Representing Australian Pharmacy across the globe

Blog Post

Date: 24 November 2017

John Ly

John Ly - Chairperson of the International Young Pharmacists Group for FIP

Congratulations to Guild member John Ly, owner of Imes Pharmacy in South Melbourne who has been elected as the Chairperson of the International Young Pharmacists Group for International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) at the recent FIP World Congress in Seoul, South Korea. John is the first Australian to hold the title in the young pharmacist category.  

What is FIP and the Young Pharmacists Group?

Founded in 1912, The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is a non-governmental organisation with its head office in the Netherlands. Through partnerships and extensive pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences network, FIP works to support the development of the pharmacy profession, through practice and emerging scientific innovations, in order to meet the world’s health care needs and expectations. Through 140 national organisations and academic institutional members, FIP represents over three million pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists around the world.

The Young Pharmacists Group (YPG) was officially established as a network of FIP in 2001, but young pharmacists have been a part of FIP for many years. The aim of YPG is to encourage young pharmacists to be actively involved in international pharmacy and within the sections and organisation of FIP.

Through online interaction such as the YPG Members Discussion Forum as well as in-person meetings at the Annual FIP Congress, the YPG is an extensive international network of young pharmacists.

John was previously part of the International Pharmaceutical Student's Federation (IPSF) Executive Committee team from 2005 and elected as IPSF President between 2008-2009. Due to his extensive contributions he was awarded an IPSF Honorary Life Membership at the IPSF General Assembly of 2010. “Life membership has been bestowed to only three Australians since 1949 and I'm proud to be a proactive pharmacist. I was also involved with several previous pharmacy committees in Asia Pacific Region and nationally in Australia during this time. In my student and young pharmacist days I worked at Den Haag, The Netherlands and stayed at the IPSF office. It has allowed me to travel to over 35 countries running conferences and workshops for over 1000 attendees,” elaborates John.

His close association with the international pharmacists’ network led to his application for the FIP Young Pharmacist's Group Steering Committee to represent Australian Pharmacy.

As an elected Chairperson for the International Young Pharmacists Group, John will be working alongside a committee from Korea, Taiwan, Croatia, Ireland and USA. “I’m thankful to my international colleagues and the Guild for supporting me through the elections” says John. “I’m looking forward to engaging the skills and expertise of the group to advocate for pharmacy” he adds.

John works with a team of five pharmacists spread all over the globe. “We coordinate all projects related to young pharmacist with the FIP headquarters. On a daily basis there is a lot of coordinating to make sure we are representing our interests in the programs that FIP is running. Currently, I’m working on a new, exciting Leadership program which will be held in Scotland next year. The aim for the program is to develop future young pharmacy leaders. We will be covering topics such as ethical leadership, strategic planning, leadership styles, managing teams, optimising project management, public speaking skills, effective communication and more. We have a strong focus on mentoring new members, who will be the next cohort of leaders, taking the reins in the future” elaborates John.

“It is a juggling act, where you have to put in long hours. It’s never been a straight eight hour day for me” smiles John talking about how he manages his pharmacy ownership duties and his volunteer work. “I’m lucky to have a very supportive wife and excellent staff at the pharmacy, who have made my journey possible.”

Taking the time to volunteer with FIP is a commitment John enjoys, as he is surrounded with like-minded people who are working towards the advancement of the pharmacy profession. “You really need to be passionate about pharmacy to be able to deliver in the role” explains John.

“There is a lot of knowledge sharing amongst the YPG and we like to bounce ideas for new projects off each other. It is a group of passionate people who really want to have a positive impact on the global pharmacy community” says John. “For example, Australia has recently led the way with vaccinations changes and it’s great to see that some other countries are starting to get on board with that” he adds.

“YPG is a great way to network with other young pharmacists. All YPG members have something in common: we are young (in age, our careers or both!), we work together and we have innovative ideas. There are many opportunities within FIP and we are here to facilitate the exchange of ideas, information and new possibilities.”

Moving to the future of pharmacy in Australia, John says he will love to see a professional services model implemented across pharmacies. Alliances with other health professionals will also be an important service moving on. Back at the Imes Pharmacy, John is looking forward to creating a dedicated space for vaccination and add other important professional services. While John is around, Imes Pharmacy, which has been operating since 1877, will remain an independent pharmacy serving South Melbourne’s locals and maintaining the essence of community pharmacy.

Sending out a message for young pharmacy owners, John says “There’s never been a better time to be in pharmacy. The Guild is doing great work supporting our sector and as young pharmacy owners we must deliver health benefits to our community to uphold the future of the pharmacy profession. We need to work towards educating consumers that pharmacy is not just about dispensing medicines. Providing great professional and quality service should be a priority for all pharmacies. Customers don’t always remember the prices but they always remember receiving good service.”

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