Clarity on the Requirements of a Prescription

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The College has received a number of requests for clarity around the requirements of a prescription and a number of common practices in their processing that ensure smoother patient care. In response to those requests, the following is the College's position on pharmacists or pharmacy technicians completing parts of a prescription to meet the requirements defined in HPA Bylaw Schedule F, Part 1, Section 6(2).

For Reference: HPA Bylaw Schedule F, Part 1, Section 6(2)

(2) Upon receipt from the practitioner, a prescription must include the following information: 

(a) the date the prescription was written;

(b) the name and address of the patient;

(c) the name of the drug or ingredients and strength if applicable;

(d) the quantity of the drug;

(e) the dosage instructions including the frequency, interval or maximum daily dose;

(f) refill authorization if applicable, including number of refills and interval between refills;

(g) the name, identification number and signature of the practitioner for written prescriptions; 

(h) the date on which the drug is dispensed.

Pharmacists or pharmacy technicians may provide:

  1. The current home address (including the postal code, if known) of the patient identified on the prescription
  2. The prescribing physician's College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPS) number
  • Only do this if you know the prescriber's signature well. If so,
  • ensure it is the CPS number you are entering on the prescription, NOT the MSP billing number.
  1. The date on which the drug is dispensed on the prescription if this information was not provided by the practitioner. Prescriptions completed in this manner are considered to be compliant with HPA Bylaw Schedule F, Part 1, Section 6(2).

The College considers the prescription complete if all the required information is on the hard copy before the prescription is dispensed to the patient. 

The College will be reviewing this bylaw as we move towards e-prescribing. In the meantime, the College of Physicians and Surgeons will be communicating similar messages about the requirements of a prescription to physicians later this week. The College of Pharmacists has also asked the Colleges of other health professions with prescribing authority to communicate these requirements to their registrants.

Apr 02, 2014