Press Release

17 Feb

BC Pharmacy bringing prescription delivery to a new level: Medicine Shoppe sending LPNs to help patients manage medications

February 17th, 2015

Vancouver, BC – A group of Lower Mainland pharmacies is doing things differently and making a real difference in the lives of patients along the way. Not only is this group delivering prescriptions to people who cannot easily leave their home, they are using Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) to manage delivery.

Offering tremendous knowledge and expertise for the patient, the LPNs, in turn deliver comfort and support to family and friends. In an unprecedented service, the Pharmacy BC group now delivers from Chilliwack to West Vancouver, free of charge, seven days a week. The pharmacies include Medicine Shoppe franchises located in Abbotsford, White Rock, and four locations in East Vancouver.

“I was referred to the Medicine Shoppe for support in caring for a friend who had difficulty in managing his medication,” says Judith from Vancouver. “Following a recent hospital stay his medications got even more complex: the Medicine Shoppe in Vancouver provides peace of mind that my friend gets his medication 365 days a year and that the person who delivers them is friendly, personable and reliable. At the age of 88 he has his life back to ‘normal’”.

The LPNs are able to administer our daily and weekly dispense programs, assist with insulin-­‐injection, blood pressure monitoring, blood glucose monitoring, Exelon or Nitro-­‐Dur patch application or removal. Additionally all of the program drivers are fully vetted and trained to ensure accurate delivery.

PharmacyBC.com was founded in 1997 with the aim to serve the community and to provide the highest standard of care and service to their patients. With a vision to rise to the forefront of patient care programs, Pharmacy BC strives to remain on the cutting edge of pharmaceutical innovation and technology.

The vision is working. They’re already leading the way with Canada’s first “HIV Point of Care pilot” using Biolytical’s INSTI test. “We are working hard to integrate new technologies with the very best care for our patients and making our services accessible,” says Bob Rai, Co-­‐owner of Pharmacy BC. “We believe in bringing the best therapies possible to our patients and ensuring that disease prevention, and prevention of adverse drug reactions is a key responsibility of our team: this is why we are working with research partners to ensure that our pharmacies are at the forefront of safety and technology.”

They’re also leading Canada’s first “Chronic Kidney Disease Screening” (CKD) program using Health Tab technology. The group is also one of eight pharmacies selected by Vancouver Coastal Health to provide in-­‐home medication adherence monitoring services to Mental Health and Addictions patients. Additionally, they have been selected by UBC to be one of twenty participating pharmacies for a pharmacogenomics pilot involving dosages around blood thinner medication.
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Media contact:
Jennifer Boon
Capricorn Communications
Mobile: 778-­‐327-­‐8374

21 Aug

Omni News: PharmacyBC begins pilot to offer HIV tests to customers (Video)

August 21st, 2014

Pharmacists at two Vancouver Medicine Shoppe pharmacies, located at 2030 Kingsway Ave. and 6180 Fraser St., is now offering customers a rapid HIV test. Customers will know their test results on the spot in less than five minutes. During a year-long pilot, pharmacists trained by HIV nurses from VCH and PHC will offer customers an optional HIV test for free. Each pharmacy is located next to a Pacific Medical Walk-in Clinic where doctors will provide support to patients and link them to care and treatment, if required.

See the coverage here (Starts at 2:03 mark in video).

11 Aug

The Province: Sharad talks to Bob Rai of PharmacyBC.com

August 11th, 2014

Starting this month, pharmacists at two Vancouver Medicine Shoppe pharmacies, located at 2030 Kingsway Ave. and 6180 Fraser St., will offer customers a rapid HIV test. Customers will know their test results on the spot in less than five minutes. During a year-long pilot, pharmacists trained by HIV nurses from VCH and PHC will offer customers an optional HIV test for free. Each pharmacy is located next to a Pacific Medical Walk-in Clinic where doctors will provide support to patients and link them to care and treatment, if required.

“B.C. is recognized as a global leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS and I believe that through bold action and smart investment we can remain leaders,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “This pilot is another step forward and will go a long way to improve early diagnosis and save lives.”

“People can now get an HIV test while they are waiting for their prescriptions,” said Dr. Réka Gustafson, medical health officer and medical director, Communicable Disease Control, VCH. “Offering HIV testing at more locations like your local pharmacy helps normalize testing and reduces the stigma around it so that it’s more acceptable to people to get tested.”

Feasibility and effectiveness of the pilot will be evaluated over the course of the year before determining next steps. The pilot is being funded through the Province’s Seek and Treat for the Optimal Prevention (STOP) of HIV/AIDS program—a program focused on better reaching and engaging British Columbians in HIV prevention, testing and care. The HIV tests offered as part of the pilot will be free-of-charge to the patient.

“This is the first time a pharmacy in Canada is offering HIV tests to its clients,” said Bob Rai, pharmacist and co-owner of the two Medicine Shoppe pharmacies. “We’re happy to try something innovative in an effort to help people live healthier lives.”

VCH and PHC hospitals were the first in Canada to offer routine HIV testing. More than 60 patients in Vancouver hospitals have tested positive for HIV since the program began in October 2011. These patients would otherwise not have known they were infected. Prior to these pilots, usually only those at high risk for HIV such as those who use intravenous drugs were offered the test.

