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What is the Pharmacists-at-Risk program?

The Pharmacists-at-Risk program is a voluntary, confidential, non-punitive program that enables pharmacists to seek help with or achieve resolution of a personal problem. The program has been developed to provide help, support and assistance for troubled pharmacists. It is committed to assist those colleagues who are experiencing personal problems which can adversely affect their professional performance. It provides compassionate help and understanding and advocates assistance rather than punishment.

Until the establishment of the Pharmacists-at-Risk committee the impaired professional was almost exclusively a neglected group. Treatment was hampered by difficulties in identifying the individual¡¯s problem and by lack of positive motivation to encourage the impaired professional to seek treatment. Also by the profession¡¯s population itself ¨C which up to this point denied and ¡°covered up¡± the problem.

Traditionally as is here in Manitoba, the job or responsibility of the administration of the Pharmaceutical Association, is primarily the protection of the public, as well as educating and licensing pharmacists. This same body also has the responsibility for disciplining pharmacists when a member¡¯s conduct, negligence, misconduct, conviction or personal habit is the subject of a hearing held by the Discipline Committee.

Before the advent of the Pharmacists-at-Risk committee many cases that were brought before the Association¡¯s Discipline Committee were dealt with swiftly, often resulting in fines and/or suspensions. The underlying causative factors that resulted in the disciplinary action however, often went unnoticed.

Concerns for events such as these, promoted the collaboration, Mr. Vern Cooke, Mr. Don Braun and the late Mr. Norm Taylor (then a supervisor at AFM) who along with the aid and assistance of members of an allied medical ¡°at risk¡± program formed a group to help our own afflicted pharmacists. This group is still known as the Pharmacists-at-Risk committee. The committee was formed in 1981 and was comprised of pharmacists who shared the same cares and concerns; that of helping his/her friend or colleague get away from a self-destructive pattern of living and on to a healthier, more productive way of life.