Registrar's Message: We're in this Together
We are living in unprecedented times. As our health system continues to restructure itself in response to COVID-19, I want to take this opportunity to recognize all of BC’s pharmacy professionals for your unwavering commitment to the people of British Columbia. For providing continuity of care, embracing physical distancing within your pharmacies and, most importantly, upholding the highest standards of safe and ethical pharmacy practice.
I have been encouraged by the efforts of the Provincial Government and, like many of you, have been tuning in daily to listen to the updates and guidance provided by Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix. We are truly fortunate to have these strong and capable individuals leading us at this time.
I have also been working closely with our partners at the Ministry of Health, the BCCDC and other Colleges, to ensure that pharmacy professionals have the tools they need to respond to the growing demands on our healthcare system.
This crisis has brought with it a number of challenges that we continue to address and resolve. I’m happy to report that as frontline health care workers, BC’s pharmacy professionals now have access to priority testing for COVID-19. I am also acutely aware of the challenges faced across the country regarding access to personal protective equipment, and continue to place my trust in the efforts of both the Federal and Provincial Government to ensure an appropriate supply going forward.
We still have much work to do, but I remain confident in our province’s coordinated response. As BC’s pharmacy professionals, you have been vital to this response. You ensure that patients continue to receive the drugs, supplies and knowledge that they need to manage, prevent and treat a multitude of diseases and symptoms. This is work that you do everyday and is vital to the health of British Columbians.
I recognize that as a healthcare professional working on the frontlines of a global pandemic, it can be challenging to reconcile your duty of care, with your personal health and safety. As a regulator, we have been focused on reducing unnecessary strain on your practice, and giving you broader flexibility to continue to deliver safe and ethical care, while protecting your colleagues, your families and yourselves.
In the past few weeks, we’ve provided PDAP exemptions and activated temporary registration for former and non-practicing pharmacy professionals to provide additional support to pharmacies. We’ve also issued a number of temporary authorizations for verbal prescription orders and the delivery of OAT by non-pharmacists and supported you to use your professional judgement in providing emergency supplies of medication to patients with expired prescriptions.
I am also aware of the difficult decisions faced by many pharmacy managers and owners in addressing potential exposures within their pharmacies, and dealing with staff shortages. To help you navigate these challenges, we have developed risk-assessment tools to guide you through these decisions and help you determine the most appropriate measures to protect your staff and patients.
I recognize that we have made a number of changes in a very short period of time, and that these changes add to the stresses you are dealing with. I hope that in the end, they provide you with the support you need to adapt to this evolving situation.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you for your service. We are in this together, and while this pandemic continues to test our resolve, I can assure you that we will continue to support you in providing the best patient care possible in these challenging times.
Please stay healthy and well,
Bob Nakagawa, B.Sc.(Pharm.), ACPR, FCSHP, RPh
Registrar and CEO
College of Pharmacists of British Columbia