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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As unemployment rises amid the COVID-19 pandemic, so does the number of people who no longer have health insurance.

There are now thousands in the Mid-South in a tough spot trying to get the medications they need to stay healthy, but a pharmacy in Hickory Hill is offering help.

Philip Baker started Good Shepherd, a non-profit pharmacy in Memphis in the Hickory Ridge Mall. It’s built around a membership model, serving hundreds of people who are uninsured and under-insured, providing prescriptions for free or at cost.

‘We have everything except for controlled substances,” Baker said.

The coronavirus continues to weigh heavily on the US economy. The Tennessee Department of Labor reports since that mid-March, 440,000 people have filed for unemployment.

Just last week, more 43,000 and 8,200 of those are in the Memphis area.

Thousands are facing new financial challenges due to job losses, lack of insurance or new expenses resulting from the pandemic, making it harder to afford the medications they desperately need.

Baker says more people are reaching out to his pharmacy.

“It’s folks of all different income levels. High income and lower level income as well,” he said. They need anything from insulin to blood pressure medication.

Baker said his pharmacy just got $10,000 from the COVID relief fund to help the growing need. He called it a “huge blessing.”

“We were able to purchase meds really quickly that were needed for the community,” Baker said. “We are using that money to offset the cost of taking on a new members who lost their jobs and can’t afford medications.”

If you need help, Baker said you can go to their website, There are no qualifications; you just fill out the medication review form and they’ll see how they can help you.

“This is our opportunity to rise to the occasion and we always do,” Baker said. “We will get through this.”


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