Physical Barrier Requirements: Deadline for Implementation - December 31, 2020

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Physical Barrier Requirements
Deadline for Implementation: December 31, 2020

In April 2020, in response to the increasing demands on BC’s pharmacies and pharmacy professionals as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the College extended the deadline for community pharmacies and telepharmacies to implement physical barrier requirements. 

The deadline for compliance with physical barrier requirements was extended from April 21, 2020 to December 31, 2020. 

This means that existing community pharmacies and telepharmacies who have not already done so, will have until December 31, 2020 to implement physical barriers. 


When a full pharmacist is not present and the pharmacy is accessible by non-registrants, Schedule I and II drugs, controlled drug substances and personal health information must be secured by physical barriers. 

Physical barriers provide an additional layer of security for the protection drugs and confidential health information. Physical barriers can be tailored to the needs and structure of the particular community pharmacy. Some examples of physical barriers include: locked gates, grillwork, locked cabinets, locked doors, and locked shelving units.  

These requirements were part of a suite of new measures to enhance the security of community pharmacies in BC, which were brought into effect on April 21, 2017.

The establishment of these measures was important to prevent pharmacy robberies and break and enters, and to better protect personal health information. Additional measures, which included time-delay safes, security camera systems, monitored alarms, motion sensors and signage, have all been mandatory as of April 21, 2017. 

While physical barriers have been mandatory for all new pharmacies and any pharmacies undergoing renovations, since April 21, 2017, the College recognized that existing pharmacies would need time to implement these requirements. As such, the College set out a 3-year transition period, initially set to end on April 21, 2020, for existing community pharmacies to become compliant with the physical barrier requirement. 

However, in response to the sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in BC and around the world, BC’s pharmacy professionals have had to adapt to a number of pharmacy practice changes, resulting in added responsibilities and straining their already stretched resources. 

In order to alleviate these pressures, the College extended the deadline for compliance with the physical barrier requirements from April 21, 2020 to December 31, 2020. 


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 name or layout of the pharmacy.

A change in layout refers to any changes to your original pharmacy diagram, as submitted to the College. This includes the implementation of physical barrier requirements. 


For questions related to physical barriers and pharmacy security, contact the College’s Practice Support department at [email protected]




Dec 16, 2020