Bacas mark 15 years in pharmacy

By Tony Parra

The Bacas are hoping for continued success in their business, Village Pharmacy in Portales as it enters it’s 15th year of operation.

Victor Baca, pharmacist and co-owner of Village Pharmacy opened the business in 1991. A family-run business, his wife Linda Baca is in charge of the bookkeeping and the Baca’s son, Adam Baca, is one of the two certified pharmacy technicians at Village Pharmacy. Gloria Tapia is the other pharmacy technician.

“It’s grown tremendously since we opened,” Victor said. “We’re always extremely busy.”

Victor made the move from the Village Plaza, located a block south of the new pharmacy at 1719 S. Ave. D, purchasing the property and expanding his business in 2001.

When the store was located in the Village Plaza, Victor started out managing the store during the day and Linda helped after her shift as a teacher for the Portales Public Schools concluded.

“It’s been challenging,” Linda said, of helping her husband run the business. “It feels good to be a part of it.”

One of the advantages of the new location was the start of another business within the store, Portales Professional Compounding, which is a lab where pharmacy employees make specialized formulations for patients who can’t get find certain specific medications.

“We take care of a lot of hospice patients,” Victor said. “We have the ability to make many different formulations, including creams, jellies, gels and suppositories.”
Victor said they can also reflavor medications for children so that the taste isn’t so bad.

The Bacas have a new member on the team in the form of a robotic device which is used to dispense prescription drugs. The device has 200 prescription drugs listed, it will scan the cell to make sure it’s the right drug, pick up a vial, carry it over to the cell, rescan the cell and fill the vial with the appropriate amount of pills. The device will also label the prescription drug and provide it for a staff member to verify correctness.

“It cuts down on errors,” Victor said. “It frees up half the time of one employee and frees me up to interact with patients more.”

Village Pharmacy is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Victor graduated from the College of Pharmacy at the University of New Mexico in 1982. Victor worked as a pharmacist at Thrifty, a store which was located in the plaza where Russell’s Shop and Save is located. When Thrifty closed in 1990, Victor decided to open Village Pharmacy, named after the Village Plaza.

“The main reason was because of the elderly patients,” Victor said. “They encouraged me to open my own place and wanted to continue to be my patients. We started out on a shoe-string budget. We’ve progressively grown.”
In the beginning it was Victor and Linda who operated it and the pharmacy has grown to staff eight employees. Victor said most of them speak Spanish to be able to help the Spanish-speaking customers.

Victor said in many cases pharmacy staff members go out of their way to help patients. Linda currently is helping patients confused about the new Medicare Part D program. She uses the Medicare Web site and helps educate the patients.

“They’re confused about the many programs,” Linda said. “They’re having to understand and make choices on premiums, co-pays and formulary issues.”

Victor, who is certified to do cholesterol testing, diabetic testing and vaccinations, said he does between 500 to 600 vaccinations a year. Victor is also a member of the UNM College of Pharmacy faculty. He helps train UNM pharmacy students through pharmacy doctorate programs. The UNM students work on clerical rotations for their doctorate of pharmacy degrees. He has been on the UNM staff for seven years.