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Mothers In Pharmacy
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Mothers In Pharmacy

This Mother’s Day we wanted to celebrate all the hard-working mothers in Pharmacy and around Australia. Catherine Chiu from Hoopers Centre Pharmacy in Toowoomba sat down with us for an interview to discuss the challenges and joys of being a mother while owning and running a Pharmacy. 


Tell us a little bit more about Mia. 

Mia is 17 months old and a very sweet girl. 

When did you return to work after having Mia? 

When Mia was 3.5 months old

Does Mia enjoy working in the pharmacy? (tell us about her baby boss badge)

She loves working in the pharmacy for sure. All the customers would come up and greet her, she would wave and give them smiles. She ‘helps’ out with our everyday work- pushing baskets, ‘tidying’ the shelves, ‘sorting’ script baskets and working on dispensing ‘stickers’. 

What’s the biggest challenge when juggling mum duties and your career?

I think it’s finding time to do everything- being able to work, spend time with Mia and manage the business. I’ve reduced my working days from 6 days a week to 3 days a week and now 4 days a week so I can spend more time with Mia outside of work. As a result of that, I’ve also worked from home on many occasions for bookwork and stock management etc. I am grateful to have a good team of staff to support me, especially in the early days when there were constant breastfeeding and nappy change.

What advice can you give to other working mums?

Believe in yourself, you can do it, you are doing a great job. Enjoy every moment. I often have mum guilt because I didn’t do things like some of my other friends do with their children but I guess the most important thing I often remind myself is that it’s our first time being mum and baby so it’s a forever learning curve for us- there’s no right or wrong. Welcome, all support around you. I am blessed with a wonderful team of staff and a supporting family. My dad also comes in and helps me babysit regularly. Customers often tell me what grandpa and Mia are up to playing outside of the pharmacy.

What is one thing your mum taught you that you will never forget?

I grew up in my parents’ pharmacy like the way Mia did and hence the influence on me today? My mother was a very hard-working woman and dedicated herself to the family. Her love for us children had been selfless and something we always remember. 

Any other comments?

One team member mentioned to me one day how she noticed the customers all behave differently when Mia is around even the elderly men that are usually serious. I am glad Mia has the ability to bring happiness to more people and bring out the ‘child’ side for many adults. 

Our News
The all new ‘The Platform Alliance Group’ creates a buzz APP2022!
PAG Pharmacy Alliance at APP2022
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The all new ‘The Platform Alliance Group’ creates a buzz APP2022!

There was a great buzz at The Platform Alliance Group (PAG) stand at APP2022 as our Pharmacy Alliance and Pharmacy Platform teams came together to showcase their knowledge and expertise to the industry, members, and clients.  We brought together our consumer facing brands Advantage Pharmacy, Alliance Pharmacy, Chemist Discount Centre and our service brands Pharmacy Catalyst, Pharmacy Alliance, BuyITRight, KnowITAll and we delivered mini-sessions at our stand to educate everyone who wanted to learn more.

Our amazing pharmacists and industry partners have been in forefront of healthcare during COVID-19 and it was a great environment to reconnect and share stories at the APP2022 exhibition and at functions, as well as listen to some great insights during sessions.


Krysti-Lee Rigby, our Pharmacy Programs and Services Manager at Pharmacy Platform delivered a great workshop on change management and health services.  We now operate in a fast-changing world, so this workshop covered some crucial skills and pointers for pharmacy owners and managers.


This year our Pharmacy Catalyst member Cooleman Court Pharmacy took the honours of Pharmacy of The Year and Excellence in Professional Innovation Award, well deserved recognition for Brooke, Brad and the team.  We were also very proud to have had two finalists in the prestigious Pharmacy of the Year 2022, Karen Carter Chemist, and Cooleman Court Pharmacy.


At the PAG sponsored APP2022 panel session facilitated by Dave Fenlon PAG CEO ‘The Future of Community Pharmacy in a post COVID world’ it was unanimously acknowledged that community pharmacy has adapted, built some valuable goodwill with their communities and has shown that we are crucial to the future of health for all Australians.


APP2022 was a significant milestone for The Platform Alliance Group, and we look to sharing more of how we will continue to shape the future pharmacy and help our members, clients and partners create healthier communities.

Dave Fenlon at APP2022
Dave Fenlon on stage at APP2022
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Pharmacy Alliance and Pharmacy Platform join forces to create a stronger future for growth for independent pharmacies
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Pharmacy Alliance and Pharmacy Platform join forces to create a stronger future for growth for independent pharmacies

Pharmacy Alliance and Pharmacy Platform announce their merger to form The Platform Alliance Group (PAG)

This merger of two the leading independent pharmacy groups, outside of wholesale owned independent groups, brings together close to 1200 members dispensing over 1 million scripts per week and employing over 10,000 people who deliver the highest standard of pharmacy care in their local communities making this new entity the strongest independent pharmacy group and the largest independent pharmacy service provider in Australia.


