Murtaza Hassanali

Name: Murtaza Hassanali

Community of Residence: Edmonton, Alberta

Year of Admission to Practice (Alberta): 2004

Current Place of Employment: Shoppers Drug Mart  


Identify other relevant professional experience, achievements or areas of focus related to your practice history:


I graduated from the University of Alberta in 2004. I have worked as a pharmacist, pharmacy manager and currently I am the associate owner of Shoppers Drug Mart Meadowbrook and Tamarack locations in Edmonton. Previously I had the opportunity to work in pharmaceutical research, long-term care facility, independent pharmacies and several corporate chains and franchises. I am intrigued by technology and was one of the founding members of pharmacist clinical software called QlinicalRx, I have worked with Drugbank (one of the largest drug databases) and I have had the opportunity to teach therapeutics at the Brendin Institute. I have achieved my authorization to administer drugs by injection, additional prescribing authorization (APA) and I am a Certified Diabetic Educator (CDE), I am continually expanding my scope of practice and so far I have fully embraced the current full scope in my practice providing a pharmacist-led diabetic clinic out of my pharmacy. In overall I believe my past and varied experiences will help be provide unique ideas and I hope to be a contributing member of the board. 


Describe past opportunities where you held a leadership role either in a professional or volunteer capacity:


I am currently a Peer’s Representative for the associate owners in my district and I form a liaison between our franchisor Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation and the other associate owners of each store (franchisee). I am also the chair of Alberta Professional Practice committee for Shoppers Drug Mart – with our mandate being to provide education, training, develop tools and organize conferences for pharmacists and pharmacist-owners to develop and embrace the enhanced scope of practice and patient care service model.  I have held a position in CIC – Community Invest Committee of Shoppers Drug Mart and made decisions on disbursement of funds to charities and organizations. I was also the co-chair and team lead for our district for Lois Hole foundation for women in our annual “Shoppers Love You” campaign where we have raised over 1 million dollars for the Lois Hole foundation in the last few years in conjunction with other districts in Edmonton area. In working with Royal Alexander foundation, I also was the lead to start funding for the “Maternal Heart Health Program “a first of the kind in western Canada.


I actively volunteer with Diabetes Canada, especially in SADEC – South Asian Diabetes Education Committee and provide the team with pharmacist perspectives and help organize community awareness days and talks related to diabetes medication adherence and value. Our dedicated, proactive Committee meets regularly to strategize potential educational opportunities as well as coordinate activities that support the attainment of optimal quality of life for all members of the South Asian community at-risk for and living with diabetes.  My other volunteer activities include annual participation as with “Dil-walk” which is committed to increasing the awareness of heart disease across the life continuum. I also volunteer in our Mosque activity where I also hold a position in the executive committee that runs the daily affairs of the community.


Finally, I also take a leadership role in training our new graduates and volunteer as a preceptor for the University of Alberta. In the past I have taught foreign trained pharmacist in Bredin Institute.


Describe your personal vision for the future of pharmacist practice?


Pharmacy is becoming a dynamic profession with an ever changing landscape. At the heart of this I believe lies two things; our patients and our livelihood. Our future practice must address both otherwise we will not be successful in either. When we think of our patients, our practice must evolve to accommodate for the new information which is flowing through several channels. Our populations are becoming social media savvy and the internet almost makes every patient think they are a pharmacist. New medications are released on daily basis and we have constant tug of war between generics and brands. To add on this – we now have biologics and bio- similars that form a new and emerging class of medication. Genetic and personalized medicine is the future and this will lead to individualized care for each patients. Pharmacists have to fight to be at helm of this and the power will only come if we are ahead in the education curve. We will need continuous education and updates at our finger tips to keep up with changing climate. With this education we will continue to offer our patients correct information and help them maneuver through the complexities of their health and medication through the enhanced scope of practice which will allow us to deliver the services in an efficient manner.


On the other hand, to be able to acquire this knowledge and disburse to patient requires years of training and effort, which will be respected if the profession offers careers that have a successful return and livelihood. This could be based on salary for those employed or better business return for those in business or professional growth for those in other careers related to pharmacy in a corporate or independent environment. With the health budget getting bigger and unsustainable year to year – we have to figure out a way to offer long-term solutions to curb medical expenses and yet be able to sustain our current revenue streams.


I believe enhanced patient care services is one of those solutions today as it focuses on preventative medication with long term returns and reduced future expenses if carried out well. We have few weeds that need to be removed that misuse and endanger the whole profession andthe future of the pharmacy must have solid structure to uproot these practices. Our negotiations with the stakeholders must allow for ongoing reimbursement and growth of the profession.


Identify from your perspective, RxA’s 2017 – 2018 priorities to enhance the profession: 


1)      Blue Cross and AHS agreement for enhanced services – this related to my later point above that if pharmacist have to be relevant, an income flow is necessary

2)      Funding for RxA – Finances are required to be able to strongly promote our cause be it though lobbying and hiring of the correct personal to represent our profession and negotiate on our behalf. We need to ensure the ongoing funding stays ($0.05 per rx), In addition, we need to ensure that all parties- corporate and independent support and promote their pharmacist to join RxA. Membership should “almost” become necessary for pharmacists.

3)      Education for all – I am proponent that all pharmacists should get education offered by RxA, although difficult with the current optional membership status, we need to understand that in the eyes of the public, all and any pharmacist will always reflect on RxA. Incompetent pharmacists reflect poorly on our profession and results in cases that always provide a negative feedback that will reflect our abilities to negotiate with stakeholders. We should continue to invest in social media platforms and long-distance education so all pharmacists, rural and urban are able to benefit from RxA driven initiatives.