U of M pharmacy to close at end of April

Students can transfer prescriptions to their pharmacy of choice before end of month

The pharmacy in UMSU University Centre will close at the end of this month. The closure of the pharmacy was announced in October.

Ahmed Hasan, a third year student at the University of Manitoba, said the pharmacy in University Centre was the primary pharmacy that they used, and it has been reliable resource for him since he lives on campus. 

Hasan said having a pharmacy on campus is very important to him, since he spends most of his week on campus, so when he has to pick up prescriptions, he can easily access them.   

“It works with my insurance constantly, I don’t have to figure out my group number, my certificate number,” they said.

“It’s built for the insurance that students have.”

Hasan said losing the pharmacy on campus will be “really sad” for them, as they will now have to figure out a new pharmacy to go to, review their insurance policy and notify their doctor. 

“It’s too much of a hassle especially for someone who needs medication every month, like me,” he said.

Hasan was shocked when he learned that the pharmacy was going to close.

“When I was told that, honestly, it just felt sad and I couldn’t understand it,” they said.

“It just seemed not reasonable, because it’s a service that a lot of people use and its very useful.” 

Andrea Edmunds, executive director of UM Ancillary Services, said in an email to the Manitoban that the pharmacy was established in 1974 with the goal of providing a student practicum opportunity for college of pharmacy students, but “more stringent rules and increased oversight” by the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba “have resulted in the current location and business model of the pharmacy no longer being sustainable.”

“Ancillary services is a strong advocate for supporting student success and we would not be moving forward in this manner unless it was necessary to do so,” Edmunds said.

Edmunds said the pharmacy does “not have the volume, physical space or operating environment to support a traditional business model” hire additional pharmacists and comply with regulations.

Edmunds also pointed to reduced sales since the COVID-19 pandemic as a factor.

Hasan is a resident advisor for students living on campus, and they regularly refer students with prescriptions to the pharmacy on campus.  

“If I was an RA for example next year again, I’m not going to be able to help a lot of these students because it will be more difficult, it will be more time consuming,” he said. “Especially if they are moving from another country, it must be confusing because they need to learn an entirely new health system.” 

Edmunds said many of the pharmacy’s services will be made available at different locations on campus.

With the pharmacy closing, some over-the-counter medications will become available at GPA’s Campus Convenience. The UM Bookstore will carry retail items such as stamps, will serve as a pick up/drop-off location for Amazon and will offer some Canada Post services.

Those who use the campus pharmacy can transfer prescriptions to a pharmacy of their choice before the end of the month. After this deadline, remaining prescription files will be transferred to Greencrest Pharmacy at 1-2770 Pembina Highway.