Frequently Asked Questions

Is everyone who works behind the pharmacy counter a pharmacist?

No. Pharmacy staff can include pharmacy technicians and/or pharmacy assistants. Pharmacy technicians support pharmacists with daily technical functions so that pharmacists can use their medication expertise to focus on patient care. Pharmacy technicians perform duties that do not require clinical judgement such as counting pills, preparing drugs, entering drug orders, controlling pharmacy inventory, checking other technicians’ work, maintaining the function of complex equipment and obtaining insurance authorizations. Pharmacy technicians are licensed pharmacy professionals who are regulated by the College. They can be employed in every practice setting where there is a pharmacy including community, hospital and long-term care pharmacies.

Pharmacy assistants help in the pharmacy by supporting the work of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, under the supervision of a pharmacist. Pharmacy assistants are not licensed or regulated by the College. 

Why is the College implementing the new Practice Review Program?

The College is implementing the Practice Review Program in order to enhance the quality of pharmacy practice by improving compliance through strengthened enforcement. One of the ways that the College can ensure best practices are being followed is to establish and communicate standards and guidelines to pharmacy professionals and review their individual performance in a pharmacy setting. By reviewing real practice in real time, the College is helping to maintain and elevate public confidence in the profession.

Who has been involved with the development of the Practice Review Program?

The Board has consulted widely on the program, and was actively informed not only by the Quality Assurance Committee, but by the 1500 practising pharmacy professionals across the province who participated in an online engagement opportunity.  Pharmacy managers and pharmacy professionals in community pharmacy practice also participated in two feedback forums held in April 2014.

At the April 2014 meeting, the Board established the Practice Review Committee which will oversee the development of the program, and its policies and processes for final approval by the Board.

How will the Practice Review Program work?

The Practice Review Program will have two components: the Pharmacy Review and the Pharmacy Professionals Review. The Pharmacy Review component will be a familiar process, as it mirrors the College’s current pharmacy inspection process. For the Pharmacy Professionals Review, a College compliance officer will observe and assess individual pharmacy professionals in four key areas of practice. Compliance officers will ensure that pharmacies meet College standards/guidelines and that pharmacy professionals are appropriately applying their knowledge, skills, and abilities to deliver consistent pharmacy care.

With the new program, pharmacy managers and pharmacy professionals will receive advance notice of a Practice Review and will know what will be reviewed. Pharmacy managers and professionals will also receive their results once the review is completed.

What if there are scheduling conflicts for staff who are sick or on holidays?

The College understands that at certain times of the month or year it may be inconvenient to have compliance officers in pharmacies for an extended period of time. The College will do its best to work with the pharmacy manager to determine the least disruptive times, but it is the pharmacy manager’s responsibility to ensure that most, if not all, staff are present during the Practice Review.

In the event where pharmacy professionals miss the Practice Review, a compliance officer will return to the pharmacy to perform those reviews.

What is the College looking for during the Pharmacy Review?

Compliance officers will be reviewing pharmacies for adherence to practice standards and guidelines such as the Health Professions Act, College Bylaws, the Model Standards of Practice, the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act, Professional Practice Policies, and the Framework of Professional Practice and guidelines

What is the College looking for during the Pharmacy Professionals Review?

Pharmacy professionals will be reviewed on focus areas that have been deemed the most relevant to professional pharmacy practice in British Columbia. The Board has identified a total of six focus areas they believe to have the greatest impact on public safety. Focus areas differ between pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Each will be reviewed on four focus areas depending on their registration type: 

The focus areas for pharmacists are: 

  • Patient Identification Verification
  • Profile Check
  • Counseling
  • Documentation

The focus areas for pharmacy technicians are:

  • Patient Identification Verification 
  • Product Distribution 
  • Collaboration 
  • Documentation 
What criteria or specific details will the College be looking for under each of these four focus areas?

For information on specific assessment criteria, please refer to the following review forms: 

For Hospital Pharmacy: 

For Community Pharmacy: 

What happens after the review has been completed?

After the review has been completed, the compliance officer will forward the Pharmacy Review results to the pharmacy manager, and individual Pharmacy Professional Review results to each pharmacy professional. These results will be available in real time, accessible online through the confidential and secure eServices portal. The compliance officer will discuss results with the pharmacy manager and individual pharmacy professional for their respective reviews.

Where a compliance officer observes a standard/guideline that is not met, they may assign action item(s). These observations and action items are standardized to ensure consistency and fairness of all practice reviews. Pharmacies and pharmacy professionals will be given deadlines (typically 30 days) to complete these items, and compliance officers will verify whether the action items have been completed by the deadline. After all action items have been completed, the compliance officer will sign-off on the review, and a notice of completion will be issued to the appropriate party.

When is the Practice Review Program being launched?

The Practice Review Program launched in Community Practice in 2015 and in Hospital Practice in 2017. 

How can I stay informed on the development of the Practice Review Program?

Infomation will be available on the College website. In addition to ReadLinks, watch for updates by following the College on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

How will pharmacy professionals who do not practice in a conventional community or hospital setting be reviewed?

The College recognizes that there are a variety of different practices in BC, and asked for feedback on this subject through online engagement with over 1500 pharmacy professionals. The College will be taking a phased approach in developing the Practice Review Program and, with input from the Practice Review Committee, will develop processes that address different practices within the province.

What happens to the authorized refills when a prescription is adapted?

The pharmacist takes responsibility for the adapted prescription as well as the authorized refills. The pharmacist could choose to provide an initial adaptation of the prescription but reduce or eliminate the authorized refills. If they did this they would need to provide the rationale for their decision in their documentation and inform the patient that they will need to return to their physician earlier than intended (note: a pharmacist cannot add refills that were not initially authorized by the prescriber). Whatever the final decision is, it must be properly documented and provided in the notification to the prescriber.

If the pharmacist adapts the prescription and maintains the authorized refills, when the patient returns for a refill the pharmacist would process the refill as they would any other refill prescription. The processing of a refill of an adapted prescription is not considered an adaptation per se, so the documentation and notification requirements of PPP-58 do not apply.

Should the patient return to the pharmacy for a refill and a different pharmacist is on duty that pharmacist would again process the refill as they would any other refill, keeping it under the adapting pharmacists ID. If they have a concern about the appropriateness of the adapted prescription they should do what they normally do if they have a concern about refilling a prescription; refuse to fill, provide an emergency fill if necessary and in this case either refer the patient back to the adapting pharmacist or to the original prescriber.

Finally it is important to note that when a pharmacist adapts a prescription and maintains the authorized refills they must inform the patient that as a result of them doing this the prescription is now non-transferable which means the patient will need to return to this specific pharmacy in order to get their refills.

Why did the College establish PPP-58?

You probably already perform many prescription adaptation-related activities now, such as making minor adjustments to prescription details or giving patients an interim supply of a medication to maintain continuity of care. PPP-58 goes beyond what is available today and gives pharmacists independent authority and accountability for the adaptation of a prescription and provides the framework to guide pharmacists in safe and effective practice.

The policy, which provides the opportunity for pharmacists to maximize their full educational and professional competencies, also provides structure to, and refines the process of, exercising professional judgment in clinical practice. This becomes increasingly important as pharmacists evolve their role as medication experts.

Do I have to adapt a prescription?

No. Authorization does mean obligation. The decision to adapt a prescription or not is at the discretion of the individual pharmacist. Whenever a pharmacist chooses to adapt a prescription however, the adaptation must be done in accordance with PPP-58 and within the limits of the pharmacist’s own competencies.

Why should I care about adapting prescriptions?

It makes good practical sense that pharmacists are authorized to adapt prescriptions. With your training in drug therapy, being able to adapt prescriptions means that patients will have access to medication management services from pharmacists more effectively than in the past. Patients will have improved access to drug therapy renewals to ensure uninterrupted continuity of on-going therapy for chronic conditions. Pharmacists will be able to eliminate the delays associated with contacting a prescriber for clarification, modification or improvement of drug therapy with a prescription. Pharmacist involvement with adapting prescriptions will improve inter-professional communication, documentation of care and patient involvement in decision-making and consent, which are all positive steps for health care. The bottom line is that British Columbians have asked for quicker, more convenient access to prescription renewals and optimal drug therapies. PPP-58 is the first step in this process and has the potential to also free up physician time to see patients in need of their services.

Are there special requirements needed in order to adapt a prescription?

Yes. In order to adapt a prescription a pharmacist, in addition to having read and understood the Orientation Guide and Amendment to the Orientation Guide, must possess professional liability insurance (minimum $2 million) and must adhere to all of the seven fundamentals for adapting a prescription as outlined in PPP-58.

How will my patients know that I’m qualified to adapt prescriptions?

You are responsible for informing patients of your authority to adapt a prescription and for deciding whether or not you are prepared to make an adaptation when appropriate. All pharmacists who are licensed in British Columbia are required to have read the Orientation Guide and Amendment to the Orientation Guide by December 31, 2008 and pharmacists’ authority to implement PPP-58, and thereby adapt prescriptions, is effective January 1, 2009.

Will I be able to adapt prescriptions for narcotics?

No. PPP-58 does not authorize pharmacists to adapt prescriptions for narcotics, controlled drugs or targeted substances.

Do I have to complete this orientation if I don’t plan to adapt prescriptions?

Yes. Although it is not mandatory that a pharmacist adapt a prescription, given that PPP-58 enhances pharmacists’ scope of practice, it is mandatory that all registrants acknowledge that they have read and understood PPP-58 (by signing the Declaration Form included in the Orientation Guide and the Amendment to the Orientation Guide) by December 31, 2008.

Why did the College update standards for methadone maintenance treatment (MMT)?

The College updated standards for MMT in collaboration with PharmaCare and other stakeholders. To transition compounded oral methadone 1 mg/ml and provide coverage for methadone commercially available 10 mg/ml oral preparation. The standards were developed to facilitate a safe transition from the current compounded methadone to the methadone concentrate of 10 mg/ml and to ensure that patients have access to standardized pharmacy services for MMT in BC. 

When can I no longer accept prescriptions for methadone 1 mg/ml for maintenance?

Effective February 1, 2014 all MMT prescriptions that are prescribed and started in February must be for methadone 10 mg/ml.

If you receive an old Controlled Prescription Form and it is prescribed in January and carries over or starts in February you may dispense methadone 1 mg/ml for maintenance until the prescription is complete or until February 28, 2014, whichever comes first.

Can I dispense methadone 1mg/ml for maintenance on or after March 1, 2014?

No. As of March 1, 2014 pharmacists are not permitted to dispense methadone 1mg/ml for MMT. Effective March 1, 2014 implementation of consistent dispensing standards will require all pharmacists to dispense only the commercially available oral preparation of methadone10mg/ml to support patient safety. 

Can I accept a prescription for methadone for maintenance on the regular controlled prescription program (CPP) form?

Effective February 1, 2014, there will be only one form for MMT; all new prescriptions for methadone maintenance written in February must be on the new Methadone Maintenance Controlled Prescription Program form that is pre-printed with methadone 10mg/ml. Effective March 1, 2014, CPBC inspectors will be inspecting to ensure all MMT prescriptions are on the new MMT prescription pads. 

Can I accept a prescription for methadone for pain on the Methadone Maintenance Controlled Prescription (MMT CPP) form?

No. Pharmacists may not accept prescriptions for methadone for pain on the Methadone Maintenance Controlled Prescription Program form. A Pharmacist may only accept prescriptions for methadone for pain that are written on the regular Controlled Prescription Program form 

Can I still accept out-of-province prescriptions?

Yes. Pharmacists may choose to dispense methadone prescriptions from prescribing physicians in provinces other than BC. If there is any doubt regarding the authenticity of the out-of-province prescription, the pharmacist must contact the out-of-province prescribing physician to confirm the legitimacy of the prescription (including the prescriber’s exemption to prescribe methadone). When satisfied that the prescription is authentic, the pharmacist may dispense and process the prescription in the same manner as other prescriptions from out-of-province prescribers; only methadone 10 mg/ml may be dispensed. 

What is the difference between prescribing date and start date?

The 'prescribing date' is the date the prescribing physician wrote the prescription while the 'start date’ is the date the prescribed therapy is to commence. If the 'start date' is blank the pharmacist may assume that the 'prescribing date' is the 'start date'. If the 'start date' overlaps with or leaves gaps from the existing prescription the pharmacist must seek clarification from the prescribing physician.  

When can I dispense compounded methadone for maintenance after March 1, 2014?

The only situation where compounded methadone may be dispensed is when a commercially available 10mg/ml oral preparation is not available. Refer to CPBC's Policy Guide for MMT, Section 6.3 Compounding in Exceptional Circumstances. In order for the patient to receive coverage for compounded methadone when there is a supply shortage, the pharmacist must follow PharmaCare's procedures to report the shortage before dispensing compounded methadone. The pharmacist MUST compound and dispense methadone at 10 mg/ml only. Refer to PharmaCare Policy Manual, Section 5.11, page 14 Manufacturer Shortages. http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/pharmacare/pdf/5-6to5-12.pdf

Does Professional Practice Policy 66 apply to methadone for pain?

No. Professional Practice Policy 66, sets the standards for practice for methadone for maintenance only. We do not have any specific practice standards for pain other than regulations in place that apply to all medications.

Any questions regarding coverage must be directed to PharmaCare. 

How can I safely and effectively measure small doses of methadone 10mg/ml volume?

The pharmacist must measure the methadone dose using a calibrated device with an error rate of no greater than 0.1ml, which is equal to 1mg. All devices used to measure methadone should be distinctive and recognizable and should be used only to measure methadone solutions. Devices should be labelled with a “methadone only” label and a “poison” auxiliary label with the international symbol of the skull and cross bones. Pharmacists may contact their wholesaler for assistance to locate a product that meets the required specifications. 

