“I would tell any new graduate that pharmacy is so much more than dispensing. It is important to explore and take advantage of all the opportunities the profession provides.”
- University of Alberta – Pharmacy
- Manager, Pharmacy Managed Care at London Drugs
Shan Khoo has always promoted new innovation in pharmacy practice. Pharmacists in her chain have consistently taken programs and certification to become recognized experts in diabetes and travel medicine. They have also been at the forefront of charging for the services pharmacists provide and are ideally positioned to be winners as pharmacy’s expanded scope continues to evolve.
Tell us a bit about yourself and why you chose pharmacy.
I was born in Brunei on the island of Borneo. It was very corrupt and I was born stateless. My father realized there was not going to be a good future for his family and decided to immigrate to Canada. From being an executive in Brunei, he took a job as a labourer in a mine in the Northwest Territories. After he was settled, he sent for us and the family immigrated to Canada. When I was going through school in Edmonton, I was thinking about becoming a pharmacist or a nurse. After I volunteered at a hospital and saw what nurses had to do, I decided pharmacy was the career for me.
What was your early career like?
I worked as a relief pharmacist for a few months, then joined London Drugs (LD) as a full-time staff pharmacist. I was promoted to assistant manager, and then pharmacy manager. I was eventually asked if I would move to the busiest store in Edmonton. I was hesitant at first, but was up for the challenge as it was a good experience. LD has always been at the forefront of pharmacy and technology. I remember that back when I started, they were one of the first chains to invest in technology to improve efficiency and productivity.
When did you leave London Drugs?
I loved working at LD, and one of the most difficult things to do was to leave. Throughout your life, you have to make some difficult personal decisions. Deciding to leave Alberta was one of them. I moved to Ontario and became a district pharmacy operations manager for Wal-Mart. I learned so much with Wal-Mart, but after a few years in Toronto, it was time to make a move to British Columbia. Although I could have been transferred to BC with Wal-Mart, I took a great opportunity to come back to LD.
What are some of the responsibilities of your current role?
I am currently the Manager of Pharmacy and Managed Care for LD. I develop programs that improve the skills of our pharmacists and tools that can reach the public such as clinics and patient education. The biggest challenge for me is to try to stay ahead of the curve. Our chain has always been visionary, and we want to prepare for and not react to practice change. We are trying to predict changes in the compensation model and looking for opportunities for business growth.
Leaders in Pharmacy, including this independently written article, is supported by GenMed, a division of Pfizer