President's Message: A step beyond the counter

Updated on February 8, 2024 (Originally posted on January 25, 2024) The Tablet

In 2023, British Columbia’s community pharmacists took a major step forward in delivering primary care. Last year, B.C.’s pharmacists delivered more than 229,000 assessments for minor ailments and contraception. Given the response from the community, we expect to pharmacists to perform even more assessments in 2024.  

As your BC Pharmacy Association president for this year, I’m looking forward to seeing pharmacists take more steps beyond the counter to help the province in addressing the crises facing our health-care system. 

The Association has been advocating for pharmacists’ ability to order lab tests and coverage of point-of-care testing in pharmacies to help ease the burden on our system. The pharmacy sector, just like other parts of our health-care system, faces a shortage of pharmacists, especially in rural areas that find it difficult to attract talent. That’s why the Association is asking the province to revisit the pharmacy rural incentive program to help pharmacists across B.C. serve patients in their communities. 

In this issue of The Tablet, we profile our 2023 Excellence in Pharmacy Awards winners. As you will see, these are individuals who are providing service to patients in their communities — from the Okanagan to First Nations communities to those going above and beyond for patients with opioid use disorder in Metro Vancouver. 

Each one of these individuals has not only stepped out of the old way of thinking, but has also stepped far beyond the counter to deliver the kind of care we have been passionate about since pharmacy school.  

I encourage all of us to not just step out from “behind the counter” but to step beyond the counter in our thinking and advocacy for the profession. 

We have proven over the years how B.C. community pharmacists can be a key partner in delivering public health. With the success of the minor ailments and contraception service (MACS), we can continue to be a partner in primary care.  

Mike Huitema
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.