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2022 PharmacyFirst Conference

Last week’s PharmacyFirst conference in Rotorua was a great opportunity for pharmacy owners and staff who have been totally consumed by the stress of keeping their business going during COVID to stand back and think about the future of their industry.

Two key conference themes were:

· Strength of Independent Pharmacy

· Ignoring the market clutter

The vibe at the conference was motivated, determined and supportive – which reflects the qualities of the 100 pharmacies who found a way to attend in spite of the current sector workforce difficulties.

The positive mindset was apparent in the parallel one-day conference for retail staff led by the Independent Pharmacy Group. 35 retail staff participated in a packed programme and a number of them stayed on for the Conference Dinner on Saturday night. Owners whose staff attended got maximum value from the conference because of the shared learning opportunities that only an out-of-pharmacy event can deliver.


The Independent Pharmacy Group hosted three 1-2 hour workshops focused on opportunities to improve business performance in 4 key areas:

- Instore experience

- Retail operations

- Team communication

- Digital marketing

Pharmacy owners worked in small groups and were shown how to identify and prioritize opportunities in their business for taking action using the process below:

Guest Speaker highlights

1. Pharmacist Greg Macpherson, founder of SRW Laboratories about his company’s goal to help people to age well. He talked about the growing science of cellular health and how supplementation and lifestyle changes can be combined with DNA testing and a knowledge of epigenetics to improve healthspan and reduce the signs of ageing. The company is launching a health coaching app that will enable pharmacy staff to stay in touch with SRW customers and provide ongoing support.

2. Dr Glen Davies – 2021 GP of the Year challenged the audience with his revolutionary approach to preventative healthcare using Lifestyle Medicine in conjunction with fewer pharmaceuticals. He concluded that pharmacy is best-placed to provide “pre-primary care” and support of clients with this move towards health coaching and de-prescribing.

3. Last, but definitely not least – we heard from Dr Will Evans, Medical Director of Mana Health and researcher in the uses and properties of cannabinoids and psychedelics. Dr Evans explained that it appears that these substances are going to be seen as enabling drugs – that open pathways for health changes that can’t otherwise be achieved with existing treatment approaches. He then led the entire conference in a breathing and meditation exercise that transformed the energy in the room and left everyone on a natural high.

Common theme

Four of the guest speakers spoke about pharmacy’s growing role as a provider of behavioural change support and specialised, personalised health improvement advice. This was best summed up by Dr Glen Davies who pointed out that health coaches in pharmacy are an important solution to the current broken healthcare model.

So the future is bright for pharmacies who can tap into these new opportunities.

It is clear that the key to unlocking this exciting future is the hands-on leadership role that motivated pharmacy owners play – and that that is something the corporate pharmacy chains can’t match.


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