President's Message: New year, new opportunities

May 2, 2022 The Tablet

With the start of a new year comes with it the beginning of new opportunities; from the administration of mRNA vaccines, to the dispensing and counseling of Paxlovid prescriptions, to the distribution of rapid antigen tests. 

With all of these additional responsibilities the Ministry of Health and other government officials have really been starting to take notice of what it is pharmacy is capable of, and what additional things we may be able to take on in the future to better relieve the intense pressure on our health-care system.

As a result of the great work pharmacists have been doing throughout the pandemic, the Association has been able to restart the MLA outreach program to great success. We have had various different MLA visits into pharmacies throughout the province, including the Minister of Health Adrian Dix and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson. 

Pharmacists that took part in theses visits were able to showcase what it is we do on a daily basis, as well as some of the issues that we face which the respective health ministers may not have been aware of to begin with. So thank you to all the pharmacies and pharmacists that took part in our outreach program, you’ve really helped to increase the Association’s advocacy efforts.

One of the big question marks that has come through this new year is the sudden adoption of universal pharmacare by the federal government as a result of their agreement with the federal NDP. While this was not expected when the year began, the Association had already been building a relationship with the current national health critic Don Davies, who has been a great voice, and proponent of, pharmacists and increased pharmacy services. 

In addition to this, our CEO Geraldine Vance was able to make a presentation to the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, emphasizing the accessibility of pharmacists as health-care workers who see patients more frequently than physicians, and the resulting increase in trust that Canadians have placed in their pharmacists since the pandemic. Her presentation included a call for the federal government to harness the full capabilities of pharmacists by adopting a National Scope of Practice to include prescribing rights for pharmacists in all provinces.

With everything we as pharmacists have been able to do already this year, and everything that is coming on the horizon, it is hard not to be optimistic about the future of our profession. 

Jamie Wigston
BC Pharmacy Association

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.