“The greatest medicine of all is to teach people how not to need it”. This quote seems contradictory to the basis of pharmacology, yet Garden Drug owner Aneesh Lakhani embraces a mindset of “the less medication the better”.
Lakhani owns Garden Drug and Garden Restaurant, nestled on the northeast corner of Andrews Ave and Prospect Road in Oakland Park since 2011. He is a member of several local charity groups, including Light of the World, a clinic established in 1989 that provides health care to disadvantaged Broward County residents, Kiwanis Club of Oakland Park, Oakland Park Business Group, and he a mentor to students at Northeast High School.
Garden Drug: 60 Years in Business
Marge’s Garden Drug and Restaurant, now simply Garden Drug, has been an Oakland Park landmark for over 60 years. Regular customers are a stronghold here. There is a hometown, charming mom and pop quality to the lunch counter and the familiar customer service customers receive at Garden Drug.
Lakhani, a pharmacist and Nova University grad, prides himself on personalized and caring customer service. He greets customers by their first name and frequently offers advice that harried and overscheduled medical doctors simply cannot.
He is a certified in bioidentical hormone therapy, which is a plant based alternative to synthetic hormones. Additionally, he is certified in diabetic supplies. He also carries anti viral medications for HIV needs and is part of 340B government program, which requires drug companies to offer medications to uninsured or underinsured people at a reduced cost.
Natural Alternatives to Opioids
The opioid epidemic is the devastating over reliance on opioid medications for pain management in the form of oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl, to name a few. South Florida, in particular, is a hotbed of opioid addiction and recovery. Drug treatment centers, both inpatient and outpatient are very prevalent in the tri-county area. 75% of annual drug deaths are attributed to these deadly medications. Lakhani helps struggling opioid addicts by suggesting natural pain management alternatives such as a turmeric and kava.
Differences That Make Garden Drug a Better Choice
Aneesh say that Garden Drug differentiates itself from big chain pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS by emphasizing customer service (next day ordering, free delivery, orthopedic supplies for sale and for rent are a staple here), community and school involvement. Surprisingly, his prices are frequently lower than the big pharmacy chains because Lakhani participates in massive buying groups, which often offer lower prices.
The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 shifted Lakhani’s business initially from prescription filling to PPE supplies, nutritional and immune support and glove/mask/hand sanitizers. Garden restaurant closed briefly but their loyal customer base, although smaller, eagerly returned.
Pharmacies like Garden Drug are a refreshing, nostalgic alternative to large scale national chains. They are a reminder of the importance of American small business and how they are integral to the unique small town character of cities like Oakland Park.