Our sincere congratulations to Santa Monica Homeopathic Pharmacy, celebrating their 75th year of helping people find natural ways to support good health and overcome their health issues. We are showcasing this unique community pharmacy because it is a model of what healing centers should aspire to be throughout the world. In this country, it is the only one of its kind.
As a fully integrated pharmacy offering many options for natural healing, Santa Monica Homeopathic Pharmacy has customers that have been coming here for decades – for themselves, their children and now their grandchildren. Customers from all over the world come in to visit the store and hundreds of medical doctors and hospitals refer their patients.
Bob Litvak, current co-owner and the founder’s son, describes the pharmacy as being more like a clinic. “We get a lot of the tough cases that nobody knows what to do with. The doctors don’t know. Modern medicine has exhausted everything and nobody knows how to help, so usually, somebody sends them here.” (As quoted in the Santa Monica Daily Press.)
How It All Began
Founder and pharmacist Norman Litvak received his degree from the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy in 1932. At that time, homeopathy courses were part of the required curriculum. Little did he know that having knowledge of this other system of medicine would come to play such an important role in his life.
In 1943, Norman and his wife, Mary Litvak, settled in Santa Monica. They opened their own full-service pharmacy, Santa Monica Drug Company, on October 8, 1944.
Many of the customers were returning World War II veterans. Like other pharmacies at the time, they had a soda fountain and stocked alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals.
The pioneering Litvaks also realized that although
prescription drugs had their place, they did not resolve the root cause of a health issue.
It wasn’t long before Norman saw the impacts those products were having on customers. In 1951, they boldly stopped selling alcoholic beverages. In the 60s, they removed tobacco and narcotic drugs. Norman’s young son, Bob, remembers his Dad saying to his mother. “I don’t care if serving alcohol makes money. I didn’t become a pharmacist to harm my customers.” (As quoted in Voyage LA.) In stark contrast, CVS pharmacy didn’t remove cigarettes from its stores until 2014.
The pioneering Litvaks also realized that although prescription drugs had their place, they did not resolve the root cause of a health issue. Bob recalls “The day he stopped filling prescriptions for narcotic drugs was the day someone told him that one of his customers, a war veteran, had died. The doctors at the VA were giving veterans amphetamines in the morning, to get them out of the VA, and barbiturates at night, so they would sleep and not bother the staff.” (As quoted in Voyage LA.)
The Litvaks continued to focus on stocking more and more natural remedies and expand the homeopathy section they had always offered.
A Pharmacy That Truly Promotes Health
Norman’s grandson, Steve Litvak, who actively manages and looks over all of the many departments, along with his wife Kimberly, describes how this new business model began to thrive. This excerpt is from the article he wrote for Thinking L.A., a partnership of UCLA and Zócalo Public Square:
When customers came in with allergies or aches and pains, Norman started giving them a homeopathic remedy instead of a drug. After those customers ran out of remedies, they came back for more. Complaints about side effects went down. Customers had fewer symptoms or were symptom-free. As word spread, many local doctors and individuals came to inquire about alternative ways of treating their ailments.
Norman and Mary’s passion for homeopathy was contagious. My grandfather formed relationships with doctors in the community, and even took some M.D.s under his wing, teaching them the homeopathic trade. A form of treatment that used to be considered snake oil or a placebo remedy proved to be an effective, non-invasive approach to a wide range of health issues.
Norman was awarded an honorary degree by the acclaimed British Institute of Homeopathy in 1992. Steve Litvak and his wife, Kimberly have also become certified homeopaths with diplomas from the British Institute of Homeopathy.
The mission of the pharmacy has been based on 4 guiding principles: knowledge, care, integrity and service. These cornerstones took hold in ways that continue today:
- Free consultations to in-store customers from a staff of certified and experienced professionals in Pharmaceuticals, Homeopathy, Nutrition, Western Herbs, Chinese Herbs, Acupuncture and Chiropractic Philosophies. A Naturopathic Doctor joined the staff in 2015.
- A licensed pharmacist on staff to ensure that customers who are on prescription drugs can take any herbal supplements that might be recommended.
- Natural offerings that include professional brands of Western and Chinese herbs, vitamins, minerals, glandulars and amino acids, books on natural health, aromatherapy, and pure skin care products.
- A homeopathy section that includes remedies from around the world.
- Continuing education of the staff and community through store seminars.
- Referral service to holistic physicians and practitioners.
While mainstream pharmacies have become drug dispenseries that promote drugs on their intercom systems, stock products that are known to be the cause of poor health and make sure these are available 24-hours a day with even drive-through convenience, Santa Monica Homeopathic Pharmacy proudly stands out with its customer-centric approach and adherence to putting people before profits and integrity before income. As their website states: “We have over 200 years of collective knowledge in modern and alternative medicine. We help our clients restore their health.”
How This Integrative Pharmacy Can Help You
Although in-store one-on-one consultations are recommended, the pharmacy does have a System Survey for email consultations called Network Consulting. It is a system where many different practitioners review a clients health problems and come to a conclusion on how to help them get well. We have been offering this system at no charge for over 30 years.
Congratulations to Santa Monica Homeopathy Pharmacy on your 75 years of health leadership.
May the world take notice!