Supporting Innovation in Pharmacy for a Healthier Canada

Celebrating innovation and partnerships

June 2015—Pharmacy stakeholders gathered at CFP’s annual Innovation Gala this past spring, got a first-hand account of how grant recipients are pushing the profession forward.


John Papastergiou

Innovation Fund grant recipient John Papastergiou, of Shoppers Drug Mart in Toronto, spoke about his research in examining the benefit of pharmacist home medication reviews for non-homebound patients, with the ultimate goal being to extend Ontario funding in this regard. University of Saskatchewan’s Dr. Jeff Taylor expanded on the need for documenting and disseminating information about the role of pharmacists in the treatment of minor ailments. “CFP saw that Canadian pharmacists needed this information and without support we would  have stalled early on,” he said via video clip. “This support is helping us achieve something that will benefit payers, government and patients.”

Attendees also heard from keynote speaker Suzanne McGurn, assistant deputy minister and executive officer Ontario Public Drug Plans. She stressed the need for stronger partnerships between pharmacy and government that put patients front and centre.

“We know pharmacists are highly educated, trusted members of your family’s healthcare team, and they are professionals who are held to a high standard of practice,” she told the audience. “It’s important to maintain that trusted position as we are only as good as the lowest common ability—therefore, we must ensure we respond to concerns that are identified even if they don’t apply to you because they can impact your profession.”

McGurn highlighted the success of Ontario’s MedsCheck initiative in prompting the government to expand the program to people with diabetes and in long-term care. “Approximately 2.5 million Ontarians have received a MedsCheck service in close to nine years,” she said. But she also pointed to the need for government to continually assess the value of these programs and ensure they are being provided consistently.

“I believe that in any work that we do, we need to keep the recipient of care at the forefront of all actions, policy, education and professional advocacy,” she said. “We are collectively and personally responsible for putting patients first and for leading partnerships.”

For more information on the 2015 and past CFP Innovation Fund grant recipients go to