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Natural Awakenings Spokane WA/Coeur d'Alene ID

Sixth Avenue Medical Pharmacy | A Prescription for Whole Wellness

Aug 30, 2018 09:57AM
by Sheila Julson

Pharmacist Erik Nelson sees a future in personalized medicine. As owner of the independent Sixth Avenue Medical Pharmacy, he’s shifting the pharmacy’s focus to a whole wellness model through services such as compounding, specialized packaging, functional medicine and more.

Nelson bought Sixth Avenue Medical Pharmacy in 2013 after he graduated from Washington State University College of Pharmacy. Nelson’s ownership of the pharmacy actually began as an academic project; during his first year of school, he signed up for National Community Pharmacy Association’s annual business plan competition, which entailed finding a pharmacy in the entrant’s community and creating a business plan. Nelson’s team partnered with Jerry Stocker, who founded Sixth Avenue Medical Pharmacy with his wife, Marilyn, in 1964.

When Nelson and his peers ended up wining the competition, he asked Stocker what his plan was after retirement. “He planned to just sell it to a chain pharmacy, so I talked to my wife and agreed we could probably make a go of it. We talked with Jerry, and from that point on I worked as an intern. We basically got the whole deal crafted and done while I was in pharmacy school,” Nelson says.

Sixth Avenue Medical Pharmacy offers traditional pharmacy prescription services, and with Nelson at the helm, he’s gone all in on custom compounding services. “It is personalized medicine,” says Nelson, who has invested heavily in state-of-the-art equipment for their compounding services. “A dose that works for you might not work for your neighbor or your sister. I think that the future of medicine is having it personalized just for you, and you get better outcomes. People often have trouble with commercial dosage forms due to fillers, dyes and other stuff that can make some people sick, so we can take all that out and make it hypoallergenic, make it taste better, or even change the dosage form.” Compounding can also change the delivery methods of pharmaceuticals to capsules, transdermal creams, lozenges, gummies or liquid form, whichever the patient finds easiest. Sixth Avenue Medical Pharmacy also offers compounding services for pet medicine.

Sixth Avenue Medical Pharmacy also provides specialty packaging to assist people that take a lot of medications. “We put dosages together into blister cards that group all the pills according to how and when they should be taken,” affirms Nelson. In addition, the pharmacy has earned accreditation through the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB), which guarantees they are following the highest quality control standards and sending product out for third-party testing to independently verify that everything they make is correct and to proper specifications.

For customers seeking nutritional supplements, Sixth Avenue Medical Pharmacy carries professional grade lines including Thorne Research, Ortho Molecular Products, Pure Encapsulations and Klaire Labs. To gain more knowledge in the area of natural medicine and anti-aging, Nelson completed a fellowship through the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. “We’re trying to incorporate all of that functional medicine knowledge into our pharmacy. If you can take a supplement and avoid a high blood pressure medication or a cholesterol medication, that can be better choice than a prescription drug in some cases,” he says.

The pharmacy also features an on staff registered dietician to help guide customers on healthier eating habits and choosing the right supplements to meet their needs.

Being an independent pharmacy, Nelson confirms that not only are their products personalized, but so is their customer service. “We know customers by their first names when they come in the door,” he says. “I can’t tell you how many times I had a customer come in and tell me how they couldn’t even get through to their pharmacist at a big-box store if they had a question. So many corporate pharmacies are driven only by numbers, and that’s just wrong.”

Sixth Avenue Medical Pharmacy gives back to the community by sponsoring health and fitness events, including a mini-triathlon for kids, pet shows to support their pet compounding services, and various other community events.

Sixth Avenue Medical Pharmacy is located at 508 W. 6th Ave Ste 104., Spokane. For more information, call 509-455-9345 or visit

Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.

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