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Poll: Canadians unaware of pharmacists' scope of services
November 27th, 2013
KIRKLAND, Quebec – A vast majority of Canadians trust pharmacists and see them as key health care partners, yet many aren't aware of the breadth of health services that pharmacists can provide, a new survey from Pfizer Canada finds.
Pfizer said Wednesday that, according to the poll, 78% of Canadians see their pharmacist as a trusted partner in their health care, but just 46% would look to their pharmacist as the first health care professional to contact for common health issues.
The survey revealed that 92% of Canadians trust their pharmacist, and 43% know their pharmacist by name.
Significantly, 84% of respondents agree that pharmacists can help improve their health beyond just dispensing prescriptions.
And though not all pharmacy services are available in every province, many of those polled didn't know or were unsure of whether they could speak with their pharmacist about such health matters as smoking cessation options (48%), flu shots (43%), renewing or extending prescriptions (30%), and learning the difference between all over-the-counter medicine options (21%).
In response to the survey findings and the existing effort in Canada to widen the scope of pharmacy practice, GenMed, a division of Pfizer Canada, and Fulcrum Media have created Leaders in Pharmacy, an initiative to advance the role of pharmacy in overall health care.
With a focus on women in its first year, Leaders in Pharmacy will bring together 13 leaders in pharmacy from across Canada at a roundtable meeting in Vancouver on Nov. 29. Each pharmacy leader has identified a mentee whom she will help support to foster their growth as the role of pharmacy expands in Canada.
"The future for pharmacists in Canada is bright. To further grow and learn as a profession, it is important to come together and discuss challenges and opportunities," Jeannette Wang, senior vice president of professional affairs and services at Shoppers Drug Mart, Canada's largest drug chain, said in a statement. "I am looking forward to participating in the Leaders in Pharmacy initiative. It recognizes pharmacists have an important role to play in delivering front-line healthcare to Canadians."
According to Service Canada, 70% to 80% of new pharmacy graduates are women.
"We recognize the growing and increasingly important role of pharmacists in improving patient health, and are excited to launch the Leaders in Pharmacy initiative," stated Rania Cassar-Awe, director of retail strategy for Pfizer Canada. "Each of these women is experienced, committed, and collaborative, which is just what a changing pharmacy industry in Canada needs."
In Canada, the health care community has sharpened its focus on pharmacists as a solution for a range of public health issues.
For example, an action plan unveiled in April, titled "9000 Points of Care: Improving Access to Affordable Healthcare," concluded that Canada's pharmacy community can cut the nation's health care costs by up to to $11 billion (Canadian) over three years by bringing more cost-effective care to more people. And in October 2012, the Ontario government approved regulations that allow pharmacists in the province to provide a broader range of pharmacy services, including prescription renewal.