Pharmacists now able to prescribe medications for minor ailments and contraception.
VANCOUVER (June 1, 2023) – New regulatory standards providing pharmacists in BC with the authority to diagnose and prescribe medications to clients in British Columbia for minor ailments and contraception are now in effect. These standards enable pharmacists practicing in community pharmacies to provide timely access to medications and essential services, expanding the capacity of primary care providers across the province.
“Pharmacists across the province are ready to take on this expansion of their scope of practice,” said Suzanne Solven, Registrar and CEO of the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia. “Their education and training, new regulations and standards of practice that are now in place will ensure that the public has increased access to safe and professional prescribing services.”
Effective June 1, 2023, pharmacists will be able to prescribe medications specified in Schedule I of the Drug Schedules Regulations to treat conditions listed in Schedule A of the Pharmacists Regulation. These conditions include acne, allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis, dysmenorrhea,fungal infections, gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, hemorrhoids, nicotine dependence, urinary tract infections, and more.
Pharmacists may prescribe medication for these conditions if they present a low risk of masking underlying diseases, can be diagnosed without laboratory tests, and are expected to resolve with short-term or episodic treatment.
To ensure patient safety and effective care, pharmacists must complete a mandatory Regulatory Education Module before making diagnoses or prescribing medications for minor ailments and contraception. This module, developed collaboratively by the College, the Ministry of Health and UBC's Continuing Pharmacy Professional Development Program (CPPD), provides comprehensive training on the regulatory framework that enables pharmacist prescribing in BC, and is available to all pharmacists in BC at no additional cost.
As of June 1, 2023, over 75% of eligible community pharmacists in BC have completed the Regulatory Education Module.
Most pharmacists in BC already possess the necessary knowledge and skills to prescribe medication in this way. However, additional optional education and training resources are available, including MedSask's "Minor Ailment and Self-Care Guidelines”, and accredited clinical education modules provided by the UBC CPPD. These resources are also available to all pharmacists in BC at no additional cost.
These changes, along with the changes to expand the range of services available from community pharmacies announced in September 2022, will help to expand the capacity of BC’s primary care providers and improve patient access to care for minor ailments and contraception.
For further information on Pharmacist Prescribing for Minor Ailments and Contraception in BC, including access to the Regulatory Education Module and additional resources, please visit bcpharmacists.org/PPMAC.
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