“We see too many people who are newly diagnosed with HIV, but are already in the advanced stages of the disease,” said Dr. Gustafson. “We can’t stress enough how very crucial early treatment is for those infected. While HIV is a chronic infection, early treatment prolongs and improves people’s lives and reduces transmission to others.”

This pilot project will determine whether HIV testing in pharmacies can complement existing HIV testing programs. Through the STOP HIV/AIDS program, HIV testing has been expanded throughout Vancouver and is available at community testing sites, hospitals, walk-in clinics and through family physicians.

An HIV positive person on their prescribed medication is up to 96 per cent less likely to transmit the infection. It is estimated there are 3,500 people in British Columbia who are infected with HIV but don’t know it.

29 Jul

First in Canada: two Vancouver pharmacies begin a pilot to offer HIV tests to customers

July 29th, 2014

VANCOUVER – Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and Providence Health Care (PHC) are piloting the feasibility of local pharmacies offering HIV tests to their customers – a first in Canada.

Starting this month, pharmacists at two Vancouver Medicine Shoppe pharmacies, located at 2030 Kingsway Ave. and 6180 Fraser St., will offer customers a rapid HIV test. Customers will know their test results on the spot in less than five minutes. During a year-long pilot, pharmacists trained by HIV nurses from VCH and PHC will offer customers an optional HIV test for free. Each pharmacy is located next to a Pacific Medical Walk-in Clinic where doctors will provide support to patients and link them to care and treatment, if required.

“B.C. is recognized as a global leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS and I believe that through bold action and smart investment we can remain leaders,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “This pilot is another step forward and will go a long way to improve early diagnosis and save lives.”

“People can now get an HIV test while they are waiting for their prescriptions,” said Dr. Réka Gustafson, medical health officer and medical director, Communicable Disease Control, VCH. “Offering HIV testing at more locations like your local pharmacy helps normalize testing and reduces the stigma around it so that it’s more acceptable to people to get tested.”

Feasibility and effectiveness of the pilot will be evaluated over the course of the year before determining next steps. The pilot is being funded through the Province’s Seek and Treat for the Optimal Prevention (STOP) of HIV/AIDS program—a program focused on better reaching and engaging British Columbians in HIV prevention, testing and care. The HIV tests offered as part of the pilot will be free-of-charge to the patient.

“This is the first time a pharmacy in Canada is offering HIV tests to its clients,” said Bob Rai, pharmacist and co-owner of the two Medicine Shoppe pharmacies. “We’re happy to try something innovative in an effort to help people live healthier lives.”

VCH and PHC hospitals were the first in Canada to offer routine HIV testing. More than 60 patients in Vancouver hospitals have tested positive for HIV since the program began in October 2011. These patients would otherwise not have known they were infected. Prior to these pilots, usually only those at high risk for HIV such as those who use intravenous drugs were offered the test.

“We see too many people who are newly diagnosed with HIV, but are already in the advanced stages of the disease,” said Dr. Gustafson. “We can’t stress enough how very crucial early treatment is for those infected. While HIV is a chronic infection, early treatment prolongs and improves people’s lives and reduces transmission to others.”

This pilot project will determine whether HIV testing in pharmacies can complement existing HIV testing programs. Through the STOP HIV/AIDS program, HIV testing has been expanded throughout Vancouver and is available at community testing sites, hospitals, walk-in clinics and through family physicians.

An HIV positive person on their prescribed medication is up to 96 per cent less likely to transmit the infection. It is estimated there are 3,500 people in British Columbia who are infected with HIV but don’t know it.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is responsible for the delivery of $3.2 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea-to-sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.

Providence Health Care (PHC) is one of Canada’s largest faith-based health care organizations, operating 16 health care facilities in Greater Vancouver. PHC operates one of two adult academic health science centres in the province, performs cutting-edge research in more than 30 clinical specialties, and focuses its services on six “populations of emphasis”: cardio-pulmonary risks and illnesses, HIV/AIDS, mental health, renal risks and illness, specialized needs in aging and urban health and is home to the B.C. Centre for Excellence (BCCfE) in HIV/AIDS.

STOP HIV/AIDS was launched as a pilot in Vancouver and Prince George on February 4, 2010, with provincial funding totaling $48 million through to March 2013. Due to early evidence of success, on November 30, 2012, the Minister of Health announced province-wide implementation of the lessons learned from the STOP HIV/AIDS pilot starting in April 2013. Its aim is to reduce HIV-related morbidity and mortality, reduce the number of new HIV infections and contain associated health system costs.

Province-wide implementation of the STOP HIV/AIDS program is supported by annual provincial funding totaling $19.9 million, allocated to the five regional health authorities, Providence Health Care, the BCCfE, the Provincial Health Services Authority, and the Medical Beneficiary & Pharmaceutical Division.

CONTACT:
Tiffany Akins, communications leader
Vancouver Coastal Health
Phone: 604-708-5281
Cell: 604-319-7530
tiffany.akins@vch.ca

Web: www.vch.ca

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