Can I dispense methadone 10 mg/ml to my patient in a syringe?

No. It has been deemed inappropriate to dispense methadone to former IV drug users in a syringe. If required the pharmacist may use a syringe with an error rate of no greater than 0.1ml, which is equal to 1mg, to measure small doses. 

Do I have to dispense carries for methadone 10 mg/ml in individual bottles?

Yes, this is a new requirement due to the smaller volume of methadone. Each dose must be measured and dispensed in individually labelled, appropriately sized, child resistant containers. It is not acceptable to dispense multiple carries in one container and have the patient measure individual doses at home. 

Do the patient and pharmacist need to sign to confirm the release of Methadone for Maintenance?

Yes. Prior to releasing the initial methadone prescription, the pharmacist and the patient must sign the Methadone Maintenance Controlled Prescription form in the space indicated on the bottom of the form to confirm the patient has received theinitial dose of the prescription. The patient and pharmacist must also sign the daily patient/prescription-specific log to acknowledge receipt of each witnessed ingestion dose, each partial dose and each take-home dose.

Neither the pharmacist nor the patient is permitted to pre-sign for future doses. The pharmacist must store the signed prescription and the patient/prescriptionspecific log together.  

Aren't pharmacists too busy preparing prescriptions to answer questions about medications?

On the contrary, an essential part of our job as pharmacists is to talk to you and discuss any questions you may have about your medications.

Can I ask my pharmacist about correct dosing and possible side effects of common over-the-counter (non-prescription drugs), supplements and herbal remedies?

Yes. Please talk to your pharmacist. Too few patients take advantage of the pharmacist's knowledge and ask questions about non-prescription drugs and alternative therapies.

Why does the pharmacist ask me questions about my medical conditions? Do they really need to know that?

Your pharmacist’s main responsibility is to find, fix and prevent drug related problems. Many medications can be used for more than one medical condition. In order to ensure that your medications are appropriate for you and that you will get the most benefit from them, your pharmacist has to understand why you are taking the medications.

Sometimes my pharmacist phones my doctor with some questions. Why do they need to bother the doctor?

Your pharmacist’s main responsibility is to find, fix and prevent drug related problems. Many medications can be used for more than one medical condition. In order to ensure that your medications are appropriate for you and that you will get the most benefit from them, your pharmacist has to understand why you are taking the medications. Sometimes they need to contact your doctor to confirm the reason the medication has been prescribed, or they may have some suggestions on a different medication or a different dosage that might work better for you. They may also want to talk the doctor about the other medications you are on, especially if there is a possibility of an interaction between two or more of your medications.

Why does my morphine prescription need to be written on a duplicate/triplicate prescription form?

There are specific classes of drugs under the Controlled Prescription Program (including narcotics) which have the potential for inappropriate use. These drugs must be written on a Controlled Prescription Program form for tracking purposes to reduce the potential for inappropriate prescribing and to prevent forgeries.

When do I need to pre-register with the College?

Pre-registration with the College of Pharmacists of BC is required prior to registering for the Bridging Program for those on the ‘Current Technicians’ path. The application form for pre-registration is available on the College website. 

Which post-secondary institutions are currently offering a CCAPP Accredited Pharmacy Technician Program?

Please check the CCAPP website for the list of Accredited Pharmacy Technician Programs: http://www.ccappaccredit.ca/accredited_programs/technician/history_by_program/ and the College website for more information.

Can a pharmacist accept a prescription for a controlled prescription (formerly called triplicate/duplicate) drug written by an out-of-province physician?

Yes and no. In certain emergency situations, a pharmacist can receive a prescription for a controlled prescription drug from an out-of-province physician that's not on the "approved" form. In these situations, as with any emergency, you should use your professional judgment as to whether you dispense the prescription or not. You can base your decision on the medical condition of the patient and surrounding circumstances.

However, it's your responsibility to make sure the prescription is legitimate and the physician is licensed to practise medicine in Canada. It may be reasonable for some patients, for example those who live close to the B.C./Alberta border, to have a physician in Alberta, and their pharmacy in B.C. In those cases, it may be appropriate to continue to dispense a controlled prescription from outside of B.C.

In most other circumstances, however, if a particular patient makes a habit of asking you to dispense prescriptions for controlled prescription drugs written by out-of-province physicians, you should refer the patient to a physician licensed to practise in B.C. You should not continue to dispense the prescriptions.

I just received a prescription written by a nurse practitioner from Alberta. Do out-of-province nurse practitioners have prescribing privileges in B.C.?

No, out-of-province nurse practitioners are not recognized prescribers in BC.  In order to prescribe, a person must be a “practitioner” as defined by PODSA.  While BC nurse practitioners are authorized under the provincial Health Professions Act to prescribe, out-of-province nurse practitioners do not fall within the definition of a “practitioner” in BC.

Depending on the drug and the situation, pharmacists should use their professional judgment to decide if it is appropriate to process a new or transferred nurse practitioner (out-of-province) prescription as an emergency supply prescription using the pharmacist’s ID as the prescriber. In all cases, clearly document the situation on the prescription.

Can I fill a prescription using product compounded by another pharmacy?

Pharmacists who do not provide specialty compounding services have two options:

1. Refer the patient to a pharmacy that can prepare the product.

2. Obtain the specialty compound by contracting with another pharmacist who provides the service. A contract between the two pharmacies must be signed and retained by both pharmacy managers if the service is contracted out.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email practicesupport@bcpharmacists.org

I suspect my coworker may have a substance use issue. Do I need to report this to the College?

I think that a pharmacist may have a substance use issue. I've never seen him use drugs on the job but his behaviour and appearance indicate that there may be a problem. He makes a lot of dispensing errors and since I hired him, I've noticed that a number of narcotics have been missing. Do I need to report this to the College even if I'm not sure that he has a substance abuse disorder and even though I'm not sure he is the cause of the missing narcotics?

Section 32.1 to 32.4 of the Health Professions Act states that “If a practitioner or registrant has reason to suspect that a person registered under this Act is suffering from a physical or mental ailment or an excessive personal use of alcohol or drugs that might constitute a danger to the public, the practitioner or registrant must immediately report this to the registrar.” This means that even if you don’t know for sure that a problem exists, but you have reason to be suspicious, you must report your concern to the college. College staff will ask you a number of questions and may suggest strategies for improving your monitoring systems so you can find out more about what is happening to your drug supply. They will also need to gather information about the pharmacist’s behaviour. If it turns out that the pharmacist does have a substance abuse problem, the College’s key interest will be to work with the pharmacist on a recovery program. This can be done through a mutual agreement with the pharmacist; an adversarial discipline process is not usually required. 

A deceased patient's wife recently brought the patient's unused narcotic medications to my pharmacy. Do I have to obtain authorization from Health Canada before I can destroy these narcotics?

No. Although the pharmacist still accepts legal responsibility for the drug and its destruction, Health Canada no longer requires pharmacies to request and receive pre-authorization for local destruction of unserviceable narcotics and controlled drugs. This means that pharmacists may proceed with destruction without notifying and receiving acknowledgment from Health Canada in advance. All other requirements, including documentation, remain in place.

Health Canada Letter - RE: Destruction of CDSA Drugs

Can a pharmacist accept a prescription for a controlled prescription (formerly called triplicate/duplicate) drug written by an out-of-province physician?

Yes and no. In certain emergency situations, a pharmacist can receive a prescription for a controlled prescription drug from an out-of-province physician or Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) physician that's not on the "approved" form. In these situations, as with any emergency, you should use your professional judgment as to whether you dispense the prescription or not. You can base your decision on the medical condition of the patient and surrounding circumstances.

However, it's your responsibility to make sure the prescription is legitimate and the physician is licensed to practise medicine in Canada. It may be reasonable for some patients, for example those who live close to the B.C./Alberta border, to have a physician in Alberta, and their pharmacy in B.C. In those cases, it may be appropriate to continue to dispense a controlled prescription from outside of B.C.

In most other circumstances, however, if a particular patient makes a habit of asking you to dispense prescriptions for controlled prescription drugs without an approved form written by out-of-province or CAF physicians, you should refer the patient to a physician licensed to practise in B.C. or a CAF physician with approved controlled prescription program forms.  You should not continue to dispense the prescriptions.

What is the proper way of documenting part-fills for controlled drugs and substances (including narcotics)?

In the past, Health Canada has expected pharmacists to document part-fills of controlled drugs and substances (including narcotics) by recording the quantity dispensed on a given date on the reverse side of the original prescription, along with the handwritten initials of the pharmacist responsible for dispensing the part-fill. In addition, a "paper trail" copy of the prescription, for information purposes, had to be included in the daily prescription file on each part-fill date.

Health Canada is now determined that the software commonly used in community pharmacies in British Columbia has automated many recordkeeping functions. It is now not necessary to add part-fill documentation to original prescriptions when a second and subsequent part-fill is processed, provided that the software program allows tracking between the part-fills (quantity, date, prescription number) and the original prescription. A "paper trail" copy of the prescription must continue to be filed in the daily prescription file on each part-fill date.

In the case of methadone prescriptions, pharmacists must continue to document each part-fill on the reverse side of the original prescription. A "paper trail" copy filed on each part-fill date is not required for methadone part-fills.

A patient brought in a prescription for two drugs. The patient only wants me to dispense one of these drugs and wants another pharmacy to dispense the other drug. What do I need to do?

The process you need to follow is different, depending upon which drug you dispense.

Amoxil® dispensing (non-narcotic) - you need to return the original prescription to the patient:

  • Process the prescription for Amoxil®.
  • On the original prescription, indicate that you have dispensed the Amoxil® and note your pharmacy name, your initials, and the date.
  • Photocopy the original prescription for your records.
  • On the photocopy, make a note that the original prescription was returned to the patient.
  • Return the original prescription to the patient. The patient can then have the undispensed narcotic prescription dispensed at the pharmacy of his/her choice.

Tylenol with Codeine No.3® dispensing (narcotic) - you need to keep the original prescription:

  • Process the prescription for Tylenol with Codeine No.3®.
  • Log the prescription for Amoxil®.
  • Photocopy the original prescription for your records.
  • On the original prescription, indicate that you have dispensed the Tylenol with Codeine No.3® and logged the Amoxil®. Note your pharmacy name, your initials, and the date.
  • You may photocopy the original prescription and provide the photocopy to the patient. Be sure to note your pharmacy name and telephone number on the photocopy so that the other pharmacy can contact you to transfer the Amoxil® prescription.
How does conscientious objection work in pharmacy practice?

If a pharmacy professional declines to provide a pharmacy service on the basis of a conscientious objection, he or she is required to adhere to the Colleges’ Code of Ethics, Standard 1 (g)(iii), cooperating in effective transfers of care initiated by the patient (without needing to make a referral).

Pharmacy professionals need to inform their pharmacy manager and employer of a conscientious objection either before they accept employment or at the earliest opportunity.

Pharmacies should have a process in place to ensure that in the case where a pharmacy professional conscientiously objects to providing a service, the patient can be directed to an alternate provider for the service in a timely manner.

Standard 1: Registrants Protect and Promote the Health and Well-Being of Patients

(g) Registrants must provide pharmacy services requested by patients and may only refuse to provide these services for any of the following reasons:

(iii) the provision of the product or service is contrary to the sincerely held conscientious or religious belief of a registrant, in which case the registrant must ensure that:

  • they have informed and explained to the pharmacy manager and employer of their conscientious or religious belief before they accept employment;
  • if the belief is formed after employment is accepted, they inform the pharmacy manager and employer at the earliest opportunity; o they do not discuss their personal beliefs or ask patients to disclose or justify their own beliefs;
  • they participate in a process designed to exercise their freedom of conscience and religion in a manner that respects the patient's right to receive products and services in a timely manner and in a way that minimizes suffering and hardship to the patient;
  • they fulfill their duty of care to the patient in a manner that is nonjudgmental, continuous and non-discriminatory;
  • in the event of failure of the system developed to ensure the timely delivery of the product or service, and notwithstanding the registrant’s conscientious or religious beliefs, they provide patients with enough information and assistance to allow them to make informed choices for themselves;
  • they cooperate in effective transfers of care initiated by the patient and are not required to make a referral; and
  • they do not rely on conscientious or religious beliefs in order to discriminate against any patient on morally irrelevant grounds including those outlined in Standard 3, Guideline g of this Code.
Are registered pharmacy technicians and pharmacists still required to comply with legislated requirements and their professional obligations, even if they are not working as a pharmacy technician or pharmacist?

Pharmacy technicians and pharmacists registered with the College are health professionals under the Health Professions Act and must uphold legislative requirements and professional obligations at all times.

This means that regardless of job title or role, a registered pharmacy technician or pharmacist must meet requirements under the Health Professions ActPharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act and in the College’s bylaws. As health professionals, they are held responsible to their own scope of practice and can be subject to disciplinary action for practice issues.

What is required by the general record keeping requirements in s. 23.1(1) of the PODSA Bylaws?

Bylaw Reference: PODSA Bylaws s. 23.1(1):

23.1. (1) All records required to be kept under bylaws of the college or other legislation that regulates the practice of pharmacy shall be readable, complete, filed systematically and maintained in a manner that is secure, auditable and allows for easy retrieval.

This general record keeping requirement applies to all pharmacies, regardless of the type of records they keep.  The following provides more information on the terms used in s. 23.1(1) of the PODSA Bylaws.

“Readable”

  • The readability requirement applies to all records, but is particularly relevant for paper records that are converted into an electronic format.
  • When converting paper records into electronic records by scanning, registrants must ensure that the image quality is sufficiently clear, the entire record is captured in the scan (i.e. the record is not partially cropped) and that the scan is an accurate representation of the original.  

