Vale John Morgan, pioneering pharmacist

Funeral lily

Victorian pharmacist John Morgan, a pioneer of now-mainstream pharmacy concepts such as forward pharmacy, has passed away at the age of 79.

Morgan helped pioneer medication reviews, collaborative practice with GPs and forward pharmacy; with his business partner Barry Rule he operated Mornington’s Morgan and Rule Pharmacy.

“He was a great man, he was a visionary and he was ahead of his time,” Jenny Gowan, consultant pharmacist at MediCom Medication Management Services, told the AJP.

“He used to say, ‘softly, softly catchee monkey, Jenny,’ because we were breaking into new fields. One of his favourite sayings, on medication reviews when he was writing to doctors, was, ‘Is there a need?’ He would get a good response from GPs with that approach.

“Morgan and Rule was the first forward pharmacy in Victoria. John was so enthusiastic about forward pharmacy: he’d say, ‘Pharmacists, sit at that forward pharmacy area, and if there’s no customers, keep sitting there and read a journal’.”

The pharmacy attracted large number of pharmacists, who came to see this new concept for themselves.

“John was somebody we looked up to for inspiration, enthusiasm and professionalism. He was one of the best community pharmacists I knew, but he never pushed himself forward,” Gowan says.

Morgan served on the Board of the Pharmaceutical Society of Victoria for a number of years, served on the CPD Committee and was involved with the trainee program, presenting regular sessions to the undergraduate students at the then Victorian College of Pharmacy.

“John was just a wonderful person and a real mentor to me,” says Neil Petrie from PRN Consulting.

“He was all about getting in touch with his patient: he wanted to get out among the people and help them. He felt that a pharmacist’s assets were really in the cognitive services we could offer, so he was instrumental in developing forward pharmacy. That enticed me to do the same thing in my pharmacy.

“He was instrumental in getting dispensary technicians trained, he was very supportive of that role.

“He got me started on medication reviews, as well. He gave me my first contract and really supported me in developing my role in that area – I have so much to thank him for,” Petrie says.

University of Technology Sydney’s Charlie Benrimoj told the AJP that Morgan was a quiet high achiever.

“He was interesting, because he was doing really, really innovative things in pharmacy and he never really liked pushing it in public, he just did it,” Prof Benrimoj says.

“He was the first pharmacist that I know that did forward pharmacy. He had visited the pharmacies in northern Europe, mainly the Nordic countries, and he was very interested in patient interactions.  he saw the model there and then he brought it to his pharmacy.

“His view was that the pharmacist should be interacting with the patient, and all the technical work could done by someone else. What he did was to get pharmacists sitting down at those stations, even without prescriptions to do, by getting them to read the journals. I thought that was fantastic.

“He was a great pharmacist, one of the innovative pharmacists of his era. And we’ll sadly miss him. He was a really modest bloke, didn’t go for presenting at conferences or anything like that: just did his work very quietly and very effectively.”

“A highly professional and caring pharmacist whose ideals I used a heck of a lot in my teaching and in trying to instill professionalism into students,” Kenn Raymond wrote on Facebook.

A Funeral Mass will be held on Monday at 10.30am at St Macartans Church in Mornington.


Image courtesy PSA Victoria.

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