Coming Soon: Pharmacists Prescribing for Minor Ailments and Contraception
The College is currently working with the Ministry of Health and other partners to develop and implement standards to provide pharmacists in BC with the authority to make a diagnosis and prescribe medications specified in Schedule I of the Drug Schedules Regulation, for minor ailments and contraception.
The new standards for Pharmacist Prescribing for Minor Ailments and Contraceptives (PPMAC) will come into effect on June 1, 2023.
What this means for British Columbians
These changes, along with the changes to expand the range of services available from community pharmacies announced in September, will help to expand the capacity of BC’s primary care providers and improve patient access to care for minor ailments and contraception.
As a result of these changes, patients in BC can expect:
- Improved timely access to medications
- An improved patient experience when accessing a primary care provider
- Improved access to healthcare services for those living in rural and remote communities
- Better health outcomes
What Conditions Will Pharmacists Be Able to Prescribe For?
On June 1, 2023, pharmacists in BC will be able to make a diagnosis and prescribe drugs for the conditions listed in Schedule A of the Pharmacists Regulation.
Pharmacists may only prescribe Schedule I drugs for these conditions, if they are in a drug category shown opposite the condition listed in Schedule A of the Pharmacists Regulation.
For the purposes of contraception or emergency contraception, pharmacists may prescribe a Schedule I drug.
Proposed Amendment to the Pharmacists Regulation
A pharmacist may only make a diagnosis or prescribe for one of these conditions if the patient’s symptoms indicate that the condition:
- Presents a low risk of masking an underlying disease, disorder or condition;
- Can be readily diagnosed without the need for laboratory or imaging tests; and
- Can be reasonably expected to resolve with only short-term or episodic treatment.
Education and Training
While most pharmacists in BC already have the knowledge, skills and abilities to prescribe medication for minor ailments and contraception, additional optional education, training and resources will be made available to registrants at no additional cost.
MedSask Minor Ailments and Self Care Guidelines
The British Columbia Pharmacy Association (BCPhA) is providing access to MedSask’s “Minor ailment and self-care guidelines” at no cost to all BC registrants. These guidelines serve as a tool to aid decision-making by providing treatment algorithms and patient assessment and treatment checklists for each condition.
UBC Continuing Pharmacy Professional Development Program (CPPD)
The University of British Columbia’s Continuing Pharmacy Professional Development Program (CPPD) is also providing free accredited clinical education modules on several minor ailment conditions to registered pharmacists in BC.
Prescribing for Minor Ailments and Contraception Regulatory Education – Coming Soon
The College, in collaboration with UBC CPPD, is currently working to develop a regulatory education module for pharmacists in advance of the June 1, 2023 launch date.
This module will introduce the new regulatory framework which enables pharmacists in British Columbia to prescribe for minor ailments and contraception in a safe, effective, and ethical manner. This regulatory framework has been established collaboratively by the College of Pharmacists of B.C. and the Ministry of Health.
Upon completion of this Regulatory Education module, you will be able to:
- List the pharmacist’s professional responsibilities when making a diagnosis or prescribing for minor ailments and contraception
- Describe the Pharmacists Regulation and the authority that enables pharmacists to make a diagnosis and prescribe for minor ailments and contraception
- Describe the Standards, Limits and Conditions that govern pharmacists making a diagnosis and prescribing for minor ailments and contraception
- Apply your knowledge of what is authorized in the Pharmacists Regulation and the College of Pharmacists of B.C.’s Standards, Limits and Conditions to provide safe, effective, and ethical care
- Identify and locate applicable resources available to support pharmacists when making a diagnosis or prescribing for minor ailments and contraception
- BC Gov: Minor Ailments and Contraception Service (MACS)
- BC Gov News: New health workforce strategy improves access to health care, puts people first
- BC PharmaCare Newsletter: Special Edition, April 18, 2023
- BC Pharmacy Association: MedSask Minor Ailment Guidelines Now Available
- BC Pharmacy Association: British Columbia Gets New Pharmacy Services
The following training and resources will be made available prior to the June 1 launch:
- A BCPhA orientation training module on prescribing for minor ailments and contraception that focuses on B.C.-specific requirements around PharmaCare and practice requirements.
- Accredited content on contraception and smoking cessation available from CPPD in summer 2023.
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