“Complete”

  • The record should be a complete account of the registrant’s interaction with the patient, including the prescription and any notes made by the registrant.
  • When creating an electronic prescription record, all notes made on prescription must be scanned into system before the original prescription is discarded.  If notes are made on the prescription after it has been scanned, it must be re-scanned before it is discarded.
  • It is recommended that both the front and back of prescription is scanned, even if nothing is written on back.  

“Filed systematically”

  • Each pharmacy is responsible for establishing its own filing system.  For example, records may be filed chronologically, by patient name, etc.
  • Since the College does not prescribe how records are to be stored and maintained, we expect that there will be significant variations in how pharmacies choose to keep records.  As a result, the pharmacy manager will be required to ensure that there is a policy in place that describes the records filing system, records format, and the method and system for storing records, and backups.  Please refer to s. 23.2 of the PODSA Bylaws, which sets out requirements for the written record keeping policy.  

“secure”

  • Records must be secure from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, modification and destruction.
  • This is consistent with the new requirement for pharmacy managers to ensure that pharmacy records containing personal information about patients are secure from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, modification and destruction. (s. 18(2)(j.1) of the PODSA Bylaws)

“auditable”

  • Records should be auditable.
  • The Canadian General Standards Board CAN/CGSB-72.34-2017 – National Standard of Canada – Electronic records as documentary evidence defines “audit” and “audit trail” as follows.
  • An audit is a systematic review of recorded information activities for compliance with policies, procedures, and controls are established and complied with to meet all financial, operational, legal, and regulatory obligations.
  • An audit trail means a log of IT system activities that enables the reconstruction, reviewing and examination of the sequence of activities relating to an operation, a procedure, or an event in a transaction.

“easy retrieval”

  • Records should be readily accessible.
  • Please also refer to s. 23.1(2) and (3) of the PODSA Bylaws, which clarifies that “valid prescriptions” must be retrievable immediately.  In practice, this means that valid prescriptions should be stored on the pharmacy premise, or in an electronic format that can be accessed immediately.

Bylaw Reference: PODSA Bylaws s. 23.1(2) and (3):

23.1 (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a prescription record that is valid must be retrievable immediately.

(3) For purposes of subsection (2):

(a) prescriptions for oral contraceptives are valid for a period of up to two years from the prescribing date; and

(b) prescriptions other than for oral contraceptives are valid for a period of up to one year from the prescribing date.

Are all pharmacies required to comply with the new technology requirements?

Bylaw Reference: PODSA Bylaws s. 23.3(1):

23.3(1) A pharmacy may maintain electronic records containing personal health information if the pharmacy has the equipment, software and systems necessary for the input, storage, use, protection and retrieval of records that are required to be kept under bylaws of the college or other legislation that regulates the practice of pharmacy.

In addition, the detailed technology requirements are set out in s. 23.3 of the PODSA Bylaws.

A pharmacy must comply with the new technology requirements if it maintains electronic records containing personal health information.  Since most pharmacies keep some form of electronic records containing personal health information, most pharmacies will be required to comply with the new technology requirements.  However, pharmacies will have until May 13, 2019 to comply.

Are all pharmacies now required to keep electronic records?

No, pharmacies may either keep only electronic records, only hard copy records, or a combination of both.  Pharmacies that keep any form of electronic records containing personal health information must comply with the new technology requirements in s. 23.3 of the PODSA Bylaws by May 13, 2019.

Are electronic equivalents acceptable for all College-required documentation, including invoices and documentation in respect of the purchase, receipt or transfer of drugs, confidentiality forms, narcotic reconciliation records etc.?

Yes, pharmacies may keep all records required by the College in electronic format. Only records containing personal health information are required to be maintained in a system that complies with s. 23.3 of the PODSA Bylaws.  

Are all electronic records required to be maintained in a system that complies with the new technology requirements?

Bylaw reference: PODSA Bylaws, s.23.3(1):

23.3. (1) A pharmacy may maintain electronic records containing personal health information if the pharmacy has the equipment, software and systems necessary for the input, storage, use, protection and retrieval of records that are required to be kept under bylaws of the college or other legislation that regulates the practice of pharmacy.

Only records containing personal health information are required to be maintained in a system that complies with s. 23.3 of the PODSA Bylaws.  This means that records such as invoices and documentation in respect of the purchase, receipt or transfer of drugs, confidentiality forms, narcotic reconciliation records, and other non-patient related records may be kept in electronic form in a system of the pharmacy’s choice.

What should be included in the pharmacy’s written record keeping policy?

Bylaw reference: PODSA Bylaws, s. 23.2

23.2. (1) A pharmacy manager must ensure that a policy is in place that:

(a) describes the pharmacy’s records filing system, the records format and the method and system for storing records,

(b) is compliant with the sections 23.1, 23.2 and 23.3 requirements; and

(c) is readily accessible to and understood by pharmacy staff.

(2) With respect to electronic records, the policy must include a description of the process for the preservation, storage and backing up of records that is compliant with section 23.3 requirements.

Since the College does not prescribe how records are to be stored and maintained, we expect that there will be significant variations in how pharmacies choose to keep records.  Therefore, pharmacies will be required to have a policy in place that describes the pharmacy’s records filing system, the records format and the method and system for storing both hard copy and electronic records.  In addition, for electronic records the policy must include a description of the process for the preservation, storage and backing up of records.

What is an acceptable form of electronic signature?

Bylaw References: 

PODSA Bylaws - Definition of Electronic Signature

“electronic signature” means

(a) information in electronic form that a person has created or adopted in order to sign a record, other than with respect to a prescription signed by a full pharmacist for the purpose of prescribing, that is in, attached to or associated with a record, is secure and is only reproducible and used by that person; and,

(b) with respect to a prescription signed by a full pharmacist for the purpose of prescribing, the electronic signature must meet the requirements of paragraph (a) and must be a unique mark personally applied by that pharmacist;

HPA Bylaws - Definition of Electronic Initial

“electronic initial” means

(a) information in electronic form that a person has created or adopted in order to initial a record, other than with respect to a prescription initialed by a full pharmacist for the purpose of prescribing, that is in, attached to or associated with a record, is secure and is only reproducible and used by that person; and

(b) with respect to a prescription initialed by a full pharmacist for the purpose of prescribing, the electronic initial must meet the requirements of paragraph (a) and must be a unique mark personally applied by that pharmacist;

In general, an electronic signature must be “secure” and “only reproducible and used” by the person who is authorized to sign the record.  Examples of acceptable electronic signatures include signatures created by a stylus on a screen, and signatures generated by a barcode or a password.   It is important to note that in order for an electronic signature or initial to be “secure and only reproducible and used by that person”, a pharmacist must not share his/her barcode or password, as applicable, with any other person.

Electronic signatures and initials used by pharmacists for the purpose of prescribing must meet all of the general requirements set out above, and must also be a “unique mark personally applied by that pharmacist”.  This means that the signature must be a “wet signature” created by hand each time a document is signed.  This requirement is consistent with the requirements of the College of Physicians and Surgeons for physicians when signing prescriptions.

Can electronic records be stored on a cloud? If yes, does the cloud need to be located in Canada?

The College does not have restrictions on cloud storage.  However, as with all records, pharmacies must ensure that data is stored and accessed in accordance with applicable privacy law.

Pharmacies that are private-sector organizations are governed by B.C.’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA).  PIPA does not contain restrictions on the storage of, or access to, personal information from outside Canada.  Organizations subject to PIPA may therefore use cloud-based storage services outside Canada. Many community pharmacies will fall under this category.

Pharmacies that are “public bodies” are governed under B.C.’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).  Public bodies covered by FIPPA are, with some exceptions, required to ensure that personal information is stored and access only in Canada.  There is no exemption for cloud storage.  Hospital pharmacies and pharmacies run by a provincial health authority may fall under this category.  A private sector pharmacy that is under contract to a public body to provide pharmacy services for the public body may also fall under this category.

The PharmaNet database is subject to FIPPA.  Therefore, any information in PharmaNet or obtained from PharmaNet must be accessed, disclosed and stored in Canada. 

I just received a prescription written by a pharmacist from Alberta. Do out-of-province pharmacists have prescribing privileges in B.C.?

No, out-of-province pharmacists are not recognized prescribers in BC.  Although some pharmacists may have certain prescribing privileges in their own provinces, a valid prescription in BC must be written by a “practitioner” as defined by PODSA.  Out-of-province pharmacists do not fall within this definition of a “practitioner” in BC.

Depending on the drug and the situation, pharmacists should use their professional judgment to decide if it is appropriate to process a new or transferred pharmacist prescription as an emergency supply prescription using the pharmacist’s ID as the prescriber. In all cases, clearly document the situation on the prescription.

What information should be included on the business licence of the pharmacy?

The business licence must be current and valid, and must list the name of the Direct Owner, the pharmacy (operating) name, and the correct pharmacy address. If the pharmacy licence does not contain separate areas for the pharmacy name and the Direct Owner name, the following format should be used: “[Direct Owner Name] DBA [Pharmacy Name]”.

For further information on business licence requirements, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

Who is responsible for uploading the business licence for a pharmacy renewal application, and how do I upload one?

The business licence can be uploaded to the Pharmacy Portal 75 days prior to the licence expiry by the Authorized Representative(s) OR the pharmacy manager. To access the pharmacy portal, log into eServices, go to ‘My Pharmacies’ and scroll to the bottom of the page. At this point, you may have one of two views depending on your role(s): 

  • Authorized Representative: Click the ‘+’ sign next to the name of the Direct Owner to expand the list of pharmacies owned by that Direct Owner. Find the pharmacy due for renewal and click on the hyperlinked pharmacy name to access the pharmacy portal. Once you are in the Pharmacy Portal, review the pharmacy information on each tab and click the ‘Next’ button to advance to the ‘Business Licence’ tab where you can upload the business licence. Once you have uploaded the document, the file name and upload date will be updated. 
  • Pharmacy Manager: Click on the pharmacy’s name to access the Pharmacy Portal. Once you are in the Pharmacy Portal, review the pharmacy information on each tab and click the ‘Next’ button to advance to the ‘Business Licence’ tab where you can upload the business licence. Once you have uploaded the document, the file name and upload date will be updated.

For further instruction on uploading a business licence, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

My municipality does not issue a business licence. How do I complete this requirement for renewal?

If your pharmacy or telepharmacy is located in a jurisdiction that does not issue a business licence, you should provide a letter or correspondence from the jurisdiction which confirms that they do not issue a business licence. You should upload the document in place of the business licence on eServices.

For further information on the business licence requirements, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

When can I submit my pharmacy renewal application?

You may submit the pharmacy licence renewal requirements once you receive your pharmacy renewal notice approximately 75 days before the pharmacy licence expiry date. You will not have access to submit the renewal requirements prior to receiving the renewal notice. You may prepare for renewal in advance by compiling any ownership documents required and ensuring your business licence meets all requirements.

For further information on what is required for pharmacy renewal, refer to the College website or the Pharmacy Licensure Guide .

What are the requirements for renewal?

The pharmacy licence renewal requirements vary depending on the type of ownership of your pharmacy. Most pharmacies in B.C. are owned by corporations and are required to submit the following:

  • Ownership documents
  • A copy of the current business licence issued by the municipality (if applicable)
  • Proof of Eligibility from each Indirect Owner and the pharmacy manager
  • Payment of the renewal fee

This checklist will provide details regarding the above requirements.

If your pharmacy is not owned by a corporation (i.e. hospital, university, sole proprietor, etc.), the renewal requirements will differ slightly.

For further information on renewal requirements, refer to the College website or the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

How can I track the status of my pharmacy licence renewal application? Is there a way for me to see which of my Indirect Owners has not submitted a requirement?

The status of the pharmacy licence renewal application can be tracked on eServices by either the Authorized Representative(s) or the pharmacy manager. Indirect Owners of the pharmacy will not be able to track the renewal status, or see the status of their Proof of Eligibility. Indirect Owners should reach out to their Authorized Representative(s) if they have questions about the renewal status of a pharmacy. The steps taken to access this information on eServices by the Authorized Representative(s) or pharmacy manager are different depending on your role(s). However, note that only the Authorized Representative(s) of the pharmacy can see who has and has not submitted their attestation and/or Criminal Record History (CRH).

  • Authorized Representative: Log into eServices and go to ‘My Pharmacies’. Scroll down and expand the list of pharmacies by clicking on the ‘+’ sign next to the name of the Direct Owner. Once you have expanded the list of pharmacies owned by that Direct Owner, scroll down the list to find the pharmacy due for renewal. Next to the pharmacy name, you will see the status of the attestation, CRH, business licence, and payment. The status of the ownership information will be listed next to the name of the Direct Owner. To view the detailed list of Indirect Owners, click on the ‘Pending’ link under the Renewal Complete column. This detailed list will display all of the Indirect Owners and whether or not they have submitted their attestation and/or CRH. This list does not disclose the eligibility status of the attestation and CRH.
  • Pharmacy Manager: Log into eServices and go to ‘My Pharmacies’. Scroll down to the pharmacy summary at the bottom of the page. This summary will provide the status of the ownership information, attestation, CRH, business licence, and payment. Note that only the Authorized Representative(s) of a pharmacy are able see a detailed view of which Indirect Owners have submitted their attestation or Criminal Record History (CRH). 

Note: the ‘Attestation Summary’ and ‘CRH Summary’ statuses refers to the status of all attestations and Criminal Record History results required for the pharmacy renewal application. If one or more individuals has not submitted their attestation and/or CRH, the ‘Attestation Summary’ and/or ‘CRH Summary’ column status will show as ‘Pending’, regardless of whether you have personally submitted this information.

