Sponsored each year by the Canadian Pharmacists Association, Pharmacy Awareness Week 2005 is from March 5-13 this year. The theme for 2005 is ?A Healthy Partnership: You and Your Pharmacist.? The Tumbler Ridge People?s Pharmacy, located in Jade Hardware, is owned by pharmacists Michael Ortynsky and Charissa Tonnesen. They share alternate weeks between pharmacies here and in Fort St. John. Ortynsky recalls that the town was without a pharmacist for close to two years. In the summer of 2000, after the permanent pharmacist relocated, he and Tonnesen would do relief work. They volunteered to substitute until a new pharmacist was found, but that never happened. When the license for the pharmacy was about to expire in March of 2001, they purchased the dispensary section of the pharmacy and by 2002, the pharmaceutical area.
The route to become a pharmacist is not an easy one. Ortynsky says that it is harder now than it used to be. A pharmacist is licensed by the province and while becoming a pharmacist in the first place is more difficult, the process of writing an exam for accreditation in an additional province has become less complex. The education behind pharmaceutical is a medical degree, which takes 5-7 years. Ortynky and Tonnesen are accredited through the College of Pharmacists which is sanctioned under the BC Government ?Health Professional Act?.