March is Pharmacy Awareness Month!
As one of the cornerstones of the health-care system, pharmacists serve a crucial role in taking care of patients' medication needs. As the general population age increases, so does the intake of the average person's medication. It's important for those who rely on medications to stay healthy to know that they can trust their pharmacists, who are easily accessible, are equipped with the necessary knowledge, and are ready to help at any time.
Every day of during the month of March, the BC Pharmacy Association will be featuring a pharmacy team in British Columbia along with information on why pharmacy matters to the team's community.
Join our journey as we celebrate pharmacy across British Columbia!
March 27: Total Care Pharmacy
Total Care Pharmacy
6604 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5X 3H2
"It’s a community pharmacy. We have lots of mixed communities here. I’m from the South Asian community so we happen to serve people from the South Asian background the most. One unique service that we provide is translation services for a few medical clinics in the area. When a patient goes to the doctor’s office, if he doesn’t have a translator, the doctor will call me, then I directly talk to the patient in Punjabi. The doctor will ask me about the patient’s concern, I will translate that to the doctor in English, and that’s how we communicate.
We’ve done it a few times now. It started when a patient went to a clinic without anyone to translate. The patient happened to know my pharmacy number, so they asked the clinic to call me, and I helped translate. The doctor then called and asked me if I could be a translator when needed. I said OK, yeah.
At our pharmacy, we also perform all the normal pharmacy services. It’s not just the medical knowledge that we provide, patients come here for all kinds of information, they could have questions about their family, any issues they have, we’re happy to help."
- Bhupinder Bains, Pharmacy Manager, Total Care Pharmacy
Meet Bhupinder Manjot and Palwinder of the Total Care Pharmacy Vancouver.
March 26: Pharmasave Rosser Burnaby
Pharmasave Rosser Burnaby
4367 Hastings St, Burnaby, BC V5C 2J7
"Pharmacy matters because the community is always for health professionals for advice and if the physicians are not available for patients in the community, they come to us. The community is like family to us and everybody is part of the family here!"
- Bernice Lam, Pharmacy Manager, Pharmasave Rosser
Meet Kathy, Bernice and Mandy, the pharmacy team at Pharmasave Rosser.
March 25: Medica Pharmacy Ltd.
Medica Pharmacy Ltd.
9839 138 St, Surrey, BC V3T 5E3
"It’s a full service store serving a patient population with a wide variety of backgrounds. For example, we have patients from Arabic, Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu backgrounds and also the Caucasian community. Some of our patients taking medication for opioid patients. We have senior patients. We have some patients are here for over-the-counter medications for health issues. We have chronic patients. We have diabetic patients. Patients with high-blood pressure.
The hospital nearby also means we have patients coming in from there with prescriptions as well. We have two doctors, one is working and one is full-time practice. We get most of our clients from these two doctors and about 30 to 40 per cent of patients from the outside. We’re always busy!"
- Rupinder Kahlon, Pharmacy Manager, Medica Pharmacy
Rupinder is the pharmacy manager at Medica Pharmacy.
March 24: Similkameen Pharmacy
633 7th Ave, Keremeos, BC V0X 1N0
"Pharmacist Ziharr and the staff at Similkameen Pharmacy matter to Keremeos because they model the benefits of regular exercise, including coordinating a regular walking group in the summer months. Selena, RPT, developed the program several years ago. The number of participants, many of them elderly, continues to grow."
- Similkameen Pharmacy
Meet Samantha, Nicole, Selena, Sylvia, Vera, and Ziharr of the Similkameen Pharmacy team!
March 23: Medicine Shoppe #254
Medicine Shoppe #254
Pinetree Village, 2991 Lougheed Hwy #53, Coquitlam, BC V3B 6J6
"It’s all about being personable in the pharmacy and treating the patients as patients, not as numbers. That’s why it shows. We won two years in a row that we’re the best three pharmacies in the Tri Cities, from Port Moody to Port Coquitlam. It’s just the fact we care about our patients. It’s a personal touch. It’s a personal relationship. We care about them."
- Mohanad Abdul-Ahad, Pharmacy Manager, Medicine Shoppe 254
Meet Heidi and Mohanad, the pharmacy team at Medicine Shoppe #254 in Coquitlam.
March 22: Gateway Pharmacy
101-10751 King George Blvd, Surrey, BC V3T 2X6
"The community we serve in is very unique. It’s a Vietnamese community we mainly service here. There’s quite a big population of Vietnamese speaking patients who come here, and can’t necessarily get another pharmacy. We do speak their native tongue and can explain things a bit more clearly to patients.
