New Spirit River pharmacy set to open next month

Construction of the pharmacy building on main street in Spirit River is ongoing. The new pharmacy aims to open in January 2021.

Following is a Q&A with Div Patel, owner of Div’s Pharmacy – PharmaChoice Spirit River:

Why did you choose a career in pharmacy?
I was very fascinated by this profession’s diverse, challenging and rewarding nature. I had always wanted to provide community service by helping people.

Div Patel

How long have you been a pharmacist?
I have been a pharmacist for seven years.

You are set to soon open a new drugstore in Spirit River. Do you think our area is big enough as a marketplace to host two pharmacies?
Yes, we are planning to open in January 2021. Our pharmacy is conveniently located on main street in Spirit River. In my opinion, there is enough room for two pharmacies in our area. I have looked at communities, which are of comparable size as our area, where there are two pharmacies operating. The pharmacies are doing just fine, while the communities are also being served well.

You have decided to offer natural products as well. Did you always have an interest in natural products and why might a natural approach work well, if not, better?
I studied natural medicine throughout my university years – which gave me good knowledge of natural products – in addition to pharmaceutical products.

How do you keep yourself updated with pharmaceutical trends?
For continuing education, I make sure I attend professional development courses. Additionally, I interact a lot with medical representatives from other pharmaceutical companies, subscribe to online resources, including websites hosted by the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada, as well as health journals.

When people bring in expired medications, what happens to them?
First of all, I appreciate customers who bring in expired drugs, as it is the proper thing to do. If a patient returns expired or unused prescription meds then we make sure that their identity on the vial is removed. Then we collect all the expired meds into a container, which then gets sent for environmentally safe disposal.

What aspects of the new pharmacy are you most excited about?
I am most excited about the opportunity to be in our area again and run a pharmacy that I hope will bring a positive impact to our community.

How has the role of a pharmacist changed you since you have been in the profession?
I’m very proud to be a part of a profession that, in my opinion, plays a vital role in patient care. The role of a pharmacist, especially in Alberta, has evolved over time and shifted beyond dispensing medications. Pharmacists have transitioned into roles with greater patient-care responsibilities. Pharmacists are assuming more significant roles as essential healthcare professionals. This means developing relationships with individuals and other health professionals in their team through good practices and meaningful, caring experiences. The best example I can think of is the role of pharmacies in our immunization program.

What can we expect to find in the new pharmacy that will make it stand out?
We will strive to provide personalized patient care. We will provide a range of services that will save the people in our community trips to Grande Prairie.

At A Glance

  • Business: Div’s Pharmacy – PharmaChoice Spirit River
  • Phone: (780) 882-2541
  • E-mail: