Fire-affected pharmacies step in to help


Helen Feng, owner of the Alliance Pharmacy Tallangatta, meets local CFA crew members.
Helen Feng, owner of the Alliance Pharmacy Tallangatta, meets local CFA crew members.

Pharmacy Alliance has established a bushfire appeal and aims to raise a quarter of a million dollars to help affected people

The group plans to raise the funds to help support bushfire-affected pharmacies in their efforts to help their local communities by providing free medication and personal care items.

Currently, there are eight Pharmacy Alliance pharmacies in NSW and Victoria which are operating under bushfire conditions.

These pharmacies have limited access to electricity, the Internet, medications and essential pharmacy products.

The affected pharmacies are Eden Pharmacy, Moruya Pharmacy and Ballards Pharmacy in NSW; and Corryong Pharmacy, Lakes Esplanade Pharmacy, Mallacoota Pharmacy, Orbost Pharmacy and Tallangatta Pharmacy in Victoria.

Helen Feng, owner of Alliance Pharmacy Tallangatta, said the bushfire experience has seen the Upper Murray community band together in “unbelievable” support.

“The Upper Murray region has faced evacuations and Watch and Act warnings since December 30 last year, when fires jumped the river from NSW, forcing many community members out of their home and into an uncertain future,” Ms Feng said.

“It was confronting to see so many evacuees take refuge at the local Tallangatta Memorial Hall, some without the simplest things like shoes or toothbrushes, leaving behind most of their possessions.

“I was speaking to a seven-year-old girl evacuated from Corryong, devastated at having to leave behind two family pets. It was heartbreaking,” said Ms Feng.

“Since the beginning of the Upper Murray fire crisis, so many of our community members have worked tirelessly to support the emergency crews helping us and the communities of our neighbours in distress.

“Here at the pharmacy we are doing everything we can to assist those in need at this tragic time.”

Arrotex Australia is the first industry partner to donate to the Alliance Pharmacy Bushfire Appeal, pledging $40,000 to support of the affected pharmacies.

Dennis Bastas, Chairman and CEO of Arrotex Australia, said the company will donate $5,000 to each of the eight bushfire-affected pharmacies.

“In many of the bushfire affected regions, pharmacy remains a central hub for the community,” he said.

“During this trying time, we believe our ability to help these communities is through the support of their local pharmacy, who can make a positive on-the-ground difference.”

Fifty Alliance Pharmacy member pharmacies will donate all non-prescription sales to the appeal on Thursday 16th January, with customer donations also accepted at a number of member pharmacies across Australia.

Simon Reynolds, Managing Director Pharmacy Alliance said, “Our member pharmacists and teams in bushfire affected areas are working in unprecedented conditions – they are Australia’s healthcare heroes.

“Pharmacy Alliance is all about independent pharmacy being ‘better together’ and right now our members and their communities need our support more than ever. The mission of our Bushfire Appeal is to support the safety of communities in affected areas.

“We hope the number of pharmacies and communities impacted by the bushfires doesn’t increase, but we are ready and willing to extend our support if it does,” Mr Reynolds said.

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