In what will no doubt be seen as a resounding sign of approval for the association’s new management and strategy, the Loblaw and Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy banners have decided to rejoin the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada.
“Loblaw Companies Ltd./ Shoppers Drug Mart rejoining Neighbourhood Pharmacies is an important recognition of the benefits of Association membership, our strategic plan and the work underway to innovate the pharmacy reimbursement model with emphasis on patient health outcomes,” said Justin Bates, chief executive officer of Neighbourhood Pharmacies in an October 21 joint news release.
Bates, who joined Neighbourhood Pharmacies (then the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores) in 2006 as director of eHealth, was appointed CEO in May of this year after the sudden departure of Denise Carpenter, who had led the organization since 2013.
Shoppers Drug Mart dealt the association a serious blow in the summer of 2014 by announcing that it would not be renewing its membership as of 2015. The company was a founding member of the association. Loblaw Companies Ltd., which had recently acquired Shoppers, announced that it would also be withdrawing its membership.
At the time, Shoppers’ vice-president of communications and corporate affairs Tammy Smitham gave the following explanation for the departure: “Given the increased focus on expanded scope of service for pharmacists and the need to address the professional issues coupled with that, we’ve made the decision to align our resources to more fully support the provincial and territorial pharmacy associations and the Canadian Pharmacists Association. As a result, we have chosen not to renew our membership with CACDS for 2015.”
In today’s announcement, Jeff Leger, executive vice president, pharmacy and healthcare at Shoppers Drug Mart gave the following explanation for the change of direction: “We are committed to supporting our pharmacists in providing the best possible care for their patients. A vital component of this commitment is working with, and helping to bring together, pharmacy stakeholders that are focused on the same objectives.
“The value proposition for Neighbourhood Pharmacies has never been clearer in bringing transparency and a focus on collaboration, with all stakeholders, on issues management and advocacy initiatives that are relevant to both the business and profession of pharmacy. Neighbourhood Pharmacies wants to ensure the highest quality of professional patient care is delivered in ways that will ensure the sustainability of the business of pharmacy for decades to come.
“We are witnessing that we are stronger together when we present solutions and new directions to the challenges facing the healthcare system – but we can only be successful if we stand together. Now is the time to reach out and engage with the Association in new ways to ensure your future success.”
Neighbourhood Pharmacies represents the business of pharmacy and advocates for Canada’s leading pharmacy brands. More than 75% of all pharmacists working in community practice are employed by members of the association.