For further explanation of each renewal status, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

Who is responsible for submitting the requirements for a pharmacy licence renewal application?

The Authorized Representative(s) is responsible for ensuring that all renewal requirements are submitted before the deadline and will have access to submit most of this information. However, all Indirect Owners (if applicable) and the pharmacy manager will have to submit Proof of Eligibility as part of the renewal application. The pharmacy manager will also have access to submit a copy of the current business licence.

The renewal status can be monitored by the Authorized Representative(s) and the pharmacy manager on their eServices account. The Indirect Owners of the pharmacy will not be able to track the renewal status, or see the status of their Proof of Eligibility. Indirect Owners should reach out to their Authorized Representative(s) if they have questions about the renewal status of a pharmacy.

For further details on tracking the renewal status can be found in the ‘How can I track the status of my pharmacy renewal application?’ FAQ.​

What are my responsibilities as a pharmacy manager for the pharmacy licence renewal?

As the pharmacy manager, you must complete your Proof of Eligibility and you may also upload a copy of the current business licence. Proof of Eligibility consists of a yearly attestation and a Criminal Record History (CRH) which must be submitted once every 5 years. The business licence may be uploaded by either the pharmacy manager or Authorized Representative(s). As the manager, you should discuss with your Authorized Representative(s) who will be responsible for uploading the business licence on eServices before the due date.

Ensuring the submission of all other renewal requirements is the responsibility of the Authorized Representative(s) of the Direct Owner(s).  

For further information about pharmacy renewal, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

When is the deadline to submit the pharmacy licence renewal application?

All requirements must be received by the College no later than 30 days before the pharmacy licence expiry date. If the College has not received the requirements on or before the 30 day deadline, the pharmacy licence renewal application will be referred to the Application Committee for review and an administrative fee may be applied.

For further information on pharmacy renewal, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

What happens if I do not submit all of the requirements by the renewal deadline (30 days before the pharmacy licence expires)?

Failure to submit all of the renewal requirements: ownership information, Proof of Eligibility (attestation & CRH) from the pharmacy manager and all Indirect Owners (if the Direct Owner is a corporation(s)), a valid business licence (if applicable) and payment, will result in your pharmacy licence renewal application being referred to the Application Committee for review and an administrative fee may be applied. 

For further information on the Application Committee, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

What is the Application Committee?

The Application Committee (AC) is a legislative committee established under the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act and Health Professions Act to review any pharmacy licence applications that do not meet the eligibility criteria, are incomplete, or have false or misleading information. The AC may issue, renew or reinstate a pharmacy licence (with or without conditions), or refuse to issue, renew or reinstate a pharmacy licence.

For further information on the Application Committee, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

What type of applications are there? What requirements do I have to submit?

In addition to a new pharmacy licence application and renewal application, the Direct Owner needs to notify the College when the following changes to the pharmacy occur. The requirements for each type of application can be found by clicking on the application name below:

Type of Change Details Deadline to Submit
Change of Direct Owner A change in ownership from one legal entity to another (including amalgamation).  Minimum 30 days before the effective date of change.
Change of Indirect Owner A change of directors, officers, and/or shareholders of a non-publicly traded BC corporation.  Minimum 7 days before the effective date of change.
Change of Manager A change in pharmacy manager. Minimum 7 days before the effective date of change.
Change of Corporation Name A change in the name of the corporation, which can be either a direct or indirect owner of a pharmacy. Recommended 7 days before effective date of change.
Change of Operating Name A change in the pharmacy name. Minimum 30 days before the effective date of change.
Change of Location A change in the location of the pharmacy. Minimum 30 days before the effective date of change.
Change in Layout A change in the layout of the pharmacy. Minimum 30 days before the effective date of change.
Pharmacy Closure A permanent closure of the pharmacy. Minimum 30 days before the effective date of change.

The College is considered to have received notification once a change application is received. All applications should be sent to licensure@bcpharmacists.org.

For further information on the different change applications, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

Who can submit a pharmacy application?

The Authorized Representative(s) of the Direct Owner of a pharmacy will be responsible for submitting licensure applications. For example, the Authorized Representative(s) of a pharmacy owned by a corporation will be the director(s) of the Direct Owner. Officers, shareholders, and pharmacy managers are not able to submit change applications.

For further information on each pharmacy application, refer to the College website or the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

How do I submit a Change of Manager application? As the pharmacy manager can I submit the change request?

A Change of Manager application must be submitted through eServices by one of the Authorized Representative(s) of the pharmacy. The current pharmacy manager will not have access to make this change (unless they are also an Authorized Representative of the pharmacy). A manager change request must be submitted at least 7 days before the effective date to allow the new manager time to complete his/her Proof of Eligibility (attestation and Criminal Record History). The manager change will not be completed until the College receives the new manager’s Proof of Eligibility.

Authorized Representative(s) can follow the instructions in the Pharmacy Licensure Guide to submit a Change of Manager application on eServices.

When should I submit my change application? How much notice do I need to give the College?

Pursuant to section 4(d) of the Pharmacy Operations General Regulation, the College must be notified as follows:

“(a)at least 7 days before a manager ceases to manage a pharmacy;
(b)at least 30 days before the location of a pharmacy changes;
(c)at least 30 days before a direct owner changes;
(d)at least 7 days before an indirect owner changes;
(e)on becoming aware that a direct owner has ceased to be eligible, under section 3 of the Act, to hold a pharmacy licence.”

Additionally, pursuant to section 4.1(3) of the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act (PODSA):

“a direct owner must give to the registrar 30 days' written notice of any changes respecting the name or layout of the pharmacy.”

Pursuant to section 18(8)(d) of the PODSA Bylaws, a pharmacy closure application must be submitted at least thirty days before the effective date of proposed closure.

Failure to submit an application within the correct timeline may lead to a delay in the application process or referral to the Application Committee.

A summary of the prescribed timelines for all pharmacy applications can be found in the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

My pharmacy will be undergoing multiple changes in the near future (e.g. I am changing the operating name and the layout of a pharmacy). What should I do?

If your pharmacy is undergoing multiple changes, you must submit all appropriate change applications. For example, a pharmacy that is planning to undergo renovations and is also changing the pharmacy name would submit both a Change of Layout application as well as a Change of Operating Name application. Note that applications have different notification periods and processing times which should be adhered to. For further details on application processing times, refer to the ‘What type of applications are there? What requirements do I have to submit?’ FAQ . Failure to provide enough notice to the College may result in a delay in processing or referral to the Application Committee.

For further information on submitting multiple change applications, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

I am planning to make the same change (e.g. changing the Direct Owner, corporate name, etc.) for all pharmacies owned by my corporation. How should I notify the College?

If the same change applies to multiple pharmacies, you have two options to complete the change application for all applicable pharmacies:

  1. Submit a change application for each pharmacy affected by the same change.
  2. Submit a change application for one pharmacy and use Form 9: Pharmacy Licensure – Multiple Pharmacies to list all other pharmacies impacted by the same change.

For further information, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

The College recently completed an inspection at my pharmacy and identified that there was a Change in Layout of the pharmacy which was not reported to the College. What process should I follow to rectify this?

Pursuant to section 4.1(3) of the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act, a Direct Owner must give the Registrar 30 days' written notice of any changes respecting the layout of the pharmacy.

To comply with this provision, you must complete and submit the following to the Licensure Department by email at licensure@bcpharmacists.org:

All required documents and more information about the Change in Layout application process can be found on the College website, or in the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

How long will it take to process my pharmacy application?

Typically the processing time for each phase of an application is 7 days. Some of the change applications have multiple phases which will add to the processing time. An application submitted without all the requirements may result in a delay in processing.

For further information on the timeline of each application, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

I am relocating my pharmacy, when can I operate in the new location?

The Change of Location application must be completed before the pharmacy can operate in a new location. Pursuant to section 6(1)(b) of the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act, a pharmacy licence is cancelled if the location of the pharmacy changes. If the new location is open before a new licence is issued by the College, the pharmacy will be operating unlawfully.

For further information on the Change of Location process, refer to the College website or the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

Where can I find the invoice for my pharmacy licence renewal application?

Only the Authorized Representative(s) have access to view invoices and submit payment for a pharmacy licence renewal. In the ‘My Pharmacies’ section of eServices, click on the name of the Direct Owner (owner of the pharmacy). Once you have submitted the ownership requirements, you will land on the payment page. This page will have a ‘Print Invoice’ option that will print a list of all pharmacies due for renewal within the chosen month.

For further information regarding printing the invoice, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

Where can I find my pharmacy licence?

The pharmacy licence can be downloaded by any Authorized Representative(s) or the pharmacy manager from the Pharmacy Portal. To access the Pharmacy Portal, log into eServices, go to ‘My Pharmacies’ and scroll to the bottom of the page. At this point, you may have one of two views depending on your role(s): 

  • Authorized Representative: Click the '+' sign next to the name of the Direct Owner, and then the pharmacy name. On the next page you will see the 'Download Pharmacy Licence' button.
  • Pharmacy Manager: Click on the pharmacy name. On the next page you will see the 'Download Pharmacy Licence' button.

For further instructions on how to download the pharmacy licence, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

Do I have to report a change in pharmacy hours?

Yes, pursuant to the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act Bylaws, the pharmacy hours, both when a pharmacist is on and off duty, must be reported to the College. This change can be reported by either the Authorized Representative(s) or the pharmacy manager in the Pharmacy Portal. To access the Pharmacy Portal, log into eServices, go to ‘My Pharmacies’ and scroll to the bottom of the page. At this point, you may have one of two views depending on your role(s):

  • Authorized Representative: Click the '+' sign next to the name of the Direct Owner, and then the pharmacy name. On the next page you must click ‘Next’ at the bottom of both the ‘Profile’ and ‘Staff’ pages to access the ‘Services’ page. You may edit the start or end time by selecting the correct time in the dropdown menu on the corresponding day of the week. To save changes, click the ‘Next’ button once all hours have been updated.
  • Pharmacy Manager: Click on the pharmacy name. On the next page you must click ‘Next’ at the bottom of both the ‘Profile’ and ‘Staff’ pages to access the ‘Services’ page. You may edit the start or end time by selecting the correct time in the dropdown menu on the corresponding day of the week. To save changes, click the ‘Next’ button once all hours have been updated.

For further information on updating the pharmacy hours, refer to the College website or the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

As the pharmacy manager, how do I update the pharmacy staff roster?

In order to update the roster, login to eServices, click on ‘My Pharmacies’, and then the name of the pharmacy. Once in the pharmacy portal, click the ‘Next’ button to access the staff roster. Use the ‘Add’, ‘Edit’, and ‘Delete’ buttons to update the staff roster.

Pursuant to section 18(2)(c) of the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act Bylaws, a manager must notify the Registrar in writing of the appointments and resignations of registrant’s as they occur by updating the pharmacy staff roster in eServices.

For further information regarding updates to the staff roster, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

How do I complete my Proof of Eligibility?

Proof of Eligibility (POE) can be completed by logging into eServices, clicking 'My Profile' > 'Proof of Eligibility'. Complete the information on each of the pages, clicking ‘Next’ at the bottom of each page to navigate through the tabs. If applicable, the last tab provides instructions to complete the Criminal Record History (CRH) portion of the POE. The CRH will be completed on a third party site, and it may take up to 7 days for the College to receive the result. You will only have to complete a CRH once every 5 years. Once you have completed your POE, click the ‘Close’ button.

Note: POE must be completed on a desktop computer using one of the recommended browsers: Google Chrome or Internet Explorer.

For further information on Proof of Eligibility, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

How often do I have to complete my Proof of Eligibility?

Proof of Eligibility consists of both an attestation and Criminal Record History (CRH). The attestation must be completed annually for each pharmacy, or when an individual takes on a new role within the pharmacy. The CRH must be completed once every five years.

Note that the CRH is not the same as the Criminal Record Check (CRC) that is completed by registrants of the College. All owners who are registered pharmacists as well as the pharmacy manager must also continue to undergo the separate CRC process to maintain their registration with the College.

For further information on Proof of Eligibility, refer to the College website, or the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

What is a Criminal Record History (CRH) and why is it required?

CRH involves a search of criminal record history information in the databases of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and local police stations to determine whether the eligibility criteria to hold a pharmacy licence is met. Specifically, pursuant to the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act (PODSA), “no direct owner, indirect owner or manager has, within the previous 6 years, been convicted of an offence under the Criminal Code (Canada)”.

If this eligibility requirement is not met by owners and managers, the pharmacy application will be referred to the Application Committee (AC) for review. After reviewing the pharmacy application, the AC may request additional information or evidence and may then issue, renew, or reinstate the pharmacy licence with or without conditions, or refuse to issue, renew, or reinstate the pharmacy licence.

The CRH search will be conducted by the Board-approved external vendor, Sterling Backcheck, a professional private criminal record check provider that partners with local police stations to provide results.

For further information on Criminal Record History, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

I have completed my Criminal Record History (CRH) with Sterling Backcheck using instructions provided by the College. How do I share my results with the College? When will the College receive my results?

The CRH results will be sent directly from Sterling Backcheck to the College. Note that although you may have already received your results, it can take up to 7 days for the College to receive this information. Please do not send your results to the College; we only accept this information directly from Sterling Backcheck.

For further information on Criminal Record History results, please refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

I have submitted my attestation and Criminal Record History (CRH). How can I check to make sure I’ve completed my Proof of Eligibility?

