“While it’s tempting to say that retail pharmacy is facing more challenges than any other time, it’s equally accurate and more productive to look at how the opportunities for neighborhood pharmacies are growing,” commented Carpenter.
“The big headline for our industry today is the evolving business model — an evolution that’s pulling pharmacists out from the dispensary to interact with their patients in new and more valuable ways. This is our game changer.”
Dispensing, she pointed out, remains the economic foundation of the retail pharmacy business, adding that it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. “Medication expertise has always been what pharmacies are all about, and that’s not changing. What is changing — and rapidly — is how the benefits of that medication expertise are being delivered to patients,” said Carpenter.
“Neighborhood pharmacies now provide an increasingly important range of patient services that extend their value, from the narrowly focused, such as flu shots, to the broader management of complex chronic conditions. Here the impact is not just at the point of treatment, but one which can enhance the patient’s whole life. It’s truly a ‘game changer’ for patients too.”
She noted that this evolution is taking place at different rates and in different ways across the country and that it represents a significant change for the entire neighborhood pharmacies community.
Pointing to the association’s recent consultations with Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA), Carpenter noted: “For the first time in many years, Neighbourhood Pharmacies was invited to collaborate in discussions on how the province of Ontario would address its financial challenges.
“To be clear, it was not a negotiation, and the resulting cuts were significant and disappointing, but we were at the table and we helped shape how, where and when the government’s cost-cutting would be felt.