After considerable deliberation, the College has extended the transition period for telepharmacy operators to become compliant with telepharmacy requirements to December 31, 2016. The transition period temporarily allows non-regulated pharmacy assistants to staff telepharmacy sites under the strict supervision of a pharmacist.
Requirements for pharmacy technician staffing in telepharmacy sites are not new. These requirements were made in 2010 in anticipation of pharmacy technicians becoming regulated health professionals in the following year. The exemption period to comply with the requirements under the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act Bylaws and Professional Practice Policy-55 aligned with the College’s five-year transition period to help facilitate pharmacy assistants in becoming regulated pharmacy technicians.
The requirement to have a regulated pharmacy professional in a telepharmacy site is a very important public safety measure. Access to drugs (including narcotics) and confidential patient information needs to be under the control of a regulated health care professional to protect public safety.
We have heard the concerns of telepharmacy operators and the communities they serve. We recognize that rural and remote communities face challenges in recruiting regulated pharmacy professionals. However, in keeping with the College’s mandate, we must ensure that public safety is protected.
It is expected that with the extended transition period, telepharmacy operators will continue to pursue avenues to become compliant with telepharmacy requirements.
Over the next year, the College will engage the Ministry of Health to help support initiatives to facilitate the recruitment of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to rural and remote communities.
December 4, 2015