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Why the need for Independent Pharmacy Day?


Last week, on August 31st, we celebrated the third annual Independent Pharmacy Day. The day was a great success as we saw an overwhelming support from industry stakeholders and government officials, with many MPPs and Ministers (including the Minister of Health) visiting their local independent pharmacy and posting a photo on their social media channels on the day. Ontario Premier Doug Ford also provided a recorded congratulatory message to independent pharmacies across the province on that day.

It is important to note though that Independent Pharmacy Day is more than just an annual event or celebration; it is rather a part of an ongoing strategic advocacy plan to continuously raise awareness among the public, industry stakeholders, government officials and policymakers about independent pharmacies and their invaluable contributions to their communities and the healthcare system. 

In his official message to observe Independent Pharmacy Day, Doug Ford stated that "Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and independent pharmacy is the backbone of the profession."


Premier Doug Ford
Premier Doug Ford

The fact is that independent pharmacies (which are typically owned and operated by small business owners who are rooted in their communities) operate on a fundamentally different business model compared to chain pharmacy retailers and other sectors in the industry. By dedicating a day to celebrate independent pharmacy, we emphasize the importance for all stakeholders to recognize that unique business model, and to be cognizant of the fact that certain policies and regulations introduced can and may have varying effects on different segments of the industry.

The reality is that it is ultimately our own responsibility to ensure policy makers are well aware of this difference, so that they are better informed as they introduce future legislations, regulations and that they would be equitable across all sectors.

Another key outcome of this celebration is to recognize the role independent pharmacies play in keeping their communities safe and healthy, which was evident during the pandemic and beyond. That is why, as governments continue to look for ways to expand the capacity of the healthcare system, it is imperative to keep independent pharmacy top of mind…both as a partner and as a key part of the solution.

In conclusion, Independent Pharmacy Day is intended to be an opportunity to celebrate the diversity within the pharmacy ecosystem and the crucial role each sector plays. It is a call for unity and inclusivity. It also serves as a call to action for the profession as a whole to come together and recognize the vital role that independent pharmacies play in our healthcare system and the overall economy.

Sherif Guorgui, B.Sc. Phm.
co-CEO, OnPharm-United
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