Independent Pharmacists stand shoulder to shoulder with chains

MISSISSAUGA, ON, April 23 /CNW/ - The Independent Pharmacists Association of Ontario (IPO) said they will stand shoulder to shoulder with chain pharmacies in order to stop the massive frontline health care cuts proposed by the McGuinty government.

Health Minister Deb Matthews has been quick to paint the proposed health care cuts as a battle between the government and big pharmacy chains, but it is the small independent-owned pharmacies, which make up the majority of pharmacies in Ontario, that are most at risk of going out of business under the new plan.

This week, Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) president Sid Ryan and Minister Matthews have both suggested a consumer boycott of Shoppers Drug Mart, while Ryan urged independent pharmacies to distance themselves from banner and chain pharmacies. Independent pharmacists rejected this idea, and reiterated their solidarity with pharmacies, big and small, across Ontario.

"We are all in this together - not just the pharmacy community but seniors, people with chronic illnesses like diabetes, people without doctors, and other patients who will be affected by these cuts." said Ben Shenouda, president of IPO. "We stand together because we all share the same priorities: protecting vital patient care and services, and reforming Ontario's drug system to ensure community pharmacies can continue to deliver those services in the future."

"Independent neighbourhood pharmacies will be hurt the most by these cuts, and some will be driven out of business," said Emad Nossier, a community pharmacist and member of the IPO Board. "But the McGuinty government's huge cuts will force every single pharmacy in the province to re-evaluate the level of service it can provide to patients. That's something that affects us all, chain or independent. If Sid Ryan understood the impact of the McGuinty government's cuts, he would realize that they won't just affect community pharmacists - they will also cut frontline health services that hard-working members of the OFL rely on."

The IPO, which represents independent community pharmacists, has joined a coalition of pharmacists asking the public to call their MPPs at 1-866-880-6531 or visit www.stopcuts.ca to register their opposition.

The Independent Pharmacists Association of Ontario (IPO) is a non-profit organization dedicated to representing Ontario's independent community pharmacists. IPO is a member of Ontario's community pharmacies coalition, the unified voice of pharmacy in Ontario.

SOURCE INDEPENDENT PHARMACISTS ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO (IPO)

For further information: For further information: Ben Shenouda, President, Independent Pharmacists Association of Ontario, (416) 566-7258

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INDEPENDENT PHARMACISTS ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO (IPO)

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