After 18 years at the helm of the Uniprix pharmacy on Knowlton Road, René-Claude Gagnon sold his business in November to Jean- Marc Bélanger, who has been a pharmacist there for 16 months.

“The new owner is an exceptional person,” said Mr Gagnon, “and I know he will ensure the continuing success of the pharmacy, with the support of the current staff and the two other pharmacists, Caroline Drolet and Magda Quirion. For the clients, the change will be seamless since they already know and trust him.”

Mr Bélanger, the new owner, is a keen outdoorsman who fell in love with our region and expects to become a local fixture. He is young and dynamic, and belongs to a new generation of pharmacists trained to assume a first-line role with a greater involvement in health matters.

Given an increasingly overloaded health-care system and the difficulty of getting appointments in clinics or even just getting access to a family physician, it is reassuring to know that health professionals are available locally most of the time, particularly outside of the standard opening hours of the medical clinic on Victoria Road.

New responsibilities granted pharmacists enable them to renew certain prescriptions or prescribe some medication without you first seeing your doctor. They do not provide diagnostics, but you can visit the pharmacy, or call, if you have health concerns or interactions with medications or questions about dosage. This is a free service and Mr Bélanger, as well as his team, will be able to help you find solutions or appropriate services.

“Our population is getting older, and many locals cope daily with chronic issues and an arsenal of drugs. We also offer a tablet-dispenser service. This helps improve the management of your intake of medications,” said Bélanger. “This service is designed to give you or your loved ones peace of mind.”

Moreover, if you are embarking on a trip, it is now possible to get your vaccines from a new nurse who has joined the team. This is a fee-for service, but it will eliminate the need to go to a traveller’s clinic.

Traduction: Jean-Claude Lefebvre