The merger brings together two independent groups with heritage and a proven track record of supporting the health of Australians across Australia. The purpose of PAG will be to continue to support independent pharmacies to grow.


Steve Kastrinakis, PAG founder and pharmacist, said on behalf of the PAG board ‘1 in 5 pharmacies in Australia are now serviced by PAG and as a group we have a turnover of $2 billion in total sales – it’s clear to me, we are stronger together. Our purpose is simple, we want a strong future for independent pharmacy across Australia.’


Through the combined brands – Alliance Pharmacy, Advantage Pharmacy, Chemist Discount Centre, non-branded independent pharmacies and services provided via other parties PAG supports over 2500 pharmacies across Australia.’


Using the years of experience of founder pharmacists, Michael Flannery, Steve Kastrinakis and Simon Reynolds along with Dennis Bastas, entrepreneur and advocate for independent pharmacy and newly appointed CEO Dave Fenlon; and the combination of people skills and scale, the strategic priority will continue to be on consumer and patient experience and engagement in every member pharmacy.


The pharmacy industry is rapidly changing.  Many of these changes are being accelerated by COVID-19 making it an attractive investment opportunity for large corporations outside the industry.  Both Pharmacy Alliance and Pharmacy Platform have taken this step to protect the interests of individual independent pharmacy partners and to improve and integrate support solutions that grow their pharmacies.


Both Pharmacy Alliance and Pharmacy Platform have been supporting community pharmacies for over 20 years.  Both organisations recognise that independent pharmacy owners want localised support to suit their communities as well as personal support to help them achieve their goals.


Throughout COVID-19, Pharmacy Alliance and Pharmacy Platform has provided support to independent pharmacies who have experienced significant pressure with the added responsibility of administering COVID-19 vaccinations and experiencing staff shortages due to a lack of pharmacists available as well as staff needing to isolate.  These pressures will continue for some time.


In the longer term PAG will enhance and integrate their combined comprehensive suite of services, programs and pharmacy brands to allow independent pharmacists to be more agile and adapt to their community’s health needs in more quickly. PAG will provide independent pharmacies with:

    • industry leading buying solutions
    • best practice data, loyalty and reporting platforms
    • effective consumer engagement strategies to differentiate them from their competitors
    • unique coaching and implementation support for in-pharmacy professional programs and services


Dennis Bastas, pharmaceutical entrepreneur and PAG board member said: ‘PAG now has a powerhouse of expertise from both organisations in pharmacy operations, merchandise/category management, marketing, technology, logistics and distribution and human resource management to provide unparalleled support to independent pharmacy owners.’ 


Dave Fenlon, newly appointed CEO of PAG said: ‘The team that looks after the pharmacies today will look after them into the future. As such pharmacy members will continue their current membership with either Pharmacy Alliance or Pharmacy Platform and will continue to have a direct relationship with the respective operations teams or support offices as they do today.’


PAG is a people-led business and is committed to growing both member and supplier partner businesses. As a combined entity PAG sees a stronger future together with three primary goals of growing their people; growing member profitability and impact positively on the industry. 

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International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality. 

The theme for International Women’s Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias. Where we can imagine a gender equal world.


A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

A world where difference is valued and celebrated.


Together we can forge women’s equality and collectively #BreakTheBias.

These larger-than-life ideals rely upon individuals challenging the status quo. Starting with one person having one thought or doing one action, can evoke a long lasting change. 


We can break the bias in our communities.

We can break the bias in our workplaces.

We can break the bias in our schools, colleges and universities.


Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough, action is needed to level the playing field.

Are you in? Will you actively call out gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping each time you see it?


We interviewed two of our female pharmacists to highlight individuals in pharmacy that #BreakTheBias.

Our News
Celebrating 20 Years of Strength & Independence
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Celebrating 20 Years of Strength & Independence

This year we are celebrating a milestone at Pharmacy Alliance – it’s our 20-year anniversary. 

We’ve worked hard over the last 20 years to fight for independent pharmacy – we’ve established big partnerships to leverage the collective buying power for each individual member pharmacy, we asked you to band together a few years ago so that wholesalers wouldn’t diminish our buying power, we navigated price disclosure and more recently we’ve taken on a pandemic together. 



How Pharmacy Alliance started 


Like some of you who are second generation pharmacists, I grew up in my dad’s pharmacy in Albany and from the age of eight, my job was to take out the rubbish and help during school holidays. After graduating, my dad purchased a second pharmacy in Perth which I later ran. Dad and I then purchased another two country community pharmacies. Soon after, dad wanted to take a step back and I realised quickly that I needed help to run four stores. I found there wasn’t a specific support business that could do what I needed at the time. From this Pharmacy Alliance began in 2002. 