With our pharmacy having been here for 25+ years, we’re pretty much engrained into the community. I think it’s very important that pharmacy has their own niche in the different communities so you can fully service them. This is not just a generalized pharmacy where you just explain the information and let them go. We take care of the language barrier to make sure that nothing is lost in translation."
- Tom Chang, pharmacy manager/owner, Gateway Pharmacy
Michelle, Jenny and Tom are the team at Gateway Pharmacy in Surrey.
March 21: SafeMed Pharmacy
852 Marine Dr, North Vancouver, BC V7P 1M5
"My mission as a community pharmacist is to deliver my role with honour and compassion, and to promote the health and wellbeing of my patients. Our patients trust our care and attention in helping them achieve better overall wellness every day."
- Parisa Hosseini, pharmacy manager/owner, SafeMed Pharmacy
Meet Parisa Hosseini, pharmacy manager and owner of SafeMed Pharmacy in North Vancouver
March 20: Shoppers Drug Mart - Royal City Centre
Shoppers Drug Mart - Royal City Centre
610 6th St #141, New Westminster, BC V3L 3C2
"I think a lot of our patients appreciate our knowledge. A lot of our patients are seniors who have no idea how to get things like compression stockings, blood pressure pills, blood pressure machines. They have no idea where to get their bloodwork done, or how to get their diabetic test strip covered.
Some of this is not explained by the doctors because they’re so busy that they’ll just give the patient a script and the patient will leave. We are more of an information hub that is helping the whole community."
- Hong Ting, Pharmacy Manager,
From left to right: Alex, Chad, Mark, Hong, Angel and Zahra, the team at the Shoppers Drug Mart in Royal City Centre.
March 20: Imperial Pharmacy
981 Carnarvon St, New Westminster, BC V3M 1G2
"Pharmacy is an essential part of patient care. I would say a critical part. As a first-line of contact with the patient, we are easily accessible. Patients see us far more than they see doctors."
- Rida Bazzi, Pharmacy Manager, Imperial Pharmacy
Meet Rida and Roxana at Imperial Pharmacy in New Westminster.
Day 19: Murrayville Remedy'sRx Pharmacy
Murrayville Remedy'sRx Pharmacy
22112 52 Ave #102, Langley City, BC V2Y 2M6
"I originally decided to work in Langley to give back a little of what Langley has given me over the years. I’ve lived here my entire life and Langley has provided me a good life – everything from amazing teachers and a great education to access to fantastic medical services. We regularly support Langley Memorial Hospital, community services, and surrounding nursing homes and have great relationships with our local physicians. Over time my goal is to continue to build on the fantastic support system that makes Langley so special."
- Colin Fee, Pharmacy Manager, Murrayville Remedy'sRx
Meet Colin Fee, pharmacy manager at Murrayville Remedy'sRx in Langley, B.C.
March 18: Lumby IDA Pharmacy
Lumby IDA Pharmacy
1960 Vernon St, Lumby, BC V0E 2G0
“Our community has gone from three functioning full time physician clinics in the mid 90’s to one presently physician clinic. As a result patients have looked to our professional staff to assist in whatever manner we can. As owner, I continue to work with our Lumby Health Society to facilitate a full time Nursing Practitioner to care for a multitude of patients with no primary caregiver. The pharmacy is the go to place in our rural setting and has been relied on to triage in many instances. It is a privilege and an honor providing care to a community at the capacity we do.
I wish to acknowledge Kyle Brewer that has recently joined our team and has melded into the staff to continue our quality of care.”
- Judy Phillips, Owner
Pharmacists Kyle Brewer and Judy Phillips hard at work to serve their patients at Lumby IDA Pharmacy.
March 17: Kerrisdale Pharmacy
5591 West Blvd, Vancouver, BC V6M 3W6
"We are a community pharmacy that has been around for about 45 years. We serve patients that live in the area and from the surrounding area of Vancouver. The big benefit here is the continuity, I think we pride ourselves in having staff and pharmacists that have been here for years and years. I think the patients are really comfortable with discussing their health with our pharmacists. We also provide a ton of services here just for patients to keep coming back.
Obviously we offer compounding, a wide variety of nutritional supplements, vitamin supplements, home health-care, injections for vaccinations, delivery services six days a week to our patients and more. We’ve tried to actually provide every reason to come here for our patients, and I think we do a pretty good job of it, and it’s just great to be in the neighbourhood."
- Colin Holyk, Owner, Kerrisdale Pharmacy
Meet the team at Kerrisdale Pharmacy: Eugene, Chris, Colin, Tracy and Grace.
