Olivier Bernard (pharmacist)

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Olivier Bernard
Olivier Bernard, The Pharmafist
Olivier Bernard, The Pharmafist
Born 1982
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Residence Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Nationality Canada
Education MA Pharmacogenetics
Alma mater Université Laval, Quebec City
Known for The Pharmafist
Partner(s) India Desjardins
Awards Prix Sceptique 2014, Prix Innovation 2015
Scientific career
Fields Pharmacology
Website http://www.thepharmafist.com/

Olivier Bernard, known as the Pharmafist (Le Pharmachien), is a Canadian science communicator who uses cartoons to counter pseudo-scientific myths. He writes the Pharmafist blog, the Pharmachien books and produces the television program Les aventures du pharmachien, denouncing ineffective or dangerous treatments.


Bernard started working as a pharmacist upon receiving his diploma in 2004 (Université Laval, Quebec City). He subsequently completed, in 2006, a master's degree in pharmacogenetics and worked in the pharmaceutical industry.[1][2]

Disillusioned by the industry's business practices, Bernard quit in 2013.[3][1] He still works as a part-time pharmacist as he makes a name for himself as a scientific communicator, writes books, produces a television program and gives conferences.[2]

"There was a constant conflict between the commercial side and pharmaceutics." - Olivier Barnard, The Pharmafist[4]

He's been sharing his comments on medicine and pseudoscience on lepharmachien.com (in French) since 2012[1] and in English on theharmafist.com, since 2016.[5] Bernard uses a colourful style, described by emergency physician Alain Vadeboncoeur as "friendly, but confident, perhaps a little of a smart-ass", but "he does not attack people, only practices, ideas and concepts."[6] As a science communicator, Bernard says he's influenced by Vadeboncoeur, as well as astrophysicists Hubert Reeves and Neil deGrasse Tyson.[7]

Web activity[edit]

Through his website, the Pharmafist aims to "destroy scientific myths and health beliefs and (...) encourages people to develop critical thinking and to make better choices about vaccines, gluten, nutritional complements, sugar or useless cold medicines."[8]

In 2017, his French Facebook page had 144,000 subscribers. The lepharmachien.com website logged 350,000 visits per month.[9]

"One question I often ask myself is: Just how much must I make the content accessible? (...) Reaching a good balance between a short, punchy text and rigorous content is always a challenge." - Olivier Bernard, the Pharmafist[10]


Picture of Olivier Bernard.
Olivier Bernard at the 2017 Salon du livre de Montréal.
Year Title
2014 Le Pharmachien : Différencier le vrai du n'importe quoi en santé ![11]

(The Pharmafist: How to tell between truth and made-up stuff in health care)

2015 Le Pharmachien 2 : Guide de survie pour petits et grands bobos[12]

(The Pharmafist 2: Survival guide for little and big booboos)

2017 Le Pharmachien tome 3: La bible des arguments qui n'ont pas d'allure[13]

(The Pharmafist 3: The Bible of nonsensical arguments)

Television series[edit]

Fifteen episodes of the documentary series Les aventures du Pharmachien (The Adventures of Pharmafist) have been aired by ICI Explora, from December 2, 2016, to March 10, 2017.[14][15] They feature Olivier Bernard in his role as the Pharmafist, offering a scientific viewpoint on health care, through experiments, interviews, cartoons and humour. Bernard is identified as host and content producer of the program for DATSIT Studios.[16]

In the program, Bernard experiments on himself with many treatments he denounces as being ineffective: natural sunscreen, homeopathic solutions, products meant to change the acidity of one's urine.[8]

The initial broadcast of the first episode was seen by a total of 363,000 people on Radio-Canada's various platforms. A second broadcast two days later attracted 43,000 more.[17]

A second season is planned, the first episode being expected on December 1, 2017.[14][18]

