The first Bhutanese pharmacist in the United States.
The first Bhutanese pharmacist in the U.S, Manoj Pradhan, founder of Namaste Pharmacy, recalled a near-death experience he had faced while growing up, which thus inspired and paved the way for his career as a pharmacist. He said “I didn’t realize a small tablet could do that much damage, I wanted to learn more about medications.” and that even made him relocate to central Pennsylvania.
Manoj was well-accomplished academically and professionally. He graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He started his first pharmacy, “Namaste Pharmacy” in 2019 near Atlanta, Ga.
He and his wife, Yeshi Pradhan, launched a pharmacy earlier this month under the same name in Susquehanna Township, over three decades later and thousands of miles from his origins. At 200 S. Progress Ave., an independent pharmacy fills prescriptions, provides vaccinations, and sells a variety of drugstore necessities, from snacks and toys to supplements and first aid supplies. Additionally, it fills a demand for the expanding Bhutanese population in the Harrisburg area. This independent pharmacy provides many of the same services as chain pharmacies.
Then, acquaintances in central Pennsylvania approached the couple and requested that they open a pharmacy, many of whom the couple knew before moving there. The number of Bhutanese living in Harrisburg is among the highest in the country. In the Harrisburg area, the tight-knit community has created a hub by opening stores, restaurants, and carving out businesses in industries including home healthcare, auto sales, tax preparation and accountancy, insurance, and real estate.
According to Yeshi, due to the absence of a pharmacy, many residents of the community had to rely on chain pharmacies. However, those pharmacies frequently are unable to help patients, particularly senior members of the Bhutanese population who have trouble communicating in their own tongue. They find it challenging to get and securely take drugs as a result. She added that her husband could translate and instruct clients on how to take drugs correctly.
Yeshi said, “Especially the elderly clients feel empowered about what they are taking, It’s important to consult in the language they speak.”
They had known one another since they were children and were among the first Bhutanese to seek political asylum in the United States. Thousands of Bhutanese migrants, most of whom fled from refugee camps in Nepal, needed help being relocated, thus Yeshi and Manoj came in 2000 and 2001, respectively. The couple alternated between caring for their grown son while they were both attending school over the years. In 2015, Manoj completed both pharmacy school and Georgia State University. Yeshi, a PhD candidate at Georgia State University with an emphasis on women’s authorship and readership in Victorian literature, is a specialist in this genre.
Their pharmacy is spotless, bright, and resembles chain pharmacies. It opened in the former Pennsylvania Counseling office. There are Band-Aids, painkillers, heating pads, toothpaste, cologne, vitamins, sunglasses, and thermometers on its shelves. Additionally, it sells rice, ghee, and other Nepali staples like lentils.
The couple declared that their company is open to everyone and that they hope to attract a wide range of customers. In addition to cash, they accept all insurance. Manoj said he normally can sell the prescription drugs for less than most chain drug stores since he buys all of them himself.
They intend to eventually provide holistic, primarily herbal Ayurvedic medications. Additionally, Namaste offers a 45-minute delivery range. It is open from 9 am until 7 pm. Monday-Saturday. Call us at 717-839-2800.
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