The King Island community has rallied around Divesh Sanghvi and Simon Reynolds, joint owners of the destroyed King Island Pharmacy.
The pharmacy was destroyed by an alleged arson attack over the long Australia Day weekend. A 20-year-old King Island man has appeared in the Burnie Magistrate’s Court charged with burglary, arson and stealing.
“The whole situation is confronting but rather than feel sorry for ourselves we are picking ourselves up as our community is everything to us,” Mr Sanghvi told the AJP.
“People have bent backwards to help us out. We have had an outpouring of support from landlords offering us their places temporarily with free rent, and Sigma delivering stock to us – so much so that we are out looking for a new location, and hope to be a bigger and better community pharmacy for the public, opening in the next four to six weeks.”
A temporary pharmacy has been set up to deal with the local community’s need for essential medicines.
“We love the King Island community and we want to make sure that they are not disadvantaged because of a low act,” says Mr Sanghvi.
“So in the meantime we have set up a pharmacy just for essential medicines dispensing out of two small consulting rooms in the King Island hospital.
“We have Pharmacy Alliance, to which this pharmacy belongs, to thank for all the help they have given to set us up quickly.”
Sanghvi also acknowledged the enormous help contributed by his pharmacist, Cynthia, and the Tasmanian Pharmacy Authority, Pharmacy Guild of Australia and Guild Insurance and Department of Health.
He says that Sigma’s Launceston distribution centre jumped into action upon hearing of the pharmacy’s destruction, responding quickly to calls for assistance.
Among then was supervisor John Brophy, who investigated the quickest way to despatch essential medicines, including items requiring refrigeration.
Brophy then processed and picked the order and personally delivered it to the airport where he ensured it was loaded onto the plane.
“This type of event is not something we expect or prepare for, so it is great to know that we can rely on our partner Sigma to help us through should the situation arise,” says Sanghvi.
“King Island needs a community pharmacy,” he says. “We will continue to operate business as usual while we go through the process of assessing our long-term options to rebuild our pharmacy.”
A newsagent and tourism business were also destroyed in the fire.
The damage caused by the blaze could cost at least an estimated $1m with the building housing the three businesses expected to be demolished.
by Jayamala Gupte