The Right to Choose
Patients in British Columbia have the right to choose the pharmacy and pharmacy professional they receive services from. This right enables them to transfer their prescriptions between pharmacies at their own discretion. In the event of a transfer request, both pharmacies are expected to facilitate to process in a way that ensures adequate continuity of care.
A patients’ right to choose is legislated under Section 3 in Schedule F, Part 1 – Community Pharmacy Standards of Practice of the HPA Bylaws:
Acceptable Standards for Patient Transfers
The College has received many calls from registrants complaining either about another pharmacy/registrant not transferring patient prescriptions within an acceptable timeframe, and/or failing to do so at all.
While it is not the role of the College to “mediate between two pharmacies” regarding such transfers, registrants are reminded of their professional obligations for transferring prescriptions.
Section (8)3 in Schedule F, Part 1 – Community Pharmacy Standards of Practice of the Health Professions Act Bylaws, states:
Upon request, a registrant must transfer to a pharmacy licenced in Canada a prescription for a drug if
Although the legislation does not include a specific timeframe, transfer from one pharmacy to another should occur within a reasonable length of time. Patient choice and continuity of care should always be a priority to ensure competition between pharmacies never impacts patient care.
The College would like to remind pharmacy professionals that their ethical obligations include treating patients with respect, which includes helping transfer patients in a professional manner.
Code of Ethics, Standard 3: Registrants Practice Respect for Patients under Schedule A of the Health Professions Act , Bylaws, outlines in part that:
As a pharmacist or pharmacy manager, if you receive a request to transfer a patient’s prescriptions, you must provide the transfer request within a reasonable timeframe that does not infringe on a patient’s access to quality pharmacy services.