March 16: Rexall New Westminster
Rexall New Westminster
700 6th St, New Westminster, BC V3L 3C5
"With an aging population and older patient demographic in our pharmacy located in New Westminster, pharmacy matters to these patients as they have complex medical conditions that require multiple medications.
It is important for the patient to know what medication they are taking, why they are taking it, and how to take it, to ensure optimal health and adherence. In addition, the pharmacy team is easily accessible for them to ask questions regarding their medications, medication management and any health related questions they may have to optimize their care."
- Sarb Sihota, Pharmacy Manager, Rexall Pharmacy 7162
Pharmacy manager Sarb and pharmacy assistant Mya are at your service at the Rexall New Westminster location.
March 15: Crystal Pharmacy and Medical Supplies
Crystal Pharmacy and Medical Supplies
4500 Kingsway Store 1611, Burnaby, BC V5H 2A9
"This area has a lot of new immigrants from abroad. The way they take prescription medications is very different. Here, we have a very advanced, safe system of medications. But in some of the countries they come from, prescription medications are like any commercial product, so you don’t get checks for drug interactions. Here, we explain to them why it’s so important this medication needs to be a prescription.
Since we have a very good health-care system, we can explain under what circumstances they can get help from government. We can explain to them in their own language. We also understand their culture and know what their circumstances are, so we can bridge the gap between how they used to take their medications, versus now, the new concept of how to safely take medications."
- Andre Lo, Pharmacy Manager, Crystal Pharmacy and Medical Supplies
Fred, Andre and Gina are here for their patients at Crystal Pharmacy and Medical Supplies in Burnaby.
March 14: Pharmasave Elgin
2255 Elgin Ave #100, Port Coquitlam, BC V3C 2B4
"We are fortunate to have a close working relationship with the doctors and dentists in our building, together with Tri Cities Mental Health, who we communicate with and deliver medications to on a daily basis. We have been part of this community for many years, and most of our customers are return patients. So by and large, I can call everybody by their first name when they come in through the front door, they call us by our first names, and they call us and visit us regularly for advice and their health-care needs."
- Susan Behm, Pharmacy Manager, Pharmasave Elgin
For Day 14, meet Susan and Sheila, who work at Pharmasave Elgin in Port Coquitlam.
March 13: Safeway Castlegar
1721 Columbia Ave, Castlegar, BC V1N 2W6
"In Castlegar, the Opiod Crisis has hit a nerve with people in town and the City Council, Ambulance and Community Services partnered with us at Safeway Pharmacy to have an awareness day. It was discussed and thought that it should be in front of the store where people pick up buggies to get the most exposure. They were hoping to reduce the stigma associated with asking about this issue. It was a hit!! We had about 100 stop by and ask for information.
The most exciting thing was it was mostly people over 55 years old and up into their 70's that stopped by. We were expecting mostly young people but that wasn't who we got. We had over 20 Naloxone take home kits to give away from local community supplies and most of them were given away. We had quite the line-up of community services/health care workers that came to work this booth. Our guests included Mayor Bruno Tassone of Castlegar, Marci Loukianoff, the head of Castlegar Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Deb Macintosh, head of the Food Bank and a former City Councillor, and Nadine Podmoroff our Community Paramedic. Later in the day we had numerous nurses, first-responders, fire-fighters, more mental health workers, and para-medics drop by and volunteer also. It was a busy day out there.
One amazingly good thing that has come out of that awareness day is that because of this event there are going to be some workshops given in the schools in our district with many of the same people volunteering!! THAT HAS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!! And it is SO NICE to be part of making a positive difference in our community. ;-))"
- Erica Gregory, Pharmacy Manager, Safeway Castlegar
Mayor Bruno Tassone of Castlegar, Marci Loukianoff, the head of Castlegar Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Deb Macintosh, head of the Food Bank and a former City Councillor, and Community Paramedic Nadine Podmoroff.
March 12: Fort St John Pharmacy & Wellness Centre
Fort St John Pharmacy & Wellness Centre
9730 101 Ave, Fort St John, BC V1J 2A8
"Val Kantz, RPT, matters because she has worked in pharmacy in her community for >25 years. Even when busy, If patients need a service or product that Fort St John Pharmacy & Wellness Centre doesn’t provide, Val has the knowledge and, takes the time, to direct them elsewhere."
- Fort St John Pharmacy & Wellness Centre
Val Kantz, RPT with Fort St John Pharmacy & Wellness Centre.
March 11: Safeway Marpole
8475 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6P 4Z9
"Pharmacy provides many services for our customers within our community. Whether it be the front line source of health & medication information, or providing a trusted environment in which to give essential services such as vaccinations and compliance packaging or just to lend an ear, we are here for all of the community.
