The right of property: a practically unique status in North America
A pharmacy may only be owned by a pharmacist. This right of property only applies here, in Québec, and nowhere else in North America.
In Quebec, it is mandatory to be a pharmacist to own one or more pharmacies; this is a rare exception in North America, but an exclusive right of property widespread across Europe, in France and Italy among others.
Section 27 of the Pharmacy Act provides that “only a pharmacist, a partnership of pharmacists or a joint-stock company all of the shares of which are held by one or more pharmacists […] may be owner of a pharmacy”.
Pharmacists are often affiliated to a commercial name, but nevertheless maintain their professional independence and their exclusive right of property.
This exclusive right of property was put in place to protect patients. A pharmacist is obligated to respect the pharmacists’ Code of conduct; should he be in violation of the Code by engaging in some sort of serious misconduct, he may lose his right to practice and, consequently, be forced to sell or close his pharmacy as he will no longer be a pharmacist.
There is therefore a twofold consequence for a pharmacist having committed a serious misconduct but, more importantly, a twofold protection for the public.