Looking to the future 


Today, we are now in the third year of the pandemic, and we are experiencing the pressures of taking on vaccinations and the lack of pharmacists and staff. But today we stand together and are even stronger because our communities are coming to our pharmacies for their health needs rather than other pharmacies. I am excited for the future and am committed to continuing to fight for locally owned and operated pharmacy owners who know their local community better than anyone. I have never been more confident that we are better together as a group of independents, rather than trying to go at it alone. 


Finally, thank you. I am grateful and humbled for you being a member of Pharmacy Alliance and allowing us to add value to your pharmacy.

Our News
Happy Australia Day 2022
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Happy Australia Day 2022


Australia Day is about reflecting on what it means to be Australian, to celebrate contemporary Australia and to acknowledge our history.  This year Australia Day focuses on the Story of Australia – the story of an extraordinary nation and its people.



We want to thank our pharmacists for all they have done for their communities throughout the pandemic.  With the year starting Omicron variant spreading it hasn’t been the start that Australians have been hoping for, but our pharmacists and pharmacy assistants will be there for their communities through the ups and the downs of 2022.



We’ve asked two of our pharmacists to tell their reflections on the last year and what they are looking forward to in 2022.




My pharmacy is in Old Bar a beautiful town with a population of roughly 5000 people in a tight-knit community. When we had bushfires and floods, all of the people come together. That’s the Australian spirit – mateship.



Akash Mehta

Pharmacist In Charge

Old Bar Pharmacy

Old Bar, New South Wales



“2021 was a pretty dramatic year for us. Like everyone else, we have dealt with the threat of lockdowns, stock shortages, and panic buying. I’m really proud of our team and how we have managed to hold it all together.”


Campbell Gradon

Pharmacist In Charge

Alliance Pharmacy

Baragara, Queensland


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InternLab Intern of the Year 2021.
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InternLab Intern of the Year 2021.




What was your experience of InternLab?


Internlab was a great resource that helped keep my studies on track throughout the year amidst the busy schedule of an intern. It can be quite hard to find time to sit down and study, so attending the monthly webinars served as a helpful review of all the topics covered throughout the year. They provided the starting points of the basic gaps in knowledge that would need to be reviewed for various topics that I may find myself unfamiliar with. The exam resources in particular were invaluable for my preparations of the exam. They not only helped promote confidence, but also helped gain a clearer understanding for the expectations of the exam.


What advice would you offer to other interns?


For general internship: Try to learn as much around the pharmacy as you can, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to admit if you don’t know something: there is no shame in learning. However, most of all: take care of your mental health. Take time to do the things that make you happy, because a healthy mind leads to a healthier attitude. Feeling stressed or pressured is inevitable, but what’s important is not letting it get to a harmful state. If you need help or support or just people to talk to, seek it.


With regards to exams: Study smart, not hard. Trying to become a walking drug database by reading and writing out an entire encyclopedia will only lead to burnout, fatigue, and demotivation. It is better to begin with a rough review of everything you’ll need to know – then spend as much time doing practice exams as you can. Practice exams have done more for me than the time I spent reviewing all my textbooks. The oral exam practices helped test and identify gaps in knowledge for further review, as well as give a good idea of the amount of information expected of you. The more mock exams you expose yourself with, the more confident you will be – and you may even find that the actual exam contain questions very similar to a practice exam you already did. Similarly with the written exam practices, it helps with not only keeping track of time, but also your ability to find the answers needed quickly in the textbooks if needed.


What part of pharmacy are you most passionate about?


I am most passionate about research in pharmacy. Although data collection, analysis and write-ups can sound like tedious work – the fulfillment of contributing to what we know, or think we know about our practices today makes it all worth it. Being a part of the catalyst to strive for better patient care in our practices is an honour to be in. As this role would naturally develop my experiences and knowledge professionally – I wouldn’t need to fear complacency or stagnation in my professional growth. 


How do you see yourself in the future as a leader in pharmacy?


I see myself as a future leader in pharmacy through mentoring others in my usual day to day job. Be it mentoring students, advising patients, or even fellow healthcare professionals. I aim to expand my professional experiences and expertise so that I can contribute back to the community around me with the utmost competency.


Our News
The Future Of Retail Training Is Here
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The Future Of Retail Training Is Here

Our very own Pharmacy Alliance Training Hub app has arrived to support Pharmacy Assistants. It will change the way you think about training, letting your staff build the relevant skills and knowledge to succeed in their roles.