Our goal at Safeway Pharmacy is to improve the quality of health of our customers and that leads to a happier, healthier, more knowledgeable and more productive society."
- David Dong, Pharmacy Manager, Safeway 4976
Meet the pharmacy team at Safeway Marpole, David, Annalyn and Sharon!
March 10: Choices Pharmacy
105-9093 King George Blvd, Surrey, BC V3V 5V7
"Patients will ask for me because they know if I answer something about their medications for them, it's the truth. The demographic that I serve is mixed. I would say 60 to 70 per cent are South Asian people from India and Pakistan, we also serve the Chinese community and the Filipino community.
We work with mental health services and correctional services. We dispense methadone and suboxone here. It's not just one particular service, we do flu shots, medication reviews, we have nurses as well who go to the patients' house on a daily basis to administer medication if they're having problems.
Trust with our patients doesn't come right away. It isn't built over night, it takes time."
- Anand Kapoor, Pharmacy Manager, Choices Pharmacy
Raj, Sarah, Rajinder, Anand and Nimesh of the Choices Pharmacy team.
March 10: Pure Cure Pharmacy
Pure Cure Pharmacy
8820 120 St #100, Surrey, BC V3V 0C9
"Our community is under-served and we can bridge that gap in the pharmacy services that we provide. The main thing is improving compliance of the medications, and looking at poly pharmacy and de-prescribing where possible.
Also just regular follow ups with patients so they’re fully involved in the decision making process and are educated about their medicines. I’ll give you an example: some patients are coming from the hospital, they’ve had a heart attack, and they are prescribed five additional medicines on top of their medicines before the incident.
That can be overwhelming. That’s why education is important, so patients understand why they’re taking medicines. We provide regular follow up, with some medications patients can see the tangible differences when they’re looking at lab results. We can discuss side effects. We can look at the lab reports together. The patient and the pharmacist should be an equal partner in their health.
Nowadays, cardiovascular and diabetes are the two biggest chronic diseases in this neighbourhood, and I’m looking forward to also becoming a diabetes educator so I can help them with that."
- Aditya Patel, Owner/Pharmacy Manager, Pure Cure Pharmacy
Aditya and Jaspreet, pharmacist and pharmacy technician at Pure Cure Pharmacy.
March 9: North West Marine Pharmacy
North West Marine Pharmacy
1877 Marine Dr, North Vancouver, BC V7P 1V5
"This is an old pharmacy and we are serving our customers and our patients like our family. Most of our patients are from our community and they are in their senior years. Many of them are immigrants and are relying on us for their medications. Our staff are from Iran as are about 90 per cent of our patients, of whom the vast majority are older than 65 and they need special skills to help them. We are in close contact with them. I took over this location 1.5 years ago, but the previous owner was the first community pharmacist from Iran in the area. So a lot of people sought out this pharmacy, and we try to help them."
- Ana Kabir, Pharmacy Manager/Owner
Katy, Mahtab, Ana, Jila: the team at North West Marine Pharmacy in North Vancouver.
March 8: Columbia Prescription X-Press
Columbia Prescription X-Press
317 Columbia St E, New Westminster, BC V3L 3W8
"We are more accessible for patients. There’s an ongoing shortage of doctors and it’s hard to get appointments. If patients have minor issues, they always like to see the pharmacist first. We can often take care of their needs, and recommend whether or not they have to make an appointment with their doctor. Our neighbourhood is a mix of people.
Some patients are coming from the hospital and need medications right away. Some are here from the interior and they don’t have pharmacies where they are from, so we actually even deliver prescriptions to their wards. We also have a good home health care collection here, a lot of times patients need it right away since they just got discharged.
A lot of the hospital staff actually travel quite a bit too, so we also offer a travel clinic right here. We have been in the community for almost 13 years here, because of that we have a good reputation and a lot of people know about Columbia Prescription X-Press."
- Raj Chauhan, Pharmacy Manager
The Columbia Prescription X-Press team in New Westminster. Meet Manju, Mehul, Raj, Rajat and Ravali.
March 7: Thrifty Foods Port Moody
Thrifty Foods Pharmacy Port Moody
170 Brew St, Port Moody, BC V3H 0E7
"One of our health-services that are unique I would say, we have at Sobeys a Baby Be Healthy program which provides prenatal vitamins to expectant mothers or people who want to be pregnant. I think that’s very unique to the Sobeys chain. There’s no charge to the customer and it’s a great service for the mother and the baby to be healthy."
- Jenny Seto, Pharmacy Manager
Meet the Port Moody Thrifty Foods pharmacy team, Helen, Debbie and Jenny.