Only Authorized Representative(s) of the pharmacy may check who has submitted their Proof of Eligibility on eServices. Indirect Owner(s) and the pharmacy manager can either contact an Authorized Representative to confirm that their attestation and Criminal Record History (CRH) have been submitted, or they may contact the Licensure Department via email at licensure@bcpharmacists.org. Note that the Licensure Department will not disclose the eligibility status of the Indirect Owner(s) or pharmacy manager.

Authorized Representative(s) may follow the instructions below to access the Proof of Eligibility information:

  • Authorized Representative: Log into eServices and go to ‘My Pharmacies’. Scroll down and expand the list of pharmacies by clicking on the ‘+’ sign next to the name of the Direct Owner. Once you have expanded the list of pharmacies owned by that Direct Owner, scroll down the list to find the pharmacy due for renewal. This initial list view will provide the status of the ownership documents, attestation, CRH, business licence, and payment. To view the detailed list of Indirect Owners, click on the ‘Pending’ link under the Renewal Complete column. This detailed list will display all of the Indirect Owners and pharmacy manager, and whether or not they have submitted their attestation and/or CRH. This list does not disclose the eligibility status of the attestation and CRH.

For further information regarding the status of your pharmacy renewal, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

I am a registrant with the College and have completed a Criminal Record Check (CRC) during my registration renewal. Why do I have to submit a Criminal Record History (CRH)? What is the difference between the two checks?

All registered pharmacists and pharmacy technicians currently undergo a CRC through the Criminal Records Review Program (CRRP) as required under the Health Professions Act (HPA) at the time of initial registration and at least every 5 years thereafter at the time of registration renewal. This check does not provide the level of comprehensiveness which is provided by the CRH which is required under the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act (PODSA). The CRRP is also specific to registrants and does not provide a means for the Criminal Record History of non-registrants to be checked.

The College cannot use the same CRC under the CRRP for the pharmacy licensing process since it does not meet the CRH requirements included in PODSA.

All Direct and Indirect Owners and managers must submit a CRH as part of the licensure process. All owners who are registered pharmacists and managers must continue to undergo the separate CRC process to maintain their registration with the College.

For further information on the differences between CRC and CRH, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

Who can I speak with at the College if I have questions or concerns regarding the privacy and confidentiality of my Criminal Record History (CRH) information?

The Privacy Officer at the College is responsible for ensuring compliance with the appropriate privacy legislation and can be reached at privacy@bcpharmacists.org. The College collects, uses, and discloses personal information in accordance with BC’s Health Professions Act (HPA), Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act (PODSA), Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and other applicable legislation. The College is committed to protecting your privacy and applies best practices in doing so.

For further information regarding privacy considerations, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

Which applications require submission of a pharmacy diagram? What are the pharmacy diagram requirements and what scale should it be drawn to?

A pharmacy diagram must be submitted for the following change applications:

You must ensure that the diagram is professionally drawn to scale of ¼ inch equals 1 foot. All pharmacies must show that they meet the physical requirements set out in the PODSA bylaws. The diagram checklist (Community or Hospital) will provide a list of all requirements. A diagram that is not drawn to scale or is missing requirements may cause a delay in the application process.

For further information on pharmacy diagrams, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

How do I complete my pre-opening/change of layout inspection report?

The pre-opening inspection report must be completed as part of the New Pharmacy, Change of Layout, and Change of Location applications. Both items must be submitted:

  1. Pre-Opening Inspection Report
  2. Supporting Digital Evidence in the form of photos or videos

Appendix B in the Pharmacy Licensure Guide provides recommended content for digital evidence. If completing a New Pharmacy application or Change of Location application, you must provide digital evidence for all items. If you are submitting a Change of Layout application, complete up to the Security section only.

For further information on the pre-opening inspection, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

How do I submit photos or video for my pre-opening inspection?

Pre-opening inspections require supporting digital evidence to show your pharmacy meets the requirements for licensure. Digital evidence (photos/videos) may be submitted to the College via email at licensure@bcpharmacists.org using the PowerPoint template provided by the College or by uploading the digital evidence to a file sharing service such as Google Drive, One Drive, or Dropbox and sharing a link to the folder if the file is too large to transmit via email.

Appendix B in the Pharmacy Licensure Guide provides recommended content for digital evidence on each requirement in the pre-opening inspection report.

For further information on digital evidence, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

What are some tips for producing the digital evidence?

Digital evidence (photos/videos) is required to show that your pharmacy has met all the physical requirements and that they adhere to the PODSA bylaws.  Photos should be taken from a few different angles/distances to provide context. A close-up photo of a physical requirement may not be sufficient; therefore you may need to step back 5-6 feet in order to put the physical requirement in context of its surroundings.

Delays in approving digital evidence are usually due to the following:

  • Digital evidence was not provided for all physical requirements
  • Context was not provided and the College cannot confirm compliance
  • A physical requirement does not meet all descriptive requirements outlined in the PODSA bylaws

Appendix B in the Pharmacy Licensure Guide provides recommended content for digital evidence. If completing a New Pharmacy application or Change of Location application, you must provide digital evidence for all items. If you are submitting a Change of Layout application, complete up to the Security section only.

For further information on digital evidence, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

My pharmacy is relocating, how do I submit photos to demonstrate compliance when I can’t move my equipment until the day of the move?

A pharmacy that is changing location must meet all of the requirements outlined in the pre-opening inspection report prior to moving into the new pharmacy. The College recognizes that some equipment may still be in use up until the day of the move such as computer terminals, equipment, time-delay safe, fridge, etc. In this case, take photos of the equipment in the existing location and submit a photo showing where the equipment will be placed in the new pharmacy using placeholders. Additional photos may be requested after the move to confirm the final layout of the equipment matches the pharmacy diagram submitted.

What is a Central Securities Register and how do I obtain one?

A company/corporation must maintain a Central Securities Register (CSR) in accordance with the requirements in the Business Corporations Act. This document lists the shareholders of the corporation. You can obtain this document from either the lawyer or law firm who incorporated your company, or from the individual who is responsible for maintaining this document within your corporation. This document must include: all shares issued by a company, the name and last known address of each shareholder, and the number, class and any series of any shares owned by that shareholder. This document must be certified by a lawyer or notary before being submitted to the College.

For further information on the Central Securities Register, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

Can I submit a Register of Directors instead of the Central Securities Register?

No. The Register of Directors only lists the directors and officers of a corporation. In order to validate the names of the shareholders (Indirect Owners) within the corporation, the College requires the certified Central Securities Register which lists the shareholders.

For further information on the Central Securities Register, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

I am purchasing/selling a pharmacy. What should I do?

The process of purchasing or selling a pharmacy is considered a Change of Direct Owner. This application is submitted to the College by the new Direct Owner of the pharmacy (i.e., the purchaser). However, the current Direct Owner of the pharmacy (i.e., the seller), must confirm the change by signing the application form. The new Direct Owner must submit a Change of Direct Owner application and all applicable requirements to the College at least 30 days before the effective date of change. If updated corporate documents are unavailable 30 days prior to the change, the Deferred Submission of a Required Document(s) for Change Application form must be submitted with the Change of Direct Owner application.

For further information on a Change of Direct Owner application, refer to the College website or the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

What are the differences between a Change of Direct Owner and a Change of Corporation Name?

A Change of Direct Owner occurs when a pharmacy is sold from one entity to another. This also includes amalgamation. A Change of Corporation Name occurs when the corporation that currently owns the pharmacy changes in name only. One way to distinguish the difference is that a Change of Direct Owner will result in a new incorporation number, whereas a Change of Corporation Name will result in the incorporation number staying the same.  

For further information, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

What is the difference between a Direct Owner (DO) and an Indirect Owner (IO)?

The name of the Direct Owner of the pharmacy is printed on the current pharmacy licence. In most cases, the Direct Owner of the pharmacy is a corporation.  Indirect Owners of the pharmacy are the directors, officers, and shareholders of this Direct Owner corporation and/or any other corporations related to the ownership structure of this pharmacy. Indirect Owners can be individuals (pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, or non-registrants), or corporations.

  • Directors: individuals identified on the Notice of Articles or BC Company Summary, issued by BC Registry Services. The majority of directors of the Direct Owner must be pharmacists. If the directors of a corporation change, you must submit a Change of Indirect Owner application, and the Notice of Change of Directors issued by BC Registry Services.
  • Officers: individuals identified on the BC Company Summary or Annual Report issued by BC Registry Services. If the officers of a corporation change, you must submit a Change of Indirect Owner application, and the updated BC Company Summary issued by BC Registry Services.
  • Shareholders: any individual or corporation that holds shares of the Direct Owner or Indirect Owner who is identified on the Central Securities Register of a non-publicly traded corporation. If the shareholders of a corporation change, you must submit a Change of Indirect Owner application and an updated certified copy of the Central Securities Register.

Note: If a shareholder is a non-publicly traded corporation, the directors, officers, and shareholders of this corporation are also considered Indirect Owners.

For further information on pharmacy ownership, refer to the College website or the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

What happens if my corporation undergoes an amalgamation?

Amalgamating is the process where two or more corporations merge and carry on as one corporation, the "amalgamated corporation". The “amalgamated corporation” is a new legal entity, regardless of whether the “amalgamated corporation” has the same name or people as any of the “amalgamating corporations”. If the Direct Owner of a pharmacy amalgamates, you must submit a Change of Direct Owner application. An amalgamation is considered a Change of Direct Owner because the “amalgamated corporation” is a new legal entity which has a new BC Incorporation Number.

For further information regarding a Change of Direct Owner application, refer to the College website or the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

My pharmacy is currently undergoing renewal, but I am selling the pharmacy. Should I complete the renewal process or submit a change application? Are the renewal fees refundable?

To maintain a pharmacy licence, either the new Direct Owner must complete the Change of Direct Owner application and its requirements before the existing pharmacy licence expires, OR the current Direct Owner must renew the pharmacy licence before it expires. If the Change of Direct Owner application will not be completed before the pharmacy licence expires, the current Direct Owner should renew the pharmacy licence first. The new Direct Owner can submit the Change of Direct Owner application when the sale is confirmed. If the Change of Direct Owner application is not completed and the current Direct Owner did not renew the pharmacy licence before it expires, the pharmacy must remain closed. The new Direct Owner will then have to apply for a New Pharmacy Licence by following the New Pharmacy Licence process outlined in the Pharmacy Licensure Guide. All licensing fees are non-refundable.

Note: If the current Direct Owner will not be renewing the pharmacy licence, the new Direct Owner must inform the College of the Change of Direct Owner by submitting the Change of Direct Owner application before the pharmacy renewal deadline, i.e., 30 days before the licence expires. If all requirements for the pharmacy renewal application are not submitted before the deadline, and the College has not been informed of the Change of Direct Owner via an application, then the renewal is considered late and will be referred to the Application Committee for review and an administrative fee may be applied. 

For further information regarding a Change of Direct Owner application, refer to the College website, or the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

I only hold non-voting shares of the Direct Owner or corporation associated with the ownership of a pharmacy. Am I still considered an Indirect Owner and required to submit Proof of Eligibility?

Yes, all shareholders, regardless of the type or number of shares they hold, are considered Indirect Owners of the pharmacy and must submit Proof of Eligibility for all applicable applications.

For further information on Indirect Owners and pharmacy ownership, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

I’m not a registered pharmacist in BC. Can I own a pharmacy?

Yes, non-pharmacists may have ownership of a pharmacy. However, the majority of directors of the Direct Owner must be pharmacists registered in BC. In order to meet the majority requirement, more than 50% of the directors must be pharmacists (regardless of who has the majority of shares within the corporation).

Note: All Direct Owners and Indirect Owners must also comply with the eligibility criteria outlined in the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act. One of the criteria to hold a pharmacy licence is that “a person authorized by an enactment to prescribe drugs must not be a Direct Owner or an Indirect Owner.”

For further information on pharmacy ownership, refer to the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

How long does it take to process my pre-registration application?

At least 30 business days to process due to the Criminal Record Check (CRC), and it can potentially take longer.  If adjudication or fingerprints is requested by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, the processing time will be delayed.  Once completed, a confirmation email will be sent.

Who can notarize my documents?

Only a Notary Public or lawyer can notarize your documents.  Other professionals, including a Commissioner for Oaths, will not be accepted.

Can I email or fax my pre-registration application and documents?

No, faxed or emailed pre-registration applications and notarized documents must be mailed to the College as original copies are required. However, if a required document does not have to be notarized, it can be emailed or faxed.

Some of my documents like my birth certificate are not in English, will they be accepted?

Documents in a language other than English must be translated by a certified translator.  Thus, documents that require notarization, should be notarized first and then translated. 

I am an International Pharmacy Graduate. Will my pharmacy degree be accepted in Canada?

You need to contact the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) to have your documents evaluated.  Visit the PEBC website (www.pebc.ca) for more information.

I will be starting first year in the pharmacy program at UBC. When do I need to submit my student registration by?

Your online student registration application and notarized documents should be received by the College office no later than September 1, before the start of your first year in the pharmacy program.

I am currently working as a pharmacy assistant. Can I still do the pharmacy technician Bridging program to get registered as a pharmacy technician?

The “Currently in Practice” pathway which provided an opportunity for pharmacy assistants to become registered in BC, is no longer available as of December 31, 2015.  Thus, to become a registered pharmacy technician in BC you will need to take the New Pharmacy Technician Graduate ("New to Practice") path and successfully complete a CCAPP accredited pharmacy technician program offered through a public or private college: https://www.bcpharmacists.org/new-pt-graduate-canada.

How long does it take to process my reinstatement application?

At least 30 business days to process due to the Criminal Record Check (CRC), and it can potentially take longer.  If adjudication or fingerprints is requested by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, the processing time will be delayed.  Once completed, a confirmation email will be sent.

