We speak to the next person in our 14 most influential people in pharmacy campaign, as voted by you
Independent Pharmacies of Australia – Founder & Team Leader
Community pharmacist and proprietor
Steve Flavel is one of the most provocative voices in Australian pharmacy in 2019. Here he speaks to AJP about his thoughts on the future of pharmacy.
Q: What are all your current roles?
First and foremost, I am both owner and pharmacist at Woody Point Pharmacy, a small family-run business situated just North of Brisbane, on the Redcliffe Peninsula.
I am also a keen and active advocate for Community Pharmacy, with particular emphasis on the Independent sector. Instead of regarding my fellow local pharmacy owners as ‘the competition’, this new-age landscape of quasi-corporate pharmacy has inspired me to ally with my peers.
I believe if all of us independent pharmacy owners can band together, negotiate better trading terms, increase our collective presence in the community and politically, more of us will survive the constant hits all of us are taking from corporate pharmacy.
Q: Where do you see pharmacy going in five years or where would you like to see pharmacy in five years?
The next five years will dictate the future of pharmacy, and I can only see two outcomes. Our first is to see the Pharmacy Guild successfully retain pharmacy ownership within the pharmacy profession, and through this we will hopefully see needed improvements to regulatory legislation regarding pharmacy ownership.
Our second option, the least favourable, is to see pharmacy lost to corporate hands, just like so many other business models in this day and age.
Q: Do you think the pharmacy industry/profession is on the right track, or is there more work that needs to be done?
I might not be popular for saying this – but I hear too much talk about how pharmacists can ‘do more’ for health care in Australia.
Frankly, pharmacists are going above and beyond to keep our nation healthy. Whether that be through careful dispensing, judicious S3 recommendation, health & medication advice, MedsChecks and Webster packing and so much more, pharmacists are doing more than enough already to be better remunerated for what we do.
These elements of pharmacy might not sound flashy, but they are the true backbone of the importance of pharmacies to our communities. Show me a pharmacist that has a spare ten minutes in the day that they are not utilising toward working hard for the community, and perhaps I’ll change my mind.
Q: How do you see yourself as influencing the pharmacy profession?
As custodians of pharmacy ownership in this generation it is our moral responsibility to protect the integrity of our profession, which can only be done with genuine pharmacist only ownership, as opposed to corporate.
My goal is to encourage others to get behind initiatives promoting community pharmacy ownership, in order to stand up and fight against corporate competition. In doing so, I hope we change our perspective of our local peers, in order to band together to get better deals to keep our local independent pharmacies not just viable but far more profitable.
Q: What would you like your primary influence on pharmacy to be?
Right now, my focus is to increase the viability and prosperity of as many independent pharmacies as possible with the Independent Pharmacies of Australia CSO trading terms that I have negotiated. The more independent pharmacies get on board, the better the trading terms will be so it’s a win for all of us to see more people signing up.
Most importantly, the more independent pharmacies that can be saved from this emerging corporate takeover of pharmacy, the more pharmacies there are for the next generation of aspiring pharmacists who dare to dream to have their own pharmacy one day.
I believe that by making a significant and positive difference to the net profit of hundreds of independent pharmacies, not only can we afford to serve our customers better, we can afford all important Pharmacy Guild membership. Only then can we strengthen the priority the Pharmacy Guild places in independent pharmacies holding the guild more accountable for negotiating for independent pharmacies – not just larger marketing group pharmacies.
See the full list of the 14 most influential people in pharmacy here