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Ramon’s insights on the transformation of pharmacy

Board Member Ramon Goober on the transformation of pharmacy | Ramon Goomber - Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy

Ramon’s insights on the transformation of pharmacy

New CFP board member Ramon Goomber, a pharmacist and Business Lead, Pharmacy Solutions and Strategy at GSK, draws from his various roles in community and corporate pharmacy to provide his perspective on the future of pharmacy.

Why did you join CFP?

Being a pharmacist is such an important part of me, and I am always looking for ways to support, enhance and give back to the profession.  I really admire the work that CFP is doing to support the advancement of the profession and I was truly honored to be asked to join the Board of Directors this year.

What expertise do you bring the Board?

In my 17 years as a pharmacist, I’ve been fortunate to be able to explore many different areas of practice before joining the leadership team at GSK.  After graduating from the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto, I took on a clinical instructor role and began practising as a community pharmacist.  It wasn’t long before my career split into three paths. 

The first led me on a mission to give back to the profession. I worked with the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy teaching in both the International Pharmacy Graduate and Undergraduate programs.  I supported the development of course curriculum and admissions criteria.  I joined the Alumni and Awards committees, and ultimately the Dean’s Advisory Board. Then in my role at GSK, I was able to support the creation of two endowed chairs at the Faculty, focused on drug delivery research and vaccine education.            

My second career path led me to becoming a franchise pharmacy owner.  I eventually went on to open three independent pharmacies, including one specialty pharmacy.  I’ve also taken on progressively senior roles in corporate pharmacy. I worked as Director of Operations in long-term care, infusion, mail-order, addiction, hospital out-patient, and retail pharmacy.  I moved into the role of Sr. Director of Specialty Pharmacy at McKesson prior to taking on my current role at GSK where I am responsible for pharmacy strategy and engagement across all therapeutic areas.

What are some of the key challenges facing the pharmacy profession today?

As with all regulated health professions, COVID-19 has identified many areas of opportunity, as well as challenge. There is an increasingly concerning shortage of family physicians in Canada, and 20-25% of Canadians either have no family physician,or limited access to one.  Expansion in pharmacists’ scope of practice can help support not only these patients but increase access to care for all Canadians while also easing the burden on physicians. 

With the expansion of scope of practice, we’ve seen increased demands on pharmacies, limited availability of resources and increased burnout.  In the post COVID-19 era, fewer and fewer new pharmacy graduates are choosing community pharmacy as a preferred place of practice.   Pharmacy scope varies widely across Canada, creating inequality in our ability to provide a consistent level of care across the country. It also causes confusion for patients who end up under-utilizing the pharmacy services available.

What would you like CFP to do more of help address some of these challenges?

I think we need to look at targeting our investments in forward-thinking research and innovation in key areas where the profession most needs support.  I feel that CFP is well positioned to be part of the solution. 

What makes you excited about pharmacy today?

I love being a pharmacist.  I think it’s one of those truly dynamic professions where you can be creative, academic, innovative, accessible and even entrepreneurial—all while being able to make a positive impact on the health of many, or even just one person at a time. Pharmacists took on a significant leadership role during the pandemic and as a result we have more support for advancement of the profession than ever before.  It’s very exciting to be a part of this transformation.

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