Saturday, February 4, 2023

Ontario pharmacists will be free to prescribe more drugs

Rodrigo Diaz m.

Starting the first of next year, Ontario pharmacists will be able to prescribe treatments for 13 common ailments, but that doesn’t mean everyone is ready to do so.

Ontario Health previously recalled expanding the functions of pharmacists, noting that the service would be free with a health insurance card.

Ontario pharmacists will be able to assess patients and prescribe essential medications for conjunctivitis, acid reflux, cold sores, skin irritations, menstrual cramps, hemorrhoids, impetigo, insect bites, hives, hay fever and sprains. They will also be able to treat uncomplicated urinary tract infections and prescribe antibiotics after a tick bite to prevent Lyme disease.

“All Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaw pharmacies in Ontario offer this service as of January 1,” Shoppers Drug Mart president Jeff Leger said in an email.

Rexall Pharmacy Group and McKesson Canada, speaking for Guardian, IDA, Remedy’sRx and The Medicine Shoppe pharmacies, said in a press release that their pharmacists will also participate in this new initiative.

It’s unclear whether all of those chain locations, as well as other smaller or independent pharmacies in Ontario, will be able to take on the additional workload of testing by the start of the new year.

Anyone with symptoms of one of the 13 conditions listed above should call their nearest pharmacy or check their website before visiting in person to make sure there is screening available.

Most pharmacies will likely operate on an appointment-based model.

Unlike other provinces, pharmacists in Ontario have not previously been authorized to prescribe drugs against COVID-19, except for the antiviral Paxlovid.

The health ministry has said in a press release that pharmaceutical prescription will help reduce the waiting time for patients who need these services.

The move comes at a time when Ontario’s hospitals and clinics have been hit by a surge in viral illnesses.

Nation World News Desk
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