Your Pharmacy Experience

Your Pharmacy Experience

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians work to make sure that you receive safe and effective health care. Every pharmacist and pharmacy technician in British Columbia is registered with the College to ensure that they are fully qualified to fulfill their roles.

Pharmacists are medication experts. They work within the larger health care team – doctors, nurses, and specialists – to make sure that you get the right
dose of the right drug at the right time, every time.

Pharmacy technicians play an important role in the pharmacy. Under the direction of a pharmacist, they ensure the accuracy of compounding and dispensing demands in the pharmacy. 

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in British Columbia are required to complete a comprehensive education and training program before they can register with the College.

In addition to post-secondary education, the College requires that registered pharmacists and pharmacy technicians complete continuing education units every year. It’s important that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians stay current as the pharmacy profession advances.

BC Health Regulators

This a website for the Healthcare Professionals of BC. It describes the role and importance of health care regulatory bodies, and contains information for each of these organizations.

What to Expect during a Pharmacy Visit
An essential part of every pharmacist’s and pharmacy technician's role is to help you understand your medication.

Every time you have your prescription filled there is a series of steps your pharmacist performs. First your pharmacist will ask for your name, your British Columbia CareCard and one other piece of identification. An officially recognized form of photo identification such as a driver’s license or passport can also be used for identification. Your pharmacist will enter your information into their computer, which is connected to the province wide PharmaNet system. PharmaNet links all community and hospital outpatient pharmacies in BC through a central database.

PharmaNet contains your personal medication record and is completely confidential. It tracks your prescription history over the past 14 months, regardless of where you get your prescription filled in BC.Information stored on PharmaNet helps your pharmacist make decisions about your health care. Your record can be accessed only by a licensed pharmacist or other authorized health care professionals, and only when medically necessary.

You can ask for a copy of your PharmaNet record at any time. For more information, see Related Documents. 

Your pharmacist reviews your prescription along with your PharmaNet patient record, to make sure:

The information provided by your doctor, dentist, or other health-care provider is complete, The medication, strength, and dosage instructions are appropriate for your health condition, The new prescription is okay to take with other medications you may be taking, There are no potential problems such as duplicate therapy or drug interactions, You are not allergic to the medication, and Your medications are working for you and you are not experiencing any problems.

Your pharmacist will provide counseling on the medication and will confirm/explain:

Who the medication is for, What the medication is for, The directions for proper use, Common side effects or interactions, what to expect and how to treat, if needed, How soon to expect the medication to work, What to do if you miss a dose, How to store your medication, and Review your prescription refill information.

Tell your pharmacist about any non-prescription drugs you are taking. Many over-the-counter products including natural health products and herbal supplements may interact with your medication. Your pharmacist can also offer suggestions on lifestyle and other non-drug measures. You should also be sure to tell the pharmacist about any allergies you have.

Ultimately, it is your responsibility to look after your own health. Taking your medication properly is an important part of taking care of yourself. By working with your pharmacist, you can be sure you take your medication safely, effectively, and appropriately to maintain your good health. 

What to Ask your Pharmacist or Pharmacy Technician

Do you want to know how to ease hot flashes? Do you suffer from a chronic condition such as asthma, arthritis, or diabetes? Your pharmacist can work with you and your doctor to make sure you choose the best medications to look after your health.

Studies have shown that half of all Canadians do not take their prescription medications exactly as prescribed. Every year thousands of people are admitted into hospitals because they did not follow the instructions on their medication container.

Do not leave the pharmacy or hospital until you fully understand how to use your medication properly.

Not sure what to ask your pharmacist? Here is a list of questions you can consider:

  • Why am I taking this medication?
  • How and when should I take this medication?
  • Is "four times a day" the same as "every six hours"?
  • Do I have to wake up during the night to take my medication?
  • Am I supposed to swallow my medicine with food or water?
  • Is there anything I should or should not eat or drink while I am taking this medication?
  • What should I do if I miss my dose, or take two doses close together?
  • How will I know if this medication is working?
  • How will I remember to take my medicine?
  • I have allergies - is it safe for me to take this medication?
  • Are there any side effects I should watch for? Will it make me sleepy?
  • Will my medication interact with other drugs?
  • Can I drink alcohol while I am taking this medication?
  • Will it be affected by over-the-counter medications like painkillers or antacids?
  • Will it be affected by vitamins or herbal supplements?
  • Can I take this medication if I am pregnant or breast-feeding?
  • When will I feel better?
  • If I feel better can I stop taking it?
  • When should I see my doctor?
  • Can I get my medication in a container that is easier to open?
  • Where should I keep my medication?