Today, for the first time in North America, a women-only pharmacy opens its doors in Vancouver.

Lu’s: A Pharmacy For Women — which opens at 9 a.m. on West Hastings Street — was a “three-year labour of love,” says Caryn Duncan, executive director of Vancouver Women’s Health Collective.
The organization owns and operates the pharmacy.

“It gives women confidence to have a women’s space where they want to talk about their health, because it’s (a) very intimate (topic),” said Duncan. “And women like peer support, too.”

Duncan said the location is ideal for women in the Downtown Eastside who tend to have high health needs and face barriers to accessing care.

She said she hopes to have a nurse on site part time starting in September, and to one day offer pap smears, breast exams and other basic primary care.

“It’s like a first step toward a women’s clinic, which is my dream,” said Duncan.

Staff will be spending the first day talking with women on the street and letting them know the pharmacy is now available to them.

“Our hope is that all different kinds of women will use the pharmacy,” Duncan said. “We believe that it’s a space that can be shared.”