We visit a very special pharmacy in Greenwich Village that has been providing gay-friendly advice and hard-to-find medications to the community for decades.
The crew at this independently-owned pharmacy located on the corner of Bleecker St. and West 10th is of the latter variety. For more than 35 years, Village Apothecary has played a pivotal role in keeping the people of Greenwich Village healthy.
In 1983, Michael Konnon, a pharmacist, businessman and community leader, founded this iconic neighborhood shop with an open heart and an open mind. When the AIDS epidemic struck New York City in the early ‘80s, Village Apothecary quickly became a safe haven for affected patients who came to fill the then-rare prescriptions that had yet to appear on the shelves of major chain stores. Without judgement, they were embraced by a strong collective of healthcare professionals, many of whom still make a point of coming through its doors to this day.
Despite increased availability of HIV-related medications overall, many patients still struggle to secure their necessary prescriptions due to tedious mail order systems, prior authorization requirements and other obstacles. Village Apothecary continues to advocate on their behalf and to supply prescription therapy at reasonable prices. Director of Pharmacy Services John Kaliabakos currently oversees prescription care for hundreds of HIV patients and works closely with the area’s top HIV specialists to ensure the best products and programs find their way to Village Apothecary.
Setting the Standard
“Village Apothecary will be one of a select few pharmacies in the state of New York to partner with the New York State Department of Health and the AIDS Institute in a pilot program to initiate HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) medication therapy to individuals who present with a recent exposure to HIV,” Kaliabakos says. “This program is intended to significantly decrease the amount of new cases of HIV, and we are proud to build awareness for this exciting project.”
Once you understand the rich contributions Village Apothecary has made to its neighborhood, it should come as no surprise that the store recently received a proclamation from the Mayor’s Office in honor of their outstanding service. Village Apothecary also collaborates with wellness and philanthropic institutions such as GMHC, God’s Love We Deliver, and Heritage of Pride (among others).
Pharmacists Norman Saban, Shaili Patel and Bobby Antala work in tandem with technicians Alexis Chavez, Arnel Molina, Jeffrey Sosa and Chasity Morales to ensure all prescriptions are filled with care. “We’ve brought together a great group of people who work seamlessly. It’s a true all-star team!” Kaliabakos raves about his crew.
In addition to providing highly personalized care and hard-to-find prescriptions, Village Apothecary’s skillfully organized storefront also features high-end skin care products and toiletries, many of which are produced by local purveyors. “There aren’t many independent shops like ours left in the city,” smiles owner Vijay Desai. “We have a responsibility to our customers and our neighborhood to offer high quality ethical products. We’re lucky enough to have a loyal audience who keeps coming back, and in return we pledge to provide them with attention and fellowship they won’t find anywhere else.”
Learn more about Village Apothecary in our LGBT Friendly Resources section.
Last modified: September 18, 2018