Nfld. & Labrador

Methadone program displaced from St. John's pharmacy

Patients receiving methadone replacement therapy through a pharmacy in St. John's have been directed elsewhere following the dispensary's closure.
Downtown Pharmacy had taken part in a methadone replacement program for recovering opioid addicts. (CBC )

Patients receiving methadone replacement therapy through a pharmacy in St. John's have been told to seek alternatives, following the closure of a downtown dispensary.

The Pharmacy Board of Newfoundland and Labrador said it had cancelled the business licence of Downtown Pharmacy on the west end of Water Street, prompting the immediate closure of the pharmacy's dispensary.

Don Rowe, the secretary-registrar of the board, said the news that pharmacist Frank Boland was stepping down as pharmacist-in-charge came out of the blue late Sunday night.

Rowe said Boland had stepped down for "personal reasons" that he would not disclose.

Rowe said the closure is worrisome, especially for the 110 people who rely on the site for methadone. He said officials will be working on a temporary solution.

The board said patients in the methadone program are being directed to the Opioid Treatment Centre in Pleasantville, and that they must make an appointment before they can be served. [Read the notice the board has posted at Downtown Pharmacy.]

"Arrangements have been made through the methadone clinic down at Pleasantville, that they will ensure that patients needing this methadone will be able to get their dose," Rowe told CBC News.

"They're in the process of having methadone prepared and would be administered to the patients at Pleasantville some time today."

Other patients are being advised to consult their family physician or another pharmacy should they need an emergency supply of medication.

The closure comes just weeks after another pharmacist at Downtown Pharmacy was temporarily forced from his position.

In April, the Pharmacy Board revoked the licence of Paul Gill, who had been pharmacist-in-charge at Downtown Pharmacy until last fall, for not properly supervising another pharmacist who worked there. Ann Marie Burke was sent to prison last October for drug trafficking convictions.

Gill's licence was suspended for five months.