Can I email or fax my reinstatement application and documents?

No, faxed or emailed reinstatement applications and notarized documents must be mailed to the College as original copies are required. However, if a required document does not have to notarized, it can be emailed or faxed. 

How long does it take to process my full registration (pharmacist or pharmacy technician) application?

When received, up to 5 business days.  Once completed, a confirmation email will be sent.  You will be contacted if any requirements are missing.

Can I email or fax my Full Registration application?

Yes, you can email or fax it to the College.

Where can I obtain professional liability insurance?

Professional liability insurance may be provided by an employer or purchased yourself through any private insurance broker or membership with the BC Pharmacy Association. Your insurance must meet all 3 criteria listed in the professional liability insurance section on page 1 of the Full Pharmacist or Pharmacy Technician Registration application form.

I was born and raised in Canada, and completed high school in Canada but I received my pharmacy degree in the United Kingdom. Do I still have to complete an English Language Proficiency (ELP) test?

Yes.  According to the ELP standards set by the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA), if you obtained your pharmacy degree outside of Canada or the USA, you are required to complete an English Language Proficiency test, regardless of your previous secondary or post-secondary education, work experience or official language of the country where you obtained your pharmacy degree. Please refer to the Registration Committee Policy-1 on the College website.

Where can I take my English Language Proficiency (ELP) test?

Refer to Appendix 1 of the Registration Committee Policy-1 for a list of the accepted ELP assessments.

How can I submit my English Language Proficiency (ELP) test scores?

Official ELP results must be sent directly from the testing agency to the College.  However for IELTS, a copy of the IELTS report or the TRF number is accepted via email or fax from an applicant because IELTS scores can be verified online.

What is the validity period of my English Language Proficiency (ELP) result?

ELP results are valid for 2 years from the date the exam was written.

How often is the Jurisprudence Exam (JE) held?

JE sittings are held three times a year in February, June and October.  Refer to the College website for details.  This webpage will be updated when the exam date, times and locations have been confirmed.

How can I register for the Jurisprudence Exam (JE)?

Registration for the JE is completed online through eServices, thus an applicant must be pre-registered with the College to be eligible to write the JE.

I am registered in another province as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician and am applying through the “Canadian Free Trade Agreement” (CFTA). Do I need to write the BC Jurisprudence Exam?

No.  As a registered, practicing pharmacist or pharmacy technician from another Canadian province/territory, you are not required to complete any additional assessments, including the BC Jurisprudence Exam.

What is the validity period of my Jurisprudence Exam (JE) results?

JE results are valid for 3 years from the date the exam was written.

When does the registration for the next sitting of the Jurisprudence Exam (JE) open and close?

JE registration opens online approximately two months before the exam date and closes approximately one month before the exam date.  Once the exam date, times and locations have been confirmed, the College website will be updated.  You can also find the registration deadline date on the same webpage.

What is being tested in the Jurisprudence Exam (JE)?

The JE is based on legislation contained in federal and provincial acts, their regulations, bylaws and published College Professional Practice Policies that pertain to pharmacy practice and registrant (pharmacist or pharmacy technician) responsibilities in the practice of pharmacy.  Refer to the JE Information Guide document for details.

For Pharmacists, where/how do I complete Structured Practical Training (SPT)?

The Structured Practical Training (SPT) requirement for the College is completed through the Canadian Pharmacy Practice Program (CP3) at UBC’s Division of Continuing Pharmacy Professional Development. The College recognizes the SPT component within the CP3 program as fulfilling the SPT requirement for the College. Full program enrollment is required.  Please contact UBC for any questions regarding the CP3 program.

For pharmacists, how many hours of Structured Practical Training (SPT) am I required to complete?

Pharmacists who are required to complete the SPT are required to complete 500 hours.  Please refer to Registration Committee Policy 6.

How do I obtain a work permit?

The College does not provide information regarding work permits.  Contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) directly for details regarding work permits.

For pharmacy technicians, how many hours of Structured Practical Training (SPT) am I required to complete?

Pharmacy technicians are required to complete 160 hours of SPT, if they graduated within the last 3 years preceding SPT application.  Please refer to Registration Committee Policy 8.

Can the hours that I completed for my practicum as part of my pharmacy technician program be applied towards a reduction in my Structured Practical Training (SPT) hours?

No, because the hours completed during your program has already been taken into account.

How long does it take to process my pharmacy technician Structured Practical Training (SPT) application?

When received, up to 5 business days.  Once completed, a confirmation email will be sent.

Can I email or fax my pharmacy technician Structured Practical Training (SPT) application?

Yes, you can email or fax it to the College.

Do I get paid for my pharmacy technician Structured Practical Training (SPT)?

Whether or not you are paid during your SPT, is an arrangement that is made between you and your site.  The College is not involved with this arrangement.

What is the validity period of my pharmacist or pharmacy technicians Structured Practical Training (SPT) result?

SPT results are valid for 3 years from the date of completion.

How long does it take to process my Drug Administration Certification application?

When received, up to 5 business days.  Once completed, a confirmation email will be sent.

Can I email or fax my Drug Administration Certification application?

Yes, you can email or fax it to the College.

When can I submit my registration renewal application?

You can complete your registration renewal once you have received your renewal notice, which is sent via email approximately 6 weeks before your registration expiry date.  You will not have access to submit your registration renewal application on eServices prior to receiving the renewal notice and fulfilling your CE requirements.  Refer to the Registration Renewal section on the College website for details on the renewal process. 

When is the latest I can submit my registration renewal application?

You have up to the registration expiry date to submit your renewal application.  The College recommends that you submit it as soon as possible upon receipt of the notice.  Try to avoid submitting it on the last day, especially if it is during the weekend, as the College will be unable to provide you support if you experience any technical issues when the office is closed.

What are the consequences if I do not renew on time?

You will be transferred to the Former registrant category. As a Former registrant, you will not be permitted to practice pharmacy in B.C. and your access to PharmaNet will be disconnected. Your Drug Administration Certification (if applicable) will also be removed and you will be required to re-apply.

Please note that you will still have access to eServices to complete your renewal, for up to 90 days from your expiry date.  However, the $125 (plus GST) late fee will be applied.

I have received my registration renewal notice but it won’t allow me to renew as it is showing an error message that states my CE’s are not complete.

You must complete your CE requirements before you can renew.  If you have completed your CE requirements but see the error message that you have not completed them, contact the Professional Development Department at prodev@bcpharmacists.org.

How do I get my employer to pay for my registration renewal?

You need to submit your online registration renewal application through eServices first, which includes the completion of your declarations (Statutory declaration, Professional Liability Insurance and Drug Administration re-certification, if applicable). When you reach the “Summary” tab, you will see a link to print the invoice to give your employer.  The employer can then mail the payment (cheque, bank draft or money order) along with this invoice or phone the College office to provide their credit card information (Visa or Mastercard).  Please note, Visa debit cards are not accepted.

If payment is not received, your registration renewal is incomplete.  It is a registrant’s responsibility to ensure payment is received at the College by their renewal due date.

I am in the process of renewing my registration and am trying to update my employment information. I work as a relief pharmacist only so how do I enter this information?

You need to list all the pharmacies where you provide relief coverage as your place of practice and select the pharmacy where you work the majority of time as your primary place of practice. Do not choose your corporation (head office) as your primary place of practice.

I am trying to update my employment information but I cannot find my place of practice in the system?

Enter the name and address of your place of employment in the “Other Employer” text box in eServices.  The Registration Department will review the information, add your employer to the list, if applicable or they will contact you for further information.

I am trying to renew my registration but cannot move past the employment page. What can I do?

When using eServices, using a supported browser is recommended to ensure the best results.  Please note that mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets and iPads are not supported.  It is also important to ensure you have the most recent version of the web browser installed on your computer. Supported browsers for eServices include: 

  • Internet Explorer 8-11 (IE Edge not recommended) 
  • Google Chrome  

You can also try clearing your cache/browsing history: 

  Contact the Registration Department if you need further assistance.

I just renewed my registration, where can I get my new registration card?

You can print out your new wallet-size registration card through eServices under “My Profile” only when your current one expires because eServices is in real time.  For example, if a registrant completes their renewal before their renewal due date of October 31st, then the new card will be available starting November 1st.

If I am not currently working in BC, do I still need to have professional liability insurance?

Yes.  Registrants must maintain at all times professional liability insurance coverage while registered as a Full Pharmacist or Pharmacy Technician, regardless of whether or not you are currently working in BC, as it is tied to the registration class. As indicated in renewal requirement #6 on the College website, your professional liability insurance must meet the following 3 criteria:

  • Provides a minimum of $2 million coverage.
  • Provides occurrence based coverage or claims made coverage with extended reporting period of at least 3 years.
  • If not in the pharmacists’ or pharmacy technicians’ name, the group policy covers the pharmacist or pharmacy technician as an individual
I am certified for Drug Administration but I am not currently providing any immunizations via injection or intranasal route because I am in the processing of recertifying my First Aid/CPR as it has recently expired. Is that acceptable?

No, you must maintain at all times valid First Aid and CPR certification throughout your Drug Administration Certification and not let it lapse, otherwise your Drug Administration Certification will no longer be valid.  To become certified again, you would be required to re-apply and meet the eligibility requirements again, therefore you would have to re-take a CCCEP-accredited drug administration training and/or First Aid/CPR training.  Please see the renewal requirement #7 on the College website.

How do I re-certify my Drug Administration Certification?

Your Drug Administration Certification must be renewed each year with at the time of your registration renewal.  You will be required to declare if you meet all three Drug Administration Re-Certification requirements below:

  • Administered a drug via injection route or successfully completed a continuing education program in drug administration as specified in Schedule C and
  • Administered a drug via intranasal route or successfully completed the Intranasal Administration Online Module as specified in Schedule C and
  • Maintained valid First Aid and CPR certification throughout their drug administration certification as specified in Schedule C.

If you do not satisfy all three requirements to make the re-certification declaration, your drug administration certification will no longer be valid.  To become certified again, you may be required to re-complete a CCCEP-accredited drug administration training course and/or First Aid & CPR certification course. For further details, email the Registration Department for the re-certification requirements.

How often do I need to do my Criminal Record Check?

The CRC is completed for all registrants at least once every 5 years.  Thus, a new CRC is initiated in the 4th year because it must to be completed before you exceed the 5 year mark.  Further details can be found on the College website.

I just had a Criminal Record Check done for my volunteer work. Do I have to complete another CRC for the College?

Yes, as specified in the Criminal Records Review Program the CRC must be done through the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

I just completed a Criminal Record Check for my registration renewal and I am applying to do some volunteer work. Can you forward a copy of my CRC to another organization?

The College does not receive any specific details regarding the CRC.  We only receive confirmation of whether your CRC is cleared or not.  However, you can inquire directly with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General about sharing the details and results of your criminal record check with other organizations.

I just had a Criminal Record History done for my pharmacy licence renewal application (as I am the manager/indirect owner of a pharmacy). Do I have to complete another CRC for the College?

Yes, the Criminal Record Check (CRC) required for your registrant renewal is different from the Criminal Record History (CRH) for your pharmacy renewal.  They are required for different purposes under two different pieces of legislation. 

The Criminal Record History (CRH) is required for all pharmacy managers and direct/indirect owners of a pharmacy for pharmacy license applications under the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act. The CRH is processed by Sterling Backcheck, results are sent to the College and reviewed by the College's Application Committee, if required.

The Criminal Codes reviewed for the CRC and CRH are not the same, and therefore, are not interchangeable. The CRC is specific to registrants and is not applicable to pharmacy owners that are not registrants.   As such, all direct and indirect owners and managers must submit a CRH as part of the licensure process.

How can I get a certificate of standing?

Place an order through eServices by clicking Events & Services  > Online Store and then choose “Certificate of Standing”.  When placing the order, enter instructions and/or the name and address of the regulatory authority where it needs to be sent in the “Order Instructions” field.  It takes 5-10 business days to process the order once received.

How long is my Certificate of Standing valid for after submitting my Pre-Registration application?

If an applicant does not complete the requirements for full registration within 12 months from the date the pre-registration application was received, an updated certificate of current standing is required.  Please refer to the Health Professions Act bylaws (Section 42, subsection (1.1)) on the College website

What are the requirements of my Certificate of Standing for my Pre-Registration application?

A Certificate of Standing must be sent directly from the regulatory body(ies) to the College office and dated no earlier than 3 months from the date the pre-registration application was received.  

When do I receive my Registration Certificate after completing my Full Registration?

A Registration Certificate will be mailed to the mailing address in your eServices account  approximately 8 week after completing your Full Registration.

How do I order a replacement registration certificate?

Place an order through eServices by clicking Events & Services > Online Store and then choose “Replacement of Registration Certificate”.  We require the original certificate to be returned to the College before a replacement certificate can be printed. However, if your certificate is lost, a notarized affidavit must be mailed to the College. The affidavit should state that you no longer possess the initial registration certificate you received because it is lost, and if the initial certificate is found, you must return one of the certificates to the College.

How can I get a copy of my receipt related to registration (for applications, renewal fees, online purchases, etc)?

All receipts are available through eServices under My Profile > My Receipts.

For renewal fees, if you also paid the $28 fee Criminal Record Check fee, it is on a separate receipt so scroll down the PDF to see the second page.

What registration classes are there?

