The Current

Vancouver pharmacist makes house calls to Downtown Eastside residents

"He's not just a pharmacist, he's somebody you can talk to if you are having a bad day."
Craig Plain is pushing the boundaries of what pharmacists can do for the communities they work in. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

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On June 2, Craig Plain will be presented with the Canadian Pharmacist of the Year award. 

He's being recognized for his unique work in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, home to one of the most vulnerable populations in the country.

The community has been hit hard by the opioid crisis, which has claimed the lives of hundreds of its residents over the last two years.

Craig Plain sees his clients in the pharmacy, but he also does house calls — delivering and administering medication to people living in shelters, social housing, and sometimes in alleys and parks in the neighbourhood.  

I hate to say it but pharmacies get paid the same whether it's a quick 20-second consultation or a five-minute consultation. It's a little more expensive to have extra staff to do this.- Craig Plain on paying more attention to clients

The Current's producer Anne Penman went along on those rounds with Plain, as he tries to make personal connections with clients and explores the greater role pharmacists can play in our ailing health-care system.

Listen to the full segment at the top of this post. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Anne Penman.