Our HistoryThe roots of Friendship Medical Clinic & Pharmacy extend back to 1965. During some of the worst times in the fight for civil rights, a group of sophomores at Myrtle Beach High School formed an organization to work in African-American communities. Through the foresight of a creative teacher wanting to help students see beyond the color of a person's skin, their project of helping people receive medical care has continued long after their graduation in 1968. Friendship Medical Clinic & Pharmacy is 50 years old in 2015!
A Timeline of Highlights1976 - Community Volunteer Services (CVS)
- Patients are seen in private offices and outdoor mini-clinics.
- Nurses, doctors and other volunteers interview, screen, make referrals and treat patients.
- Prescription services and clinic card referral system are developed.
- Budget increases from $5,000 (1969) to $7,500.
- Community Volunteer Services (CVS) pays $500-$700 monthly for medications for those patients not able to buy their own.
- Jerry Llewellyn, CVS director, is offered a 1930s barn, built from rough, unfinished lumber.
- Money to move the barn comes from funds provided by United Way and an annual summer flea market fundraiser.
- Myrtle Beach Farms generously provides a lease on an undeveloped lot on Canal Street.
- Rainbow's End, a thrift shop, is created so that the communities have an affordable retail place to shop. The shop's revenue provides for operating funds for clinic.
1980 - Friendship House
- With a physical location, CVS turns into "Friendship House," and acquires a van, used primarily to transport elderly persons to other agencies assisting the community.
- Operating budget increases to $60,000, and nearly 1,000 prescriptions are dispensed.
1997 - A Pharmacy is born
- Sources for sample medications that doctors receive and dispense at the clinic are drying up and the clinic finds itself unable to purchase enough medications.
- Patty Gresko, a licensed pharmacist, is asked to assist in setting up a state-licensed pharmacy and a Patient Assistance Program (PAP) that permits clinics to obtain medications for low-income patients.
- At this point, the pharmacy is operating out of a closet, and patients have to wait outside until their name is called to see the doctor.
- Eighteen years later, Gresko is still the pharmacist-in-charge, operating the pharmacy under her state license. Her comment when asked why she donates so much time, "I get way more out of it than I give."
2001 - Friendship Medical Clinic & Pharmacy
- Friendship Medical Clinic & Pharmacy receives a $150,000, three-year grant from The Duke Endowment [link to: http://www.dukeendowment.org/program-areas/health-care] secured through the efforts of Conway Medical Center Foundation [link to: http://www.conwaymedicalcenter.com/CMCFoundation/AbouttheFoundation.aspx].
- Friendship House changes its name to Friendship Medical Clinic & Pharmacy.
Serving Horry County Today
- In 2014, over 8,000 prescriptions were dispensed for a retail value of $1,643,307. None of this would be possible without the 48 volunteer doctors, nurses, pharmacy technicians, pharmacists and clerical staff.
- The clinic has come a long way since 1969 when the operating budget was $5000 and CVS was spending $300 - $400 monthly in medications. Fifty years later in 2015 the operating budget is $240,700.