In keeping with its mission statement and corporate social responsibility to give back to the nation, CARI-MED Limited has been involved in several health and wellness initiatives, affecting a broad spectrum of institutions and individuals over the 26 years since it set up operations in Jamaica.
With millions of dollars invested each year, the pharmaceutical company has consistently responded to the needs in the health sector, committed to doing its part to ensure top-quality health care for all Jamaicans.
Among the many initiatives it has undertaken was the donation of a colposcope, valued at $1.2 million to Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay to strengthen its capability to fight cervical cancer. The new equipment facilitated diagnostic services to a larger patient population within the western region and removed the expense and inconvenience associated with patients having to come to Kingston for this purpose.
CARI-MED also assisted in the restoring and refurbishing of the ambulatory ward at the National Chest Hospital in 2006, sourcing and supplying specialised equipment at a concessionary rate and improving the physical appearance of the facility.
As part of its ongoing commitment to health care, the company refurbished the private wing at the Hope Institute, the only Caribbean-based facility that specialise in caring for terminally ill oncology patients. In 2011, the company undertook upgrades to the facility, which included the design and outfitting of an oncology pharmacy on the premises and renovating the treatment and storage rooms and the private wing, painting the building, and professional landscaping of the external area. All this was done while making ongoing donations to the Jamaica Cancer Society.
Assisting less fortunate
Recognising that the needs of many of the less fortunate are often overlooked, CARI-MED adopted the Portland Infirmary, donating medical, pharmaceuticals, and hospital supplies as well as other essential items. The company also hosts an annual Christmas treat for the patients.
CARI-MED has also donated medicines to similar institutions across the island, including the St Ann Infirmary, Missionaries of the Poor, and the Port Maria Hospital. The company has also been providing medication, appliances, fixtures, and other technical support as well as a Christmas treat to the Open Arms Drop-in Centre, which caters to homeless persons.
CARI-MED has not restricted its reach in health care and wellness to institutions and facilities, but has sought to respond to the needs of individuals in several areas as well. For instance, the company has donated two behind-the-ear hearing aids valued at $90,000 to a 12-year-old student of Newell High School in St Elizabeth who was diagnosed with mild to moderate hearing loss.
On an annual basis, the company provides support to the University of Technology School of Pharmacy by facilitating an internship programme with the company. Additionally, mentorship and job exposure are provided to the students from the University Hospital of the West Indies School of Pharmacology.
Beyond these efforts, CARI-MED continuously displays a strong commitment to the continuing education of trained pharmacists. For over 20 years, the company has been hosting several seminars and educational opportunities annually for pharmacists where information is shared on new trends in patient care for different diseases and common illnesses. There is also a segment on best practices and general information for personal development and the empowerment of the pharmacist.
The pharmacists value these seminars tremendously, many times ranking them among those of the highest standards in the industry. CARI-MED also coordinates and delivers training for the over-the-counter clerks and technicians.
CARI-MED's commitment to these educational programmes extends to the wider Caribbean. The company is very involved with the Caribbean Association of Pharmacist (CAP) programmes, sponsoring the annual health care Innovation Award and the Caribbean Pharmacy Youth Leader Award. In fact, last year, CARI-MED was recognised by the CAP with the industry award for 2012.
"Apart from all these tangible donations and services, CARI-MED lends its intellectual capital and expertise to several public-sector committees and foundations with varied functions," noted chairman and chief executive officer, Glenford Christian.
CARI-MED is a foundation member of the Jamaica Business Council on HIV/AIDS (JABCHA), with a very active HIV/AIDS committee internally. They are one of the first companies to distribute inexpensive medication for those afflicted with the disease, which had significantly increased in children.
Through one of its flagship brands, Ensure Nutritional shakes, the company continues to play its role in various wellness programmes.
The company's Kirk Distributors, through the Colgate brand, formed a partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education to provide dental health and treatment to children between the ages of six and nine. They have also donated dental equipment to the Ministry of Health. CARI-MED's Mobile Dental Clinic, which travels island-wide, offers cleanings, fillings, and extractions referrals.
Additionally, scholarships of US$3,000 each are made available to the University of Technology and the Northern Caribbean University to be awarded to dental-hygiene and dental-nurse students. CARI-MED also sponsors the Jamaica Dental Convention, the dental auxiliaries conference and Utech's Scientific Research Symposium.
"The initiatives that we support reflect our fundamental belief that health and wellness should be everyone's priority. I am continuously inspired and encouraged to continue to strive for excellence in health and wellness, which, from inception, has been Cari-Med's core business. A healthy nation is a wealthy nation, for where there is health and wellness, there is progress," stated Christian.
CARI-MED Limited was born out of the passion and desire of Christian, founder, to reform the local pharmaceutical industry, optimising service and access, and offering Jamaicans an affordable alternative to brand-name drugs. Disillusioned by the limited pharmaceutical products that were attainable in the Jamaican market in the 1980s, he sought to expand the options available to meet the consumers' needs, and along with his wife Marva, decided to establish an organisation that would accomplish this goal.
Distributors for the future
Over the years, CARI-MED has evolved as one of the Caribbean's leading distributors of pharmaceutical and consumer products. The company is widely recognised as one of the key players in Jamaica's commercial marketplace, through its vital contributions to the local economy, generation of jobs, and consistent participation in social programmes that promote community development. CARI-MED is a well-respected Jamaican business, an employer of choice, and a highly sought after partner by manufacturers who are interested in conducting business in Jamaica.
Today, CARI-MED is Jamaica's largest supplier of pharmaceuticals in Jamaica, representing seven of the top 10 international pharmaceutical companies.
"We are 'Distributors for the Future', that is, we are a full-service provider, offering the best value in the market through our pharmaceutical and consumer divisions; therefore, cutting-edge health care and wellness will undoubtedly continue to be an integral part of our long-term goal. Customer satisfaction is a lived experience, hence we are constantly in the mode of re-engineering our organisation to stay on top of innovations," Christian stated.