This exciting new Training Hub is a highly engaging, mobile, micro-learning platform designed to facilitate up-skilling and knowledge retention. The app is designed to engage your staff with short and fun training modules based off our Retail Calendar. These modules will boost customer service, assist floor set up and increase basket size with companion product knowledge.


The training modules are developed inline with the monthly retail activity, and provide:

  • Expert training to drive results for your pharmacy
  • Improved knowledge retention for pharmacy staff by up to 50%
  • Reward-based incentives to motivate staff
  • Training to meet QCPP requirements
  • Low monthly fee for high quality, accessible training
Our News
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partners with Pharmacy Alliance to bring independent pharmacies eCommerce solutions

    • E-scripts, also known as electronic prescriptions, are now available to our member pharmacies

    • Online shopping functionality through e-commerce websites available to 700+ pharmacies. 

    • Stand out with the Medmate app to boost your exposure and marketing

 How does e-commerce benefit a pharmacist?  

The partnership with Medmate will see Pharmacy Alliance offer electronic prescription enabled e-commerce websites to 700+ independent pharmacy members to enhance their bricks and mortar stores with online capability for prescription and over-the-counter products. Customers receive electronic prescriptions by SMS, upload them into the pharmacy website, shop for general pharmacy items and checkout with express home delivery.  Pharmacy Alliance members will also have the option to list their pharmacy on the Medmate App to enhance their digital presence and reach more customers. 

What is Medmate? 

Medmate is a health technology start-up founded in Melbourne by General Practitioner and former Healius executive Dr. Ganesh Naidoo. The digital platform makes fulfilling prescription medications as simple as ordering a meal from UberEats with secure express delivery of pharmacy products to patients in 60 minutes. The company is approved and conformant with the Australian Digital Health Agency as a secure electronic prescription enabled e-commerce platform. Medmate recently completed a $1.6m seed capital raise led by Arrotex Pharmaceuticals.  
Medmate Group CEO Dr Ganesh Naidoo said, “More than 12 million electronic prescriptions have been issued nationally and we see this growth continuing exponentially. Our new website product enables local pharmacies with e-commerce capability and 60-minute medication delivery – an Australian first.” Pharmacy Alliance Managing Director and Pharmacist Simon Reynolds said, “We are delighted to offer our members leading e-commerce capability. This is a logical step in the transformation of the retail experience. We know that online sales will be the fastest growing segment of Australian pharmacy and we have made a decision to lead from the front”. 

How can Pharmacy Alliance help?

Pharmacy Alliance is committed to helping pharmacists to grow their businesses their own way helping them navigate through market changes and challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic. 800 pharmacy members receive access to leading pharmacy business solutions and personalised support, enabling them to stay ahead of industry change, improve pharmacy performance, build a more profitable business, and focus on their customers. With three different membership options available, Pharmacy Alliance provides its members with the right infrastructure and support to help them thrive and succeed in today’s challenging marketplace.  

Why Medmate? 

Medmate is committed to making healthcare easier. Medmate is changing the game and changing behaviour via their holistic digital health platform, accessible by all Australians. Medmate delivers a more convenient and accessible health services (such as 60-minute medication delivery) that are underpinned with a level of care that only a doctor can bring. All in the mission to deliver a platform and service that is seamless, trusted and most importantly, that creates a healthcare experience that currently does not exist. Just what the doctor ordered.  Medmate is an Australian health technology company. The platform is a conformant software system for electronic prescribing officially approved by the Australian Digital Health Agency.   
Our News
Set your pharmacy up for success.
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Set your pharmacy up for success.

There is no doubt that consumer buying habits have changed over the last 12 months — spurred along by online retailers and a global pandemic. The role of the pharmacy team is to create connected, seamless experiences across digital and physical to make your pharmacy work for your customers.

So, what can independent pharmacies do to stand out from their competitors?


Own, adapt and take responsibility for business changes and evolving as conditions change. Know the market by engaging in the market and in the local community.


Define who you are and what you do – and then deliver on it. If you know your purpose, your team and you can be knowledgeable about everything in the pharmacy and be able to sell it. Play to your strengths by providing a personal interaction and building loyalty.


Professionalise by deciding the type of customer experience you want to create and putting in place the systems to deliver it. Create an environment that people want to visit – then change it to keep customers interested and engaged.


Develop your people into experts as people buy from people who know what they are talking about, and people they like.


Partner up and develop mutually rewarding relationships with suppliers, or businesses that serve and operate in the same community.


Successful retailers always observe, assess, and analyse customer experiences, engagement, competition, team training, product categories, what is working well, and what is not.


To learn more about how Australia’s largest, truly independent pharmacy network engages with members to become forward-thinking retailers, visit pharmacyalliance.com.au.