The College has three registration classes:

Full Pharmacist or Pharmacy Technician

  • A registrant of the College engaged in the practice of pharmacy
  • Annual registration fee required
  • Professional liability insurance required
  • Professional Development and Assessment Program (PDAP) requirements must be completed

Non-Practicing Pharmacist or Pharmacy Technician

  • A registrant of the College and can use the title “Pharmacist (Non-Practicing)”, but cannot provide pharmacy services
  • Annual registration fee required
  • Professional liability insurance not required
  • PDAP requirements not required
  • Must apply for reinstatement to transfer back to the Full Pharmacist or Pharmacy Technician category and to provide pharmacy services

Former Pharmacist or Pharmacy Technician

  • No longer a registrant of the College, cannot provide pharmacy services and cannot use the title “Pharmacist”
  • Annual registration fee not required
  • Professional liability insurance not required
  • PDAP requirements not required
  • Must apply for reinstatement to transfer back to the Full Pharmacist or Pharmacy Technician category and to provide pharmacy services
I would like to change to the non-practising class before I am due for renewal. How do I change my registration class?

To register as a Non-Practicing pharmacist, you must transfer directly from the Full Pharmacist register to the Non-Practicing Pharmacist register at the time of your next renewal.

I am not practising now as I am currently on parental leave. Should I change to non-practising? Or do I have to change to Former?

A: It is up to a registrant whether or not they choose to renew and maintain active registration while on parental leave.  For complete details on the registration renewal requirements, refer to the College website.  If a registrant chooses not to renew their registration and decides to transfer to the “Former” category upon their next renewal, they can do so by logging into their eServices account to submit a transfer request online.  Click on Renew Registration > Former > Proceed to Renewal.

The Non-Practicing category is not the correct option for registrants on parental leave.  Non-Practicing is an active registration class and is intended for those who do not provide pharmacy services (direct-patient care) but chooses to maintain active registration, such as someone working in administration or the pharmaceutical industry.

Registrants who transfer to the “Former” or “Non-Practicing” categories will have to apply for reinstatement to transfer back to the Full Pharmacist or Pharmacy Technician category, prior to returning to work.  It takes at least 30 business days to process the Reinstatement application due to the Criminal Record Check (CRC) and up to 5 business days to process the Full registration application.  Refer to the College website for details on the Reinstatement process in the “Less than 6 years in Non-Practicing or Former” category and “6 years or more in Non-Practicing or Former” category.

How Do I Create the Pharmacy Professionals Review Schedule?

It is the pharmacy manager’s responsibility to schedule individual Pharmacy Professionals Reviews for all registered pharmacists and pharmacy technicians employed at their site. 

To create the Pharmacy Professionals Review schedule, the pharmacy manager should refer to the existing staff schedule, the staff roster, as well as the Pharmacy Professionals Review Scheduling Template provided by the College in the selection email. The pharmacy manager can simply plug in names to the College template and send a copy to the PRP Coordinator as soon as it is complete and no later than two weeks prior to compliance officers arriving on-site.

 

If a learning activity was accredited at the time I completed it and the accreditation is now expired, can I still document it as accredited learning?

Yes, if the learning activity was accredited at the time you completed it, you can document it as accredited learning. Learning activities must occur within the last year (past 12 months) of your renewal date to be considered current.

If I complete more than the minimum hours of accredited learning activities for my current yearly renewal, can I use the additional accredited hours for my next renewal?

No, the completion date of the learning activities must occur within the 12 months prior to your individual renewal date, even though the accreditation is still valid (not expired) beyond that date.

What is a Learning Record?

A Learning Record is an online form that assists you in documenting your learning activities. Registrants must complete and submit a minimum of 15 hours of learning documented on a minimum of 6 Learning Records prior to registration renewal each year, if they are renewing registration as a full registrant. A minimum of 5 hours must be accredited learning and supporting documentation needs to be provided as part of the Learning Record(s) it pertains to. Please retain all original supporting documentation for at least 2 years from your registration renewal deadline.

Can I put all my 6 learning goals and activities for the year on one learning record?

No, you must identify, fill out and submit at least 6 separate Learning Records - one for each goal - every year. Individual learning activities that you have undertaken during the year can be combined based on the goal and documented on one of these 6 Learning Records. You must have a minimum of 15 hours of learning documented on a minimum of 6 Learning Records. A minimum of 5 hours must be accredited learning and supporting documentation needs to be provided as part of the Learning Record(s) it pertains to. Please retain all original supporting documentation for at least 2 years from your registration renewal deadline.

If I have more than the minimum hours and/or Learning Records, can I use the additional hours/Learning Records for my next renewal?

No, hours and Learning Records cannot be carried over from year to year. Learning has to take place within the 12 months prior to your individual renewal date.

When are my Continuing Education (CE) submissions due?

Your CE Submissions along with all your other registration renewal requirements are due just before midnight on your registration renewal date. You renew registration for the following year by submitting your CE learning activities undertaken within the most recent 12 months of your registration renewal date.

For example, if your registration renewal date is August 31, 2020, to be able to renew registration for period September 1, 2020-August 31, 2021, you must submit through the PDAP Portal or PDAP Mobile, CE activities undertaken during September 1, 2019-August 31, 2020, along with all other registration renewal requirements, at the latest by 11:59pm on August 31, 2020.

Do I have to complete my Continuing Education (CE) before I can pay for my renewal for the next year?

Besides CE, there are many other requirements for renewal, including payment. You can begin the renewal process at any time, but in order to complete the renewal process, including payment, you must have completed and submitted your CE requirements for the most recent 12 months of your registration renewal date.

What is the difference between accredited and non-accredited hours?

Accredited learning activities have been reviewed using stringent criteria to ensure they are of high quality, unbiased, and clearly identify learning objectives for participants. Accredited programs indicate the number of accredited hours assigned, and identify the accrediting body (such as CCCEP, UBC CPPD, ACPE, MAINPRO, etc.). Supporting documentation that states the registrant’s name, the accrediting body, the number of accredited hours assigned, the date of completion, date accreditation is valid until, etc. is received upon completion.

Non-accredited hours are accumulated through informal learning. If you are doing self-study or on the job training, this will be classified as non-accredited hours. For example, if you identify a learning need in the area of compounding, and you choose to read a publication on compounding and incorporate this learning into your practice, you can document the actual time spent on the learning activity using increments of 0.25 hours (15 minutes). 

Do I have to have a specific amount of accredited vs non-accredited hours?

A minimum of 5 hours must be accredited learning and supporting documentation needs to be provided as part of the Learning Record (s) it pertains to. Supporting documentation that states the registrant’s name, the accrediting body, the number of accredited hours assigned, the date of completion, date accreditation is valid until, etc. is received upon completion. Document the hours the activity is accredited for under the “Accredited Hours” field in the PDAP Portal, or through PDAP Mobile. Any additional time spent beyond what the activity is accredited for, can be recorded as “Non-Accredited Hours” using increments of 0.25 hours (15 minutes). Please retain all original supporting documentation for at least 2 years from your registration renewal deadline.

Do CEU’s (Continuing Education Units) count?

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are assigned by the accrediting body to a specific learning activity. The “conversion” of CEUs into accredited hours varies between different accrediting bodies; the requirement is for accredited hours. You should confirm with the course provider the number of hours the activity is accredited for.

Does out of country learning count?

Yes, learning from any source is acceptable as long as it is within your scope of practice as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician.

What happens if I do not complete all the requirements by my renewal date?

If you do not renew your registration by the registration expiry date, you will no longer be registered with the College and will become a “former” registrant. This means that you will not be a registered pharmacist or pharmacy technician in BC, you will not be allowed to practice pharmacy in BC and your access to PharmaNet will be terminated. If you are also a manager of a pharmacy, your pharmacy licence will be cancelled. If you wish to become a registrant again, you will have to complete the reinstatement process applicable to your registration class (pharmacist or pharmacy technician) and pay applicable fees.

The specific reinstatement requirement depends on the time period lapsed between your registration expiry date and the time you apply for full registration.  Your Continuing Education submissions for reinstatement will require up to 5 business days to review; you will be advised via email of their status, or if additional information is required. More information can be found here.

What are my Continuing Education (CE) requirements for registration renewal?

To fulfill your CE requirements for renewal, you must:

  • successfully complete at least 15 hours of learning activities documented on a minimum of 6 Learning Records of which a minimum 5 hours must be accredited learning, (supporting documentation needs to be provided as part of the Learning Record(s) it pertains to). Please retain all original supporting documentation for at least 2 years from your registration renewal deadline.
     
  • complete all learning activities in the most recent 12 months of your registration renewal date
If I am renewing as a non-practicing registrant, do I still need to complete Continuing Education (CE)?

No. CE is only required for registrants that are renewing registration as a full registrant.

If I am planning to become a former registrant, do I still need to complete Continuing Education (CE)?

No. CE is only required for registrants that are renewing registration as a full registrant.

Are the Continuing Education (CE) requirements for Registration Renewal different for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians?

No. The CE requirements are the same for both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians that are renewing their registration as a full registrant.

Can all my Learning Records/Activities be accredited learning?

Yes, all learning can be accredited as there are no minimum requirements for non-accredited learning.

To fulfill your Continuing Education (CE) requirements for registration renewal, you must:

  • successfully complete at least 15 hours of learning activities documented on a minimum of 6 Learning Records of which a minimum 5 hours must be accredited learning, (supporting documentation needs to be provided as part of the Learning Record(s) it pertains to). Please retain all original supporting documentation for at least 2 years from your registration renewal deadline.
     
  • complete all learning activities in the most recent 12 months of your registration renewal date
How do I “Submit” more than the minimum requirements?

You can “Submit” your Learning Records one by one, as you complete them, or you may choose to “Submit” them all at once.

If you “Submit” the Learning Records one by one, once the minimum requirements have been satisfied, you will not be able to “Submit” additional Learning Records. You can record and “Complete” further Learning Records, however, they cannot be “Submitted”.

If you “Submit” the Learning Records all at once, then you can “Submit” more than the minimum requirements.

What if I spend more time on a learning activity than what it is accredited for?

Document the hours the activity is accredited for under the “Accredited Hours” field. Any additional time spent beyond what the activity is accredited for, can be recorded as “Non-Accredited Hours” using increments of 0.25 hours (15 minutes).

What is my current PDAP cycle?

The current PDAP cycle year is displayed on the PDAP Portal and PDAP Mobile App, based on when your cycle started.

For example, if your registration renewal date is August 31, 2020, you must submit through the PDAP Portal or PDAP Mobile, Continuing Education (CE) activities undertaken during September 1, 2019-August 31, 2020. Your current PDAP Cycle would be 2019.

What type of electronic files are accepted as supporting documentation?

The PDAP portal accepts common text and image file types such as .pdf, .txt, .doc, .docx, .jpeg, .jpg, .gif, .png. If you are submitting supporting documentation through PDAP mobile, you can only upload image file types. Please retain all original supporting documentation for at least 2 years from your registration renewal deadline.

What supporting documentation should I submit along with my Learning Records?

For accredited learning:

Uploading supporting documentation including certificates, letters of completion, or school transcripts is required to provide confirmation of successful completion of accredited learning activity.

Supporting documentation with your name, the accrediting body, the number of accredited hours assigned, the date of completion, date accreditation is valid until, is issued by the course provider. If unsure, confirm with the course provider. Please retain all original supporting documentation for at least 2 years from your registration renewal deadline.

For non-accredited learning:

Uploading supporting documentation is not required for non-accredited learning. You may choose to upload a photocopy of the cover of your reading material, flyer advertising an event you attended, an email verifying a meeting or conversation for your own record-keeping purposes.

How long should I retain my original supporting documentation?

Please retain all original supporting documentation for at least 2 years from your registration renewal deadline.

For example, if your registration renewal date is August 31, 2020, you must submit through the PDAP Portal or PDAP Mobile, Continuing Education (CE) activities undertaken during September 1, 2019-August 31, 2020. You would keep the original supporting documentation at least until August 31, 2022

What should I do if I have satisfied the CE requirements on the PDAP Portal but see a message saying “You must satisfy your Continuing Education (CE) Requirements in order to complete your Registration Renewal.” when I try to renew registration?

Please contact the PDAP Department: (604) 733-2440 extension 390, or email us at: prodev@bcpharmacists.org for assistance.

What should I do if my Learning Records are not counting towards my minimum Continuing Education (CE) requirements?

Please ensure that you have “Submitted” your Learning Records as only “Submitted” Learning Records “count” towards satisfying your CE requirements. A Learning Record may be:

  • In Progress: required information is missing from specific fields. Learning Record cannot be “Submitted”.
     
  • Complete: all required information has been entered. Learning Record can be “Submitted”.
What is the minimum amount of time I can record for a learning activity?

You can record activities in 0.25 hours (15 minutes) increments, with the shortest activity being 0.25 hours.

How do I access Learning Records from previous cycle years on the PDAP Portal?

Once you are logged in to the PDAP Portal, click on “Complete Learning Records” then under “Select Renewal Year to view” and choose your desired cycle year from the drop down menu. The portal will display the Learning Records for that cycle year.

I recently completed a Practice Review. Can I use that towards my Continuing Education (CE) requirements?

You can include any educational activities undertaken to prepare for the Practice Reviews, or as a result of the Practice Review towards your CE requirements and record them accordingly on the PDAP Portal or through PDAP Mobile.

For example: if you read the comprehensive outlines of focus areas for Pharmacy Professionals Reviews on the PRP Support Tools in order to get ready for the Practice Review, you would record that as non-accredited learning and document the actual time spent on the activity.

How do I “Submit” my Learning Records on the PDAP Portal?

You can “Submit” your Learning Records one by one, as you complete them, or you may choose to “Submit” them all at once.

Select the Learning Record(s) you wish to “Submit” by clicking on the box(es) on the left hand side and press “Submit”.

How do I know if I have completed all the requirements?

The following will be displayed on your device screen once the continuing education (CE) requirements have been satisfied.

