Brett Sunku, RPh

CHANGE: Tech, Influence, & Legislation

Author | Parliament of Canada Petition: Exempted Codeine Product Underregulation: A Canadian Public Health Emergency
Speaker, Educator, Consultant, Pharmacist | Vaga Pharma Consulting



Health professionals rely on their integrity, their standard of ethics and the moral compass of the individuals that make up the profession. Our regulatory bodies are not the only judges of what is just in our practice - we also play a role in this. We are advocates. When something isn’t right, we must find a way to voice our opinion, be heard and evoke change. Today, social media and modern communication have changed the way we can influence policymakers and public opinion. We will discuss the opportunities and challenges we faced in our quest to remove non-prescription codeine.


The inability or unwillingness to set proper business or pharmacy practice strategy can sink a company, a leader, or even an individual’s career. Brett Sunku, CEO of the Vaga Pharma Consulting, assists pharmacy owners in the most important elements of strategic thinking, breaks it down into simple and implementable systems, and shows owners as well as employees how to apply them on both a professional and personal level, everyday. Applying knowledge from dozens of chains and over 200 retail pharmacies across North America, clients have created sustainable businesses, loyal clients and healthier patients. Brett helps pharmacy owners increase productivity and growth through operational improvement, audit risk management and innovation. A former Walgreens locum and pharmacy manager, he brings both real-world experience and practical expertise to help groups and individuals build their business or practice.

He has consulted for the past 12 years in numerous retail pharmacy and clinical care settings including Walgreens, Rite Aid, Jean Coutu, Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall and Pharmasave across British Columbia, Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Ontario, Quebec and Washington State. As an impressionable young sixteen year old, a pharmacist saved the life of his father when no one else could catch a drug interaction prior to surgical bypass. Not long after that he was enrolled at the University of Alberta pharmacy program, hoping to do the same for other families. His endeavours are to uphold the highest integrity while matching exemplary healthcare with innovative, ethical business.

Brett is an author of numerous publications and resources, most recently a public policy briefing on the need for up-regulation non-prescription codeine in Canada - Combating codeine misuse: Repeal of Section 36 from the Narcotic Control Regulations of the Controlled Drug and Substances Act. He’s headed Canadian Health Professionals for Evidence-Based Drug Policy, a committee committed to bringing awareness to Canada’s non-prescription codeine problem.