A new Vernon pharmacy aims to combine the best of the old and new worlds of pharmaceutical care — and they’ve found a suitable place to do so, having set up shop downtown in a building formerly home to a family pharmacy of 40 years.
Comprised of four pharmacists and two married couples, Logan McNeil, Sana Shahram, Josh Brady and Claire Ishoy are the team behind Pivot Rx. The pharmacy has been designed around patient access and community care support, to help take the load off acute care services.
Pivot’s design also does away with the privacy issues that exist at most big-chain pharmacies. In other words, there’s no more having to call out your prescription from over the counter; set up more like a family doctor clinic, clients are brought to one of three private consultation rooms to speak with a pharmacist one-on-one.
“One of the things Logan and Josh both found was you have to have a lot of conversations right at the counter, and it makes it pretty uncomfortable for people to hear or ask questions,” Shahram explained. “So this way we just take that out of the equation and everything’s always happening in privacy.”
McNeil says community pharmacies have been integral to Canada’s COVID-19 response at the local level. When the pandemic fully hit in March 2020, he and Brady were both working in big-chain pharmacy franchises, where they noticed gaps in the system which they felt they could address with their own venture.
“It just so happens that it turns out to be ideally set up for a post-COVID world,” Shahram said of the private rooms that are currently segmented by plexiglass. The hope is Pivot can become part of the local COVID-19 vaccine rollout at some point in the pandemic.
“We’re actually perfectly set up right now to shuttle people into those rooms, get them vaccinated and that way they don’t have to be standing around.”
The co-owners saw Pivot as a chance to embrace innovation and technology, while also going back in time to offer the “old-school” face-to-face care model.
Prior to securing the building at 3309 30th Avenue, the co-owners had no idea they were setting up shop in the former quarters of Doug MacKay, who owned and operated MacKay’s Prescriptions for close to 40 years from the late 1940s and into the ’80s.
The Pivot team recently connected with the granddaughters of MacKay, who told them about Doug’s business.
“It was a huge staple in the community so many people remember it, remember their parents going there and it being just a great pharmacy and super patient-centred,” Shahram said.
“It’s kind of crazy that we ended up in a space that literally was an old pharmacy, so we’re sort of embodying the old and the new.”