Pharmacy U

Jane Farnham pushes the boundaries


“We tend to invest too much time in trying to fix our deficiencies. I think it is so important that we spend more time focusing our energies on the things we do really well – for in these things lie our gifts.”



  • Dalhousie University – Pharmacy
  • University of Toronto – MBA
  • Wharton School and Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania – Executive Fellowship

Current Role

  • Healthcare Consultant
  • President-elect, Canadian Pharmacists Association

Jane Farnham began her career as a hospital pharmacist. Along the way, she practised as a community pharmacist, led a business development team for one of Canada’s largest wholesalers, built the purchasing and pharmacy programs for a major Canadian retailer, established a corporate accounts business in the biotech sector and built a government and corporate affairs division for a major generic manufacturer.

Why did you start your career in hospital pharmacy?

While in university I did a rotation at the Camp Hill Hospital in Halifax and was hooked. At the time, I was involved with the CAPSI national executive and I met the then-director of pharmacy for the Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton at a CPhA conference. He was a board member and very inspiring, and I decided I wanted to work with him. In that first stage of my career, I became exposed to so many rewarding things pharmacists could do and be involved in.

What drove you?

I knew early on that I wanted to do something on a larger scale than was available to me in that first position. I decided to move to Toronto to complete my MBA. I loved every minute of it and came to realize how many opportunities were open to me with that combination of healthcare and business. While completing my degree, I started to work with the senior pharmacy management team at the Toronto Hospital Group. This was hugely rewarding work and provided me with new challenges as I was involved in special projects that utilized my experience in hospital pharmacy and business.

How did you transition from hospital to community pharmacy?

While at the University Health Network, I chaired a large purchasing group and was involved in the hospital distribution network. I was recruited to Drug Trading to lead their hospital business development initiative. I quickly realized there was so much opportunity through the development of leading edge patient-centred programs and services.

What was it like working in the generic industry?

I have always sought out new experiences that stretched my skills. At Cobalt, I was given an opportunity to join in the early stage of development of a growing organization. To be part of a team that shaped an organization from the very beginning was truly a great ride. Cobalt realized early on that government and private payers would have a much greater impact on their destiny than anyone had previously, understood and they invited me to build and lead this function for their organization.

Why is mentoring so important to you?

None of us reach any level of success without the support and encouragement of others along the way. I have been so fortunate to have been the beneficiary of this kind of support throughout my career. It’s all about cooperation and collaboration for me. You never know what the ripple effect of a helping hand or a word of encouragement might be.

Leaders in Pharmacy, including this independently written article, is supported by GenMed, a division of Pfizer