NOVEMBER 2019 – Sometimes change occurs when you least expect it, and sometimes it happens only when you take a leap of faith. The latter is the case for Michael Kani, owner and pharmacist at Michael’s Remedy Rx in Saskatoon, SK. When Kani graduated, he wanted to change the pharmacy profession and take on the world. He worked at a chain pharmacy for two years but found it to be stifling.
“I just came out of school and I was ready to conquer the world, only to find out that what I was practising wasn’t what I expected,” he says. “Out of that disappointment I decided that if I could work in my own pharmacy I would, but what really pushed me was my love for working in small communities and connecting with patients.”
Kani realized he preferred knowing the names of his patients and learning about their lives, as opposed to simply offering them a straight service. He wanted to replicate that small-town experience in a city like Saskatoon, so he figured out what he needed to do to open a pharmacy.
“It’s probably the hardest thing that I’ve ever done, mainly because they don’t teach you that in pharmacy school,” he says. “I took a huge leap of faith and then just jumped.”
It’s been three years since he opened his pharmacy and business is thriving even though the pharmacy is located right next door to a large chain pharmacy. Kani credits his success to taking that small-town connection and putting it into practice. But he also points to his ability to embrace change and try new ventures. His pharmacy specializes in medical cannabis consulting and referrals, a service for which he bills patients directly. In addition, the pharmacy has launched a pet prescription medication service that offers drugs that were previously only available through veterinarians. While the service is causing some turf issues with local vets, the community has embraced it.
“I’m constantly looking for creative and innovative ways to set me apart as a pharmacy and as a business. When other people zig, I want to zag, and while I’m currently re-evaluating the pet prescription service, I aim to keep innovating,” he says.
Kani recently opened a second pharmacy in a small town some 15 minutes outside of Saskatoon. This time around it was an easier endeavour because he was able to learn from his mistakes. In fact, he’s sharing his learnings with others in the profession. Among the presentations he makes for various pharmacy groups is one called, “Opening a Pharmacy? These are the Things You Need to Know.”
“I feel like it’s my mission to share that information and help others,” he says.