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The Business of Pharmacy Podcast™

164 EpisodesProduced by Mike Koelzer, PharmacistWebsite

• An interesting and entertaining weekly podcast discussion on the business of pharmacy. • Listen to a new episode every Monday at or wherever you subscribe to podcasts.• In addition to hosting the podcast, Mike Koelzer owns an independent pharmacy in Grand Rapids, Michigan. • When… read more


The Pharmacy Conscience Dilemma | Cristina Alarcon, BPharm, MBE

Cristina was born in Madrid, Spain and came to Canada with her parents at the age of 7. The second of six children, she grew up in Ottawa, Montreal, and Vancouver. In 1990, Cristina graduated from pharmacy school at the University of Montreal, and after spending 7 years working in the hospital setting in Montreal and Toronto, she moved out West and discovered her love for the preventive side of medicine. 
Early in her pharmacy career, Cristina realized that her vision for excellent and ethical healthcare would conflict with the growing anti-life and anti-Catholic sentiments prevalent in society. This lead her to seek support from Pharmacists for Life as a student, later acting for several years as coordinator for Western Canada. Cristina went on to serve briefly on several prolife Boards, most recently finishing a 6- year term with COLF (Catholic Organization for Life and Family). 
However, her greatest passion lies in seeking to imbue the professional world with upright principles and fighting for conscience rights, so as to safeguard healthcare's intrinsic life-giving mission. In the year 2000, Cristina’s refusal to dispense abortifacient drugs brought her head-to-head with her professional licensing College. With the help of like minded professionals, she lobbied the College for change, raising awareness by putting out press releases under the auspices of “Pharmacists for Conscience”. 
In 2007 Cristina equipped herself with a masters in Bioethics from the University of Navarre in Spain. Her thesis examined the Codes of Ethics of Pharmacy Licensing bodies across Canada, bringing to light the lacks of tolerance towards religious believers and conscientious objectors. A summary was published in 2009 in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy under the title “The Hijacking of Moral Conscience from Pharmacy Practice: A Canadian Perspective”, and can be accessed at the Protection of Conscience Project website. 
Thankfully, Cristina’s lengthy battle with her licencing College over the importance of respect for conscience and religion has not prevented her from enjoying a successful and rewarding pharmacy career. She worked at the same community pharmacy from April 2000, managing its services since 2012, until it was sold to a Corporation in December of 2018. She sat on the Ethics Advisory Committee of the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia for many years, and sits on the Ethics Committee of Vancouver Coastal Health.
 She is a clinical pharmacy instructor for the University of British Columbia, and thoroughly enjoys mentoring students. Cristina writes regularly on a variety of topics for the Canadian Healthcare Network in her Blog “From Pill to Till”, and has been published in various newspapers and ethics blogs over the years.

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