This year’s Pharmacy U conference at the Vancouver Convention Centre (West) Nov. 7 promises to expand on the success of the two previous ones.
By Talbot Boggs
Photography by Amanda Thirkill
This year’s event will be fully CE-accredited and will include a thought-provoking opening session featuring a leading industry expert, 16 presentations, seminars and workshops on a variety of business and professional subjects, vendor tabletop displays, a luncheon panel discussion and networking opportunities throughout the day and at a conference-ending reception.
“Pharmacy U is unique to the pharmacy industry as its content is both business and education-focused,” says Michael Cronin, General Manager of Stagnito Canada. “It is structured to provide peer learning opportunities and workshop time, real life case studies, and to give attendees concrete next steps that they can implement in their pharmacies to improve business and the level of patient care.”
“This conference provides a great opportunity to get updated about emerging trends in pharmacy practice and business,” says Denice Bucsit, pharmacist at Cooper’s Foods Pharmacy in Port Coquitlam, B.C. “At last year’s show I was able to attend CEs on topics ranging from third party audits to new medications for COPD that were very relevant to my practice.”
Art Thorrougood, owner of Peoples Pharmacy in Richmond, B.C., believes the conference’s business and professional focus is helping to drive the industry through the next decade and into the future. “It pointed out there are a wide range of economic factors which are impacting the way we operate pharmacies as a business to ensure their sustainability and growth in the future,” he notes.
“Cost containment measures by drug manufacturers, third party insurers and federal and provincial governments are showing just how vulnerable we are, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for pharmacies to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and to compete on price alone,” Thorrougood adds. “Moving to a more service-based business model, placing a value on services and getting patients to recognize that value are critical to the sustainability of pharmacy in the future. This conference is helping to educate the industry on those critical needs and move it forward in that direction.”
Zahra Rayani of Heart Pharmacy in Victoria, B.C. has travelled to the mainland the last two years to attend Pharmacy U. “I particularly enjoyed the keynote presentation on medication adherence and as a result we are working on implementing an adherence program,” says Rayani. “I also really enjoyed the luncheon panel discussions because they give you a broader, more global perspective of what’s happening in the industry from the viewpoint of the chain pharmacies. I also really enjoyed talking to peers in the industry that I don’t get to see very often to hear what’s happening with them and the pressures they are under.”
Bucsit also has found the networking aspect of the conferences very useful. “I clearly remember talking to a pharmacist who shared his experience about how medication reviews can increase customer loyalty. I came back to work and shared this with our pharmacy team so we could improve on our clinical services and include them in our workflow. Besides the added revenue we have gotten from providing clinical services, it has really helped us achieve greater patient satisfaction.”
Pure Integrative Pharmacy owner and pharmacist Bob Mehr is encouraging all pharmacists at his locations in Vancouver to attend this year’s event. “The topics of the presentations are very good and there’s lot of good information that you can take away with you,” he says. “I actually have purchased and implemented robotic technology that I first saw at the conference. I am 100 per cent encouraging the nine other pharmacists in our team to join me this year.”