Making an impact in patients’ lives

Updated on November 29, 2018 (Originally posted on November 27, 2018) The Tablet

President's Message: Chris Waller

It is with great honour and enthusiasm that I take on the role of president of the Board of Directors of the BC Pharmacy Association for the 2018/19 fiscal year. The year 2018 marks an important milestone in my pharmacy career; I have had the privilege of practicing pharmacy and making a daily impact in the lives of my patients for 20 years now. And while the technology, regulations and pharmaceutical options have certainly changed, I believe one thing remains unaffected by an ever-evolving health-care industry - a pharmacist’s ability to make positive, and often immediate, changes in the lives of their patients.

This fact especially rang true earlier this fall, as pharmacists worked diligently to provide alternative therapy solutions for patients in the face of the recall of several drugs containing an impure strain of the ingredient valsartan, an important component in drugs used to treat patients with high blood pressure or heart failure. Pharmacists called upon not only their extensive knowledge, but also their valued scope of practice to mitigate this potential crisis for patients who rely on these drugs as a life-saving measure.

Our expertise was also put into practice over the summer months, as pharmacists responded to the ongoing shortage of EpiPen auto-injectors used by patients and caregivers to administer epinephrine during an anaphylactic shock. In support of community pharmacists, the BC Pharmacy Association worked with the College of Pharmacists of BC to come up with an intermediate solution, working within a pharmacist’s current scope to safely manage supply and meet patients’ needs. 

As a patient’s most direct provider of health care within the community, we are often called upon to abate impending crises, dispensing alternatives and assuaging fears. We enact this role every day in our pharmacies for the betterment of our patients. It’s time for pharmacists to be recognized for this role we so naturally play. 

That’s why the BCPhA continues to put pharmacists at the forefront of B.C.’s current opioid epidemic, and why I spoke at the recent International Overdose Awareness Day event in Kelowna, as Board president. While Kelowna-area pharmacists helped train people on how to use naloxone kits, I highlighted the intimate role that pharmacists play in the healthy outcomes of patients. As we press on for further opportunities and an expanded scope of practice, we as pharmacists must continue to show our health-care colleagues, politicians and most importantly, our patients, that we are an integral and life-saving member of the greater health-care team.

I look forward to the road ahead, as both your Board president and valued pharmacist. 

This article is featured in The Tablet. The Tablet features pharmacy and industry news, profiles on B.C. pharmacists, information on research developments and new products.