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Most Canadians recognize the Loblaw name as a grocery retailer that sells the foods that their family consumes on a daily basis. More recently, people have also started to recognize Loblaw as a Canadian leader in pharmacy'and it's not just because of their acquisition of Shopper's Drug Mart.

Loblaw has been making strides with their Loblaw pharmacy and DRUGStore Pharmacy in changing the landscape of what's possible and advancing pharmaceutical innovation to create a great experience for customers and increasing career opportunities for pharmacists. According to Gayle Romanetz, Vice President of Pharmacy Operations at Loblaw, "it is our time to assume a greater role in helping patients achieve optimal health outcomes. There are challenges ahead for the profession however we are committed to expanding and leveraging the role of the pharmacist."

"When you fill a prescription at a Loblaw pharmacy, you get more than just your drugs," says Jimmy Le, a pharmacy graduate of 2011 from the University of Toronto and now a Managing Pharmacist with Loblaw pharmacy. Through the different programs that Loblaw offers, patients are provided with information and counselling on a variety of topics, beyond just medicine. This means that "pharmacists at Loblaw have the unique opportunity to [] provide a new level of patient care." "We are in an ideal position to offer integrated health services. We have it all under one roof for the convenience of our patients," says Romanetz.

In-store dieticians can help patients create customized nutrition plans with their medical conditions and dietary restrictions in mind. Guiding Stars, which displays three-star rankings on shelf, noting the nutrition metrics of individual products, can also help customers quickly identify and summarize nutrition information. This is all in addition to the health awareness clinics that can help patients identify a variety of potential future health risks before they are even aware of their existence. "Combined, all of our services and initiatives create a holistic approach which allows us to better understand our customers, their lifestyle, best drug therapies, and optimal outcomes," says Jimmy.

This holistic approach means that Loblaw and its pharmacists have a more meaningful impact on patient lives. According to Jimmy, "whether it is a presentation or running a clinic, Loblaw will help to provide the resources and the guidance to make it successful. The company also supports professional development through a wide array of continuing education courses on health topics that expand and reinforce pharmacists' therapeutic and practical knowledge. Through an online learning centre, pharmacists can find courses that range from motivational interviewing to diabetes education."

The individual development and growth of pharmacists is fundamental at Loblaw. When asked how he was able to move so quickly from a new pharmacist fresh out of school into a Managing Pharmacist role, Jimmy credited much of his success to his colleagues. "I owe much to my peers and my past managers who took the time to not only help me transition from school to workplace but also to prepare me for this current role." And why was Loblaw his employer of choice at graduation? "I decided to work for a company that puts its patients first. [Also], the aroma of fresh rotisserie chicken wafting through the air is pretty awesome."

While there's no question the food selection is a plus, even more importantly, Loblaw has proven itself a committed employer helping pharmacists recognize their career goals by helping Canadians live life well.