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Pharmacies Prepare for Back-to-School Season

By: Amanda Winslow, PharmD, BCPS

As summer comes to an end, the time comes to prepare students to head back to school. Back-to-school season always entails trips to multiple stores for a laundry list of items, such as pencils, folders, tissues, clothes, shoes and more. For many parents, the pharmacy is also a necessary stop for over the counter or prescription medications. See below for several ways pharmacies can help their patients prepare for this year’s back-to-school season.

Prescription Medications

Students have many different medications they may need to fill prior to the school year starting, including an EpiPen for severe allergies, inhalers for asthma or ADHD medications. These medications need to be labeled appropriately so that the family as well as the school nurse are able to administer them appropriately. Also, for any medication that is given twice daily, consider providing an extra labeled vial so the medication can be divided for both home and school use.


Certain vaccinations are required prior to attending school. Reminding patients of these vaccines while they are there to pick up medications can help to keep students up to date on their immunizations. Depending on your state or local laws, you may even be able to provide these vaccinations without a prescription. Common school-age immunizations are MMR, TDaP, HPV and Meningococcal vaccines. Be prepared with an ample supply of these vaccines and make sure to mention them to parents as they come through the pharmacy.

Over the Counter Medications

Many parents will stock up on over-the-counter medications before sending their children back to school. Be sure to set up a designated area for adolescent medications and include cough, cold and allergy medications along with stomach medications and potentially even head lice medication. Lice outbreaks are possible as children are transitioning from summer camps back to school, so making these products noticeable may increase parents’ awareness of the risk of lice.

School Supplies/Other Items

Tissues are a common item on school-age children’s back-to-school lists. Make these available, along with other similar items, such as soap and hand sanitizer. Also make sure to sell in multiple sizes, so purchasing for both the home and classroom are simple. Lastly, keeping some common school supplies can make the pharmacy a one-stop shop to make the patients’ lives easier. Near the displays mentioned above, also keep pencils, pens, folders and notebooks for a quick grab and go purchase.

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