Can prescriptions be destroyed after scanning and storing electronically?

Yes, most prescriptions can, but are not required to be, destroyed after scanning and storing, as long as all notes made on the prescription are captured in the scan. As per Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act Bylaws s23.3(1): “A pharmacy may maintain electronic records containing personal health information if the pharmacy has the equipment, software and systems necessary for the input, storage, use, protection and retrieval of records that are required to be kept under bylaws of the college or other legislation that regulates the practice of pharmacy”

However, with respect to prescriptions for drugs included in the Controlled Prescription Program, the original prescription form must be retained, regardless of whether or not such prescription form has also been stored electronically.

It is also recommended that pharmacies confirm with parties such as Pharmacare and third-party insurers to ensure retention requirements for audit purposes are met.

Do the requirements for Prescription Product Preparation and Final Check have to follow a specific workflow?

No, registrants must complete all the requirements for Prescription Product Preparation and Final Check as set out in the Health Professions Act – Bylaws, Schedule F, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. However the specific workflow can be determined by the pharmacy.

This means each requirement can be performed by different registrants at different times, in any particular order as long as all the requirements are met before the drug is released to the patient, patient’s representative or practitioner. Every registrant involved in performing Prescription Product Preparation or Final Check is required to provide their written confirmation for doing so, and accountability for every requirement within the process should be clear.

Will all pharmacies dispense Mifegymiso?

Any pharmacy where pharmacy professionals have the appropriate knowledge, skills and abilities, may dispense Mifegymiso®.

If a pharmacist declines to dispense Mifegymiso® on the basis of a conscientious objection, he or she is required to adhere to the Colleges’ Code of Ethics, Standard 1 (g)(iii), cooperating in effective transfers of care initiated by the patient (without needing to make a referral). Pharmacies should also have a process in place to ensure that in the case where a pharmacy professional conscientiously objects to providing a service, the patient can be directed to an alternate provider for the service in a timely manner.

Learn more about the options for providing Mifegymiso® to patients in BC at bcpharmacists.org/mifegymiso.

We were working on a prescription for 100mL of Tussionex suspension and the bottle tipped over. The contents spilled onto the counter and floor - what should I do?

To determine whether a loss should be reported and how to document, please see Health Canada’s Guidance Document: Reporting of loss or theft of controlled substances, precursors and cannabis

Do all BC nurses have prescribing privileges in our province?

No, only nurses registered as nurse practitioners (NPs) with the BC College of Nursing Professionals (BCCNP) have prescribing privileges, according to their scope of practice, which can be found on the BCCNP

website: https://www.bccnp.ca/Standards/RN_NP/NPScopePractice/Pages/Default.aspx

Are prescriptions from a physician who left their practice still valid?

A physician in my small rural community left his medical practice without arranging for another physician to take over. None of the other physicians in the community are accepting new patients, and the walk-in clinic is overbooked. The physician gave most patients refills to last three months, but these are no longer valid because his license is no longer valid. What can I do?

Using professional judgment, a pharmacist may dispense an emergency supply of prescription drugs to a patient. Please see PPP-31 for additional information.

How do I know the information on my PharmaNet profile is confidential?

PharmaNet is a province wide computer network managed by the Provincial government. This network contains confidential personal profiles of everyone receiving prescription medications in B.C., whether dispensed in a community pharmacy or hospital outpatient pharmacy. This means PharmaNet tracks your entire prescription history, regardless of where you get your prescription filled in B.C. Information stored on PharmaNet helps your pharmacist make decisions about your overall health care including making sure your new medication will not interact with other medications you are taking. Your PharmaNet profile is completely confidential. It can be accessed only by a registered pharmacist or other authorized health care professional, and only when medically necessary. The PharmaNet system contains many security features to prevent unauthorized access to your Patient Record. However, if you still have concerns about security, you may attach a confidential Keyword of your choice to your Patient Record. You can also ask for a PharmaNet printout of your prescription history at any time.

For more information about PharmaNet, please visit the BC Ministry of Health’s website: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/pharmacare-for-bc-residents/pharmanet

How can I find out if the cost of my drugs is covered?

The British Columbia PharmaCare program offers a number of programs which cover some or all of the cost of prescription drugs for people who live in British Columbia. Some people may also have private insurance plans (such as through their school or employer) that cover some or all of the remaining cost.  You can also contact your pharmacist for additional information or assistance.

Is methadone 10 mg/ml available in other flavours? What if my patient cannot take Methadose?

Previously, only the cherry flavoured Methadose 10 mg/ml was covered by PharmaCare.   However, a decision has been made by the Ministry of Health to provide coverage for the commercially available Metadol-D product (DIN 2244290) as an alternative for patients in the community who cannot take or are not benefiting from Methadose. As of May 28, 2019, Metadol-D (10mg/mL) is eligible for regular benefit coverage through PharmaCare. 

For more information, please refer to the following ReadLinks Guest Post: Increased Access to Metadol-D and Guidance from BCCSU

I have just received a prescription with the following statement “Do Not Renew &/or Adapt” (or something similar) hand-written on it. Does this mean that I cannot adapt or renew this prescription?

Yes. Just like we honour notations like this from prescribers today regarding generic substitution pharmacists are expected to honour hand-written “Do Not Renew &/or Adapt” instructions on prescriptions. The College of Physician and Surgeons (CPSBC) have agreed that pre-printed prescription pads are not acceptable and if a physician electronically produces their prescription they must sign or initial beside the notation.

It is important to remember that should a pharmacist, presented with a valid notation on a prescription, still feel that an adaptation or renewal is in the best interest of the patient there are a number of options still available to them: contact the prescriber or provide an emergency fill (PPP-31) to ensure continuity of care giving the patient time to get in to see their physician.

I just received a request for a prescription transfer from a pharmacist in Seattle, Washington. May I transfer the prescription?

According to the Health Professions Act - Bylaws Schedule F Part 1, upon request a pharmacist must transfer prescriptions to another pharmacy licensed in Canada, if the drug does not contain a controlled drug substance and the transfer occurs between a registrant and another registrant or an equivalent of a registrant in another Canadian jurisdiction. The Bylaw does not address transferring a prescription to the U.S. In the interest of positive patient outcomes registrants may use professional judgement and decide to transfer a prescription to a state that is allowed to accept transfers from Canada. However, once the prescription is transferred out of B.C. the pharmacy is not allowed to transfer the unused refills back to B.C.

I have a patient with cancer who wants to receive medical marijuana. What does the patient need to do to?

Medical use of cannabis is federally regulated by Health Canada. Please visit this link for more information: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/topics/cannabis-for-medical-purposes.html

Why does it take so long to get my prescription filled?

There is a lot more to preparing your prescription than counting pills, typing a label and sticking it on a container. Your pharmacist checks the medication, dose and instructions to make sure they are right for you. S/he reviews your confidential local and PharmaNet profile to check for possible problems. This may include allergies or interactions with other medications you are taking. Your pharmacist enters the details of your current prescription onto your PharmaNet profile. The prescription is then filled and undergoes a final check before being dispensed.  Counselling must also be provided to give information such as how and when to take your medication, what potential side effects you may need to watch for and how to store your medication.

Do I have to be present to witness?

Yes. The pharmacist must follow the prescription release processes defined in CPBC's Policy Guide for MMT. The pharmacist must assess the patient and then must witness ingestion of the dispensed methadone followed by ingestion of water provided by the pharmacist. The pharmacist should then engage the patient in a brief conversation to ensure that the entire dose is ingested and to reduce the risk of diversion. This function cannot be delegated to a pharmacy technician or any other pharmacy support staff.*

*EXCEPTION: Due to COVID-19, while permitted by a section 56 exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, amendments have been made to allow temporary authorizations for delivery of opioid agonist treatment by non-pharmacists.  Pharmacists may now authorize a regulated health professional to deliver OAT, if they have the scope and competence to assess the patient and witness the ingestion of OAT (where required).  Pharmacists may now also authorize pharmacy employees to deliver OAT to a patient on the pharmacist’s behalf, however this authorization should be reserved for exceptional circumstances where it is not possible for a pharmacist or regulated health professional to deliver the OAT drug. For additional information and requirements, please refer to PPP-71.

Can physicians still fax methadone prescriptions to pharmacies in an emergency situation and send the original at a later date?

Yes. Faxed Methadone Maintenance Controlled Prescription forms may only be accepted under extenuating circumstances and has been initiated following consultation between the patient's pharmacist and prescriber. 

In this situation, the pharmacist must obtain written documentation from the prescriber prior to dispensing any medication. CPBC's Policy Guide for MMT includes a sample form titled, 'Emergency Fax Methadone Maintenance Controlled Prescription Form Documentation', the pharmacist may fax this form to the prescriber. The prescriber must fax documentation requesting the pharmacist to accept a faxed transmission of the MMT Controlled prescription form for the specified patient, with the prescription for MMT to the pharmacy. The prescriber must send the original prescription form to the pharmacy by the next business day or as soon as possible. A copy of the form is available in CPBC's Policy Guide for MMT, refer to Appendix 4; 'Emergency Fax Methadone Maintenance Controlled Prescription Form Documentation'.

A patient would like me to renew a prescription for them but the original fill was not done in my pharmacy. Can I have the prescription transferred and then renew it?

No. In order for a pharmacist to consider adapting or renewing an existing prescription they must have the ‘original prescription’ in their pharmacy. The reason for this is because in order to adapt or renew a prescription a pharmacist must have all relevant information available to them and a transferred prescription does not physically transfer the ‘original’ prescription which may have some important notations on it. For similar reasons, once a prescription has been adapted it cannot be transferred.*

*EXCEPTION: In effect during the COVID-19 public health emergency in BC, temporary amendments were made to permit the adaptation of transferred prescriptions.  This will allow pharmacists to support physical distancing measures and travel restrictions or drug shortages.  However pharmacists still need to use their professional judgement to determine if they have the appropriate information to adapt a transferred prescription.  Please note that as usual, once a prescription has been adapted it cannot be transferred.

What are the limits and conditions, including length of time, with respect to renewing prescriptions for my patients?

When considering whether or not to renew a prescription for a patient a pharmacist must ensure the following:

  1. They have the original prescription in their pharmacy and the prescription is still valid, and
     
  2. The patients’ condition is stable and chronic (same medication, with no change). Note: ‘no change’ is defined as usually a minimum of six months.

Assuming these conditions and the seven fundamentals are met, a pharmacist could provide a renewal for whatever period of time felt appropriate as long as it does not exceed the expiry of the original prescription. However, narcotics, controlled drugs and targeted substances may not be renewed. For psychiatric medications, renewals are reserved for pharmacists working in multidisciplinary teams.

Note: Original prescriptions do not include transferred prescriptions (unless permitted by temporary amendments in effect during the COVID-19 public health emergency in BC), previously adapted prescriptions, or emergency refills.

What is an “original” prescription?

An “original” prescription is an authorization from a practitioner to dispense a specified drug for use by a designated individual. Pharmacists may adapt an original prescription, including the first and subsequent refills of that prescription, in accordance with PPP-58. The adaptation does not need to be the beginning of a new drug therapy.

Original prescriptions do not include transferred prescriptions (unless permitted by temporary amendments in effect during the COVID-19 public health emergency in BC), previously adapted prescriptions, or emergency refills.

How will scheduling work?

Every pharmacy will be reviewed cyclically on a multi-year time frame. The College will be looking at a number of factors when scheduling reviews.

The College will confirm a date for the Practice Review with feedback from the pharmacy manager. It is the pharmacy manager’s responsibility to ensure that their staff are available during the scheduled Practice Review.

As a typical community pharmacist what are the circumstances in which I could provide a therapeutic substitution or make a change to a prescriptions dose, formulation or regimen?

Assuming that no collaborative relationships or appropriate protocols have been established which would provide more detailed patient medical information, therapeutic substitution in most typical community practices is limited to those categories under the Ministry of Health’s Reference Drug Program*. The updated list can be accessed here:

http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/pharmacarefor-bc-residents/what-we-cover/generalcoverage-policies#rdp

With respect to making changes to a prescription dose or regimen, pharmacists working in typical community practice settings, as described above, would not adapt prescriptions for cancer, cardio-vascular disease, asthma, seizures or with psychiatric conditions. Changes to prescription formulations to ensure continuity of care, such as switching from a tablet to a liquid, as well as completing missing information from a prescription, if there is historical evidence to support it, would be acceptable.

*EXCEPTION: In effect during the COVID-19 public health emergency in BC, temporary amendments were made to remove the limitation on drug categories for therapeutic substitution where there is a drug shortage and no interchangeable drug is available.  Evidence of the actual drug shortage (e.g., report from drugshortagescanada.ca or a “no alternative available” listing on PharmaCare’s Current Drug Shortages List) must be included with the adaptation documentation.  For more information, please refer to PPP-58.

As a community pharmacist (not working in a multi-disciplinary environment) what are the restrictions with respect to medications and/or medical conditions for adapting prescriptions?

There are differing guidelines for the three distinct ways in which a community pharmacist may adapt a prescription (change, renew or substitute), therefore the restrictions vary with each type of adaptation.

Change:

  • Will not change the dose or regimen of a prescription for: cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, seizures or psychiatric conditions, however pharmacists can complete missing information if there is historical evidence to support it.

Renew:

  • With the exception of narcotics, controlled drugs and targeted substances, which are restricted from any type of adaptation and psychiatric medications which are reserved for pharmacists working in multi-disciplinary environments there are no restrictions for renewals as long as the condition is stable and chronic (same medication, which no change, which is defined as usually a minimum of six months). The maximum renewal can be for whatever period of time felt appropriate as long as it does not exceed the expiry of the prescription.

Therapeutic Substitution: