Change has defined the pharmacy landscape in Canada for the last decade. The amount and the pace of that change have been unparalleled in the profession. Such transformation – even when enhanced patient care is the result – requires a new way of working. It also requires distinctive leadership.
by donalee Moulton
“In an environment of complex change, leaders with broader skills are essential: those with the ability to cross boundaries and sectors, those who can interact with the customer in new and innovative ways,” says Gordon Cooper, Pfizer’s Director of Retail Strategy and Market Development, in Montreal. “Quite simply, pharmacy leaders today are those who can see the bigger picture – because the profession demands it.”
Celebrating the profession’s new and evolving leadership is the foundation on which the Leaders in Pharmacy initiative has been built. Sponsored by Pfizer Canada and GenMed, a division of Pfizer Canada, the program recognizes the contribution of pharmacists across the country and the ways they are helping to transform the profession today. In its first year, Leaders in Pharmacy focused on mentorship and brought a new generation of pharmacy leaders to the forefront. This year, the focus is on successful advocacy during this unprecedented period of sustained and significant change.
“Our support of the Leaders in Pharmacy program reflects our commitment to working together with the pharmacy profession,” says Cooper. “One of our primary goals is to create strategic partnerships and support the pharmacy profession as it redefines itself. We want to stand with pharmacists as their role evolves into a true healthcare partnership for patients.”
Partners in pharmacy
Pfizer Canada is uniquely positioned for this transition. The biopharmaceutical company opened its doors in Canada in 1953 and has been working together with the pharmacy sector ever since. In this climate of change and opportunity, the company is more fully engaged in this partnership than ever before. “Much of our work is aligned with that of the pharmacy sector, and we share a common goal: helping to enhance the health of Canadians. Together we can attain that goal more effectively,” says Cooper.
Pfizer works closely with the Canadian Pharmacists Association, the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada, provincial pharmacy organizations, and local pharmacists across the country on initiatives ranging from education to advocacy.
“We recognize the growing and increasingly vital role pharmacists play in improving patient health, and we are excited to work hand in hand with the pharmacy profession as its scope of practice evolves and it advocates for much-needed and critical changes,” says Cooper.
Both parties bring important attributes to the table. Pharmacists stand proudly as the most accessible healthcare providers in the country. Pfizer offers a leading portfolio of products and medicines that support wellness and prevention, as well as treatment and cures for diseases across a broad range of therapeutic areas.
“We are here to support pharmacy in every aspect,” says Cooper. “Ultimately, we are collaborating with pharmacy to better address the customers’ needs. At Pfizer, we believe to be truly healthy, it takes More Than Medication®.
The pharmacy profession now has a unique and unparalleled opportunity. Increasingly, pharmacists are the first point of contact for patients seeking medical advice, information and insight. Pfizer is here to lend a helping hand, says Cooper. “We are striving for the same thing – improved patient care – and together we can make advances that no one alone can make.”
The importance of advocacy
Such advances require skilled advocacy – the theme of this year’s Leaders in Pharmacy. These skills are a must in the current environment, stresses Cooper. “To facilitate change and drive appropriate advances, you need advocacy for the profession and the sector; otherwise change will be forced upon you. You need to be at the table or you will be overlooked.”
The goal, as always, is better care for patients, and today pharmacists work in a world where the empowered patient is playing a bigger role than ever in healthcare. As Canadians embrace and adopt the latest technologies to manage their health, they are looking to healthcare providers and governments to provide the best treatments possible. As accessible and respected leaders in the field, no one is better positioned to meet the needs of the empowered patient than pharmacists.
Meeting the demands of the empowered patient and successfully advocating on their behalf requires more than a partnership on paper. “We are a partner in the true sense of the word,” says Cooper. “Together we are working to make Canadians healthier and the healthcare system in this country stronger.”