Episode Original broadcast date
La détox du foie (Liver detox) August 18, 2016
L'alimentation bio (Organic food) August 25, 2016
L'effet placebo (The placebo effect) September 1, 2016
La diète alcaline (The alkaline diet) September 8, 2016
Les régimes (Diets) September 15, 2016
La crème solaire (Sunscreens) September 22, 2017
Les jus (Juices) September 29, 2016
Les produits naturels (Natural products) October 6, 2016)
L'hypnose (Hypnosys) October 13, 2016
Le gluten (Gluten) October 20, 2016)
Les superaliments (super foods) October 27, 2016
Les ondes électromagnétiques (Electromagnetic radiation) November 3, 2016
Le système immunitaire (The immune system) November 10, 2016
L'homéopathie (Homeopathy) November 17, 2016
Les vaccins (Vaccines) November 24, 2016


2014: Prix Sceptique, Les sceptiques du Québec (award from Quebec's skeptics association).[19] 2015: Prix Innovation, Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec (innovation award from Quebec's pharmacists association).[1]

Personal life[edit]

Bernard is from Beauport, which is now a borough of Quebec City.[9] He has been living in Montreal since 2006.[2] He is in a relationship with author India Desjardins.[20] In Winter, 2017, Bernard shared with university magazine Contact that starting a family is not out of the question.[9]

I was always a skeptic. (...) I was constantly challenging my parents and my teachers, as early as elementary school. - Olivier Bernard, The Pharmafist[9]

Passionate about the outdoors, Bernard gets his energy from expeditions in nature.[9]

External links[edit]

The Pharmafist's website.


  1. ^ a b c d "Le prix Innovation 2015 de l'Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec est décerné à M. Olivier Bernard, alias « Le Pharmachien »". Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec (in French). June 12, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Bernard, Olivier. "About me". The Pharmafist. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  3. ^ Bernard, Olivier (August 23, 2014). "La plus grande erreur de l'industrie pharmaceutique". Le Pharmachien (in French). Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  4. ^ Girard, Tanya (December 3, 2015). "Entrevue avec Olivier Bernard alias Le Pharmachien". Bible Urbaine (in French). Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  5. ^ Bernard, Olivier (February 19, 2016). "The Pharmafist is born". The Pharmafist. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  6. ^ Vadeboncoeur, Alain (December 3, 2016). "Pourquoi je défends le "Pharmachiant"". Le Devoir (in French). Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  7. ^ Pleau, Jean-Philippe (July 11, 2017). "L'autodertruction du pharmachien". Urbania (in French). Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Tout le monde en parle - Épisodes". Radio-Canada (in French). November 27, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e Trudel, Brigitte (Winter 2017). "Humour et rigueur, façon Pharmachien". Contact (in French). Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  10. ^ "Le Pharmachien monte la garde en santé". Le Reflet (in French). October 7, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  11. ^ Bernard, Olivier (2014). Le Pharmachien : Différencier le vrai du n'importe quoi en santé ! (in French). Montréal (Québec): Édition Les Malins. ISBN 9782896572496.
  12. ^ Bernard, Olivier (2015). Le Pharmachien 2 : Guide de survie pour petits et grands bobos (in French). Montréal (Québec): Éditions Les malins. ISBN 9782896573141.
  13. ^ Bernard, Olivier (2017). Le Pharmachien 3 : La bible des arguments qui n'ont pas d'allure (in French). Montréal (Québec): Éditions Les malins. p. 224. ISBN 9782896575640.
  14. ^ a b "Il y aura une deuxième saison pour Les aventures du Pharmachien". Radio-Canada (in French). March 5, 2017. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  15. ^ Bernard, Olivier (September 13, 2016). "Plus de détails sur Les Aventures du Pharmachien !". Lepharmachien.com (in French). Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  16. ^ "Les aventures du Pharmachien: L'émission". ICI Explora (in French). Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  17. ^ "De bonnes cotes d'écoute pour Les aventures du Pharmachien". Métro (in French). December 5, 2016. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  18. ^ "Les aventures du pharmachien: Les épisodes". ICI Explora (in French). Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  19. ^ "Prix Sceptique et Fosse Sceptique". Sceptiques du Québec (in French). Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  20. ^ "Les conseils de voyage d'India Desjardins et du Pharmachien". Radio-Canada (in French). July 9, 2017. Retrieved October 16, 2017.