neighborhood pharmacy.
Several factors determine where she has her prescriptions filled including “the availability of medicines and other over-the-counter essentials, the location of the store, whether they have a loyalty program, helpful updates like notifications on sale events, presence of competent customer service and overall cleanliness of the store.”
“We recently had to stock up on asthma meds and needed to know whether the medicines would be available even with the possibility of extended quarantine,” Suguitan told Lifestyle in an email interview. “They assured us they would have enough medicines based on the information available to them at the time.”
She also asked the Watsons pharmacist about alternatives to the mucolytic and inhaler they were using. “I asked about cough syrup options because my son didn’t like certain flavored meds, and they were able to help,” she added.
In 2019, Watsons partnered with Philippine Pharmacists Association and Philippine College of Chest Physicians to conduct its Asthma Educators Program, a certificate course on delivering patient education to asthmatic patients, for its pharmacists.
Watsons has since conducted internal training with Continuing Professional Development units for its pharmacists to help them serve their customers’ health needs better through practical, value-adding advice and services.
Suguitan, for one, appreciates the company’s efforts. It’s one of her nonnegotiables when heading to the store.
“We are committed to improve the lives and health of Filipinos,” said Watsons Philippines general manager Danilo Chiong. “As part of this commitment, we want to ensure that our pharmacists, as our customers’ health-care partners, are well equipped with the right knowledge, skills and attitude to help improve the lives of our customers suffering from common health conditions such as asthma, cough, colds and allergies.”
He added, “Ultimately, we want our customers to live wheeze-free lives, to take better control of their conditions and feel great.”
As health-care professionals, Watsons’ pharmacists can help customers manage their asthma by teaching them proper inhaler technique that will optimize the effects of their medications. This includes how to use Meter Dose Inhaler and Dry Powder Inhalation.
Asthma is a condition where a person’s airways narrow, swell, and produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and cause coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. For many asthma sufferers, attacks can be unbearable and even potentially fatal. Maintenance medication for asthma usually includes inhalers, which require a certain technique.
Watsons pharmacists are also trained to recommend over-the-counter medicines for customers looking to relieve common respiratory conditions such as cough, colds and allergies. They can also educate customers on the right dosage depending on age, how to take and when to take these medicines. INQ
Visit www.watsons.com.ph; follow @watsonsph on Facebook and Instagram.