March 6: Tumbler Ridge Pharmacy
Tumbler Ridge Pharmacy
230 Main St, Tumbler Ridge, BC V0C 2W0
"Charissa Tonnesen matters to her community because she manages the only pharmacy in over a 100-km radius. She has served as president of the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation, she participates/volunteers in community events such as the Emperor’s Challenge, she collaborates with local physicians, she coaches karate, and she educates patients and healthcare providers."
– Tumbler Ridge Pharmacy
Charissa Tonnesen is the pharmacy manager of Tumbler Ridge Pharmacy,
March 5: Minoru Pharmacy
7380 Westminster Hwy, Richmond, BC V6X 1A1
"In Richmond, we have a lot of elderly patients. A lot of them, I have been their pharmacist for the last 40 years. I pretty well know the patient, but I’m trying to encourage them to change their lifestyles, encouraging them to walk every day to prolong their lives.
I do offer free delivery, because I like to know that all of my seniors will receive their medications on time. And most are very happy with our services, they can prolong their life, get out and about, instead of staying at home.
A lot of them don’t have families, a lot of them are in their 80s and 90s. One of my patients who I’ve had for 40 years just turned 100 and he’s still living alone. I’m so happy that he credits this pharmacy for his longevity. I was really happy about that."
- Elizabeth Mohomed, Owner/Pharmacy Manager
From left to right: Elizabeth, pharmacy owner and manager, and pharmacist Alla at Minoru Pharmacy.
March 4: Shoppers Drug Mart #2227
Shoppers Drug Mart #2227
432 SW Marine Dr, Vancouver, BC V5X 0C4
"It’s nice to know that we can be a go-to location for our community. We have a lot of towers and residences in the area and it’s a growing community. So for new people that come here, it’s nice for them to know there’s a Shoppers Drug Mart that’s open and able to service them for whatever they need, whether it’s the pharmacy or lifestyle items that they need."
- Ruxin Shen, Pharmacy Manager
Meet Lyndsie, Angel, Dyniel & Ruxin, the team at Shoppers Drug Mart 2227 at Marine Gateway in Vancouver.
March 3: Andreen's Pharmacy
101-879 Anders Rd, West Kelowna, BC V1Z 1K2
"Haley, Elizabeth, Monique, Emily, and Katrina at Andreen’s Pharmacy matter to West Kelowna. In addition to dispensing medication and health advice, the staff at Andreen's offer specialized and medically focused foot care, participate in local charity fundraisers, and provide travel and public health immunizations."
- Andreen's Pharmacy
From left to right: Emily (footcare nurse), Haley (pharmacist), Elizabeth (pharmacist), Monique (pharmacy assistant), supportive partner
March 2: Davies Prescription Pharmacy
Davies Prescription Pharmacy
1401 St Georges Ave, North Vancouver, BC V7L 3J3
"As a specialty pharmacy, community is important to us. We are proud to be a part of the North Shore community and have been serving customers since 1974.
Located directly across from Lions Gate Hospital, we support patients going through some of their most challenging times. We work to alleviate the stresses that patients are experiencing as they manage all aspects of their illness. Our pharmacy supports patients in treatment such as chemotherapy. We assist patients with their adjunct chemo medications steamlining the process by helping co-ordinate medication coverage and delivery of medications as requested.
We provide medication counselling and ensure that we are staffed to meet the time demands of our customers. Our pharmacists are efficient, knowledgeable and friendly. We care for customers with complex medication regimens including those living in care homes by providing our blister pack service of medications and home delivery. This service helps patients achieve better compliance and more positive health outcomes.
We are a certified renal pharmacy and supply medications that are essential in the care and treatment of people with kidney disease. We also specialize in ostomy supplies, wound dressing and incontinence products.
On staff is a certified Travel Injection Specialist. Whether our clients require routine immunizations or are travelling to exotic locations, our Injection Specialist provides information and advice on how to best stay healthy while travelling. Davies Pharmacy continues to build long-term relationships in our community. Our customers mean a lot to us, they are our neighbours and they are our friends."
- Davies Prescription Pharmacy
From left to right, meet team members Kathy, Ada, Moh, Ajit, Violetta, Karen, Cynthia, Arman!
March 1: Save-On-Foods Pharmacy #942
Save-On-Foods Pharmacy #942
1430 Prairie Ave, Port Coquitlam, BC V3B 5M8
"We are compassionate and trustworthy pharmacists that the community can depend on for their health needs and wellbeing." - Denice Bucsit, Pharmacy Manager
From left to right, pharmacy team members Denice, Eun Jin, Cora, Carson