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Bobbie Barbrey, RPh, CCN, a registered pharmacist and a certified clinical nutritionist, is the owner of Medicap Pharmacy in North Raleigh, a full-service retail pharmacy, which also offers compounding and nutritional counseling.

COVID-19: A New Opportunity

By Bobbie Barbrey, RPh, CCCN

The last five months have been really difficult for many. Few saw the enormity of what was coming and even fewer were prepared. But it did come and it was seldom pleasant. While we can’t change what happened, who wants to join me in putting this all behind us and moving forward? Together let’s put things in perspective, and act with prudence and vetted information to move to a better place—of hope not fear, looking forward not back, replacing reaction with action. This will lead us to a future of health and wellness.

For Medicap Pharmacy the “new normal” is a new, expanded space. “By doubling our space,” says Mr. Barbrey, “we have not only increased our retail space, but we have expanded our compounding pharmacy facilities and space for consultations and patient education programs. And all the safeguards for protecting clients and staff are incorporated fully into our new facility.”


That is my goal and mission now. It starts with letting go of fear, which by itself is an enormous immune stressor. Let that sink in for a moment. We have all been subjected to unending sources of information, many inaccurate and most alarming, creating a level of fear that would accelerate our susceptibility to viruses and bacteria.

Ultimately, each of us is responsible for our own health. Not the government, not even your doctor. For my part, I realized that I could follow the basic recommendations from the CDC as a starting point to protect myself, but I could also evaluate what else rang true for me and what steps would make me feel most empowered. Are you allowing fear and other negative emotions in your consciousness to build a chain around your immune system, slowly sinking it? Don’t let it in! What about the statistics that show diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer destroy more lives than a virus ever will? These are things we can do something about! I want you to have a plan to move from a reactive state to a proactive state. This is where your healing starts!

Adjusting to the “New Normal”

Our pharmacy has remained open throughout this crisis. That meant changing our entire way of doing business—no easy task. First, we had to ensure the safety of our staff. They have been incredible at adjusting to our new way of business; my thanks to all of them for showing up every day. It was a choice they made to serve our patients knowing there was a risk of exposure. We documented temperatures every morning before their shift, face masks were required, social distancing was put in place, six-foot markers were placed on the floor, sanitizing every hour, and a shield was installed at the register, among other initiatives. Ninety percent of our business went to curbside pickup, which reduced the exposure for us. Thank you to all of our customers who worked with us to make this successful.

There were a few humorous moments looking for cars in a big parking lot! One day I went to do a curbside delivery to a white truck and there were three white pickup trucks backed in our spaces! I had to chuckle to myself—the “new normal.” The staff stayed patient and calm. The only time I heard frustration was when someone went out to do a curbside delivery and the car and patient were nowhere to be found. We discovered they ran an errand and then came back!

Critical supplies were in short supply so we stepped up our game. We made hand sanitizer in our accredited compounding lab. We still do; many prefer it to commercial products. Masks were hard to get so my wife got out the sewing machine and made them so the staff was protected. Eventually we were able to get a good supply of thermometers, gloves, and masks, but it was a journey

New Approaches But Unchanged Mission

While how we go about our work is different, our goals are unchanged. Most of you know my passion for health and wellness. That remains my focus and role at Medicap: I want you to enjoy a higher level of health to thrive! And this has been reinforced by the pandemic.

When you participate in improving your health your immune system will be stronger. What I see as a common thread as we face the pandemic is how much more damage the virus causes in those with co-morbidities or preexisting chronic diseases. As a pharmacist we dispense medication to manage these diseases on a daily basis. But the drugs we use only manage the symptoms of the disease. The progression of the disease continues to march forward. When you are faced with a potential threat above and beyond what you have been dealing with, it becomes even more important to do what you can to support your health. The good news is there is a lot you can do on your own!

The best advice I can offer for responding to this pandemic is this: Participate in a plan to improve your overall health with the goal of supporting your immune system as the side benefit. That will prepare you better for any virus or bacteria your immune system might encounter. Begin now to do all the basics better: drink more water, move in any way that works for you, prioritize sleep, meditate, and stay in the present moment so you will not miss the joy and laughter of life.

Nutrition Is Key

What did I leave out? Yes, you guessed it—diet and targeted supplementation. You have a choice about what you decide to eat. How scared were you during this crisis? Enough to make sure you fed your body in a way to build a healthy, strong immune system? I hope so! Remember that you are what you choose to eat, how well you chew your food, digest your food, assimilate and absorb the nutrients, then get the nutrients into your cells where the real work happens.

There are basic nutrients that most people can benefit from, but when facing a viral threat such as covid-19 there are specific nutrients that we think are essential. Vitamins A, C, D and zinc are very reasonably priced supplements that I believe everyone should be taking every day. While you can get these nutrients from food, it is very difficult to get them in sufficient quantity to give you the protection you need. There are viral support products that are also great additions to your plan during this time. We are happy to advise you on what might be best for you. If you do not feel comfortable coming in the store at this time, we can advise you over the phone.

Our specialty is helping you determine a plan and optimal supple-mentation with professional supplements that are safe, effective and readily available. We have an extensive selection in our pharmacy and I am deeply committed to quality in our supplements. The issue you have read about in the news about online supplements being adulterated will never happen at Medicap. Quality first, always. We order them directly from the manufacturer or a vetted distributor to ensure that quality. Now we have even more choices because we recently doubled our space when we moved to our new location. It is in the same shopping center, on the other side just past TJ Maxx. A 19-year journey has ended at one space and now we begin our new journey in a brand-new pharmacy. A big thank you to all who have supported us over the years. You have made this possible. Come see your new Health and Wellness Pharmacy. I am truly grateful for your support. We are open for you!