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Saturday, September 30, 2023


Campus pharmacy provides affordable options for students

UH has a pharmacy on campus students can use. | Donna Keeya/The Cougar

The University of Houston provides a variety of on-campus health services like clinics, dental, immunizations and since 1974, a pharmacy. 

After 45 years of operation the pharmacy’s aim remains the same: to provide affordable services to students, faculty, staff and the outside public, pharmacist Veronica Simmons said.

“We offer competitive pricing,” Simmons said. “But, many find that it is sometimes lower than it may be with their insurance or the cash price at other pharmacies.”

Costs can be a concern for many students, so the pharmacy researches average pricing within the area in order to keep their’s within the same range. They also offer pay-later billing options for students who receive pharmaceutical services on campus. 

“We offer the option to bill your health care services on your student account,” Simmons said. “So if you don’t have that $10 right now, it can be paid later by billing it to your student account.”

Multiple insurance companies are available to use at the on-campus pharmacy, including United Healthcare, which is supported by the University of Houston.

“Because we accept various third party insurances, part of the requirement is that we don’t close our services to anyone,” Simmons said.

Although some other forms of insurance are supported, there are added incentives to using a student health insurance plan.

“When someone does have the student health insurance plan there are benefits that are on campus, such as lower co-pays and you may not require prior authorization on a medication that may be needed at an outside pharmacy,” Simmons said.

When a student goes for a visit at one of the campus clinics, their prescriptions can electronically be sent to the campus pharmacy, allowing for continuity of care — a term that describes getting multiple health care services in the same building.

A lot of times prescriptions are ready as soon as the patient walks through the front door from the student health center upstairs,” Simmons said. “They go to the clinic, and with e-prescribing, by the time they make it downstairs their prescription is ready.”

Through the University of Houston System, health care providers are able to engage with each other efficiently, and attempt to make visits run as smoothly as possible.

“We have a relationship with the providers here on campus,” Simmons said. “They can pick up the phone and call us to collaboratively care for patients.”

Some students said they appreciate being in close proximity and having access to the campus pharmacy.

“If it was here it would be more convenient, that would be cool,” said art freshman Carly Bancroft.

Health care options are limited and are not universal throughout all colleges.

“I feel like it’s pretty cool that we have the availability of medicine to help us get better,” said theater education freshman Sarah Specksgoor.

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