OCTOBER 2021 – The Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy is launching a new fund to encourage innovation in community pharmacy, made possible by a large initial donation from the Nashat family.
The new fund will focus on community-based research that shows the return on investment (ROI) of new services, technologies or approaches to patient care.
“Pharmacy is trying to innovate but one of the things we lack sometimes is the business case, which is often the thing that drives why things happen or don’t happen. The ROI component is important to ensure funding or investment continues after the research is over,” explains Michael Nashat, who is a second-generation pharmacist with his brother, Robert, and whose father, Magdy, opened his first pharmacy in Canada in 1997. The Nashat family is now involved in the operation of more than 30 pharmacies in Ontario, and Michael is co-founder of OnPharm, a network of more than 600 independent pharmacies across Canada and TerrAScend, a public company that sells cannabinoid products in Canada and legalized states in the U.S.
For example, the research may show an ROI in terms of savings as well as improved health outcomes, or increased capacity for patients for the same amount of dollars. “We want to show why using a certain technique, technology or approach for an existing service—like medication reviews that are already funded by a provincial government—is better than the status quo,” summarizes Nashat. He adds that new approaches could include collaborative care models with other healthcare providers.
Scalability is also a key consideration. “For example, we could fund a proof of concept for an app that shows it can do something in 10 minutes that used to take 40. That’s great information for all pharmacists to know.”
While CFP’s current Innovation Fund already supports these types of projects to some extent, the goal of the new fund is to encourage more applications directly from community pharmacists, who would be partnered with researchers.
“We’re really hoping that new people will apply from outside of academia. It’s about being really collaborative by opening doors for community pharmacists and opening the minds of researchers to what’s happening in the real world,” says Nashat.
As a former board member of CFP, Nashat says the Foundation was a natural choice to administer the new fund. Its charitable status demands a level of governance that removes bias and invites others to be part of the initiative. “We don’t want this to be a Nashat Award. We really hope others will step up and donate as well. This type of practical research is more important than ever.”
The Nashat family will donate more than $100,000 to launch the new fund. CFP will provide more details early in 2022, or contact Executive Director Dayle Acorn for more information.