Poll finds vast majority of British Columbians support pharmacists being able to do more

May 15, 2024 Media Releases

Vancouver (May 15, 2024) — Nearly one year after B.C.’s pharmacists were able to prescribe for minor ailments and contraceptives, the vast majority of British Columbians say they support B.C. pharmacists being able to offer more services at their local pharmacy.

In a survey commissioned by the BC Pharmacy Association and conducted by Stratcom between April 22 and April 25, 2024, nearly 90% of respondents said they support community pharmacists being able to offer more patient care services like the ability to order lab tests and provide point-of-care testing for things like strep throat in pharmacy.

Patients say they have a high level of confidence in pharmacists being able to order lab tests (73%), provide counselling and prescribing for diabetes (67%), providing point-of-care testing for things like strep throat (79%), and being able to prescribe independently for chronic conditions like hypertension and asthma that have been previously diagnosed by a doctor (74%).

“These numbers show what we pharmacists see in our practice: That patients are confident in our abilities and want us to do more,” said Mike Huitema, President of the BC Pharmacy Association. “We have had great support since being able to assess and prescribe for minor ailments like cold sores and UTIs and contraceptives.”

Of those respondents who had visited a pharmacist for a minor ailment or for contraception, there was a high level in confidence in the services provided. (75% reporting a very high level of confidence in the ability of their pharmacist to diagnose for minor ailments and 85% to consult on contraceptives).

Between June 1, 2023, and March 31, 2024, pharmacists provided more than 340,000 minor ailment and contraception assessments, according to provincial figures. And more than 1,400 pharmacies (91% of community pharmacies) provided this service to patients. 

The majority of people said convenience (63%) and trust (43%) are their top reasons for visiting their pharmacist for minor ailments. The same is true for visiting for contraception with convenience (50%) and trust (37%) as the top two reasons. 

With health care continuing to be one of the top issues important to British Columbians, the vast majority of respondents (90%) think using pharmacists more can help alleviate some of the pressure on our health-care system.

“Community pharmacists are one of the most accessible health-care providers, and we’ve been proud to be part of helping British Columbians when they need us – from flu and COVID-19 vaccinations to minor ailments and contraception,” Huitema said. “We are willing to do more.”

About the Survey Results:

These are results from an online omnibus survey using an opt-in representative panel from April 22 to April 25, 2024, conducted by Strategic Communications (Stratcom). The sample of 1,209 BC residents is statistically weighted to match the composition of British Columbia by gender, age, region, and Mandarin/Cantonese mother tongue as per most recently available Census data. Margin of error is not applicable to online surveys, but a probability sample of this size would have a margin of error of +/- 2.8 %, 19 times out of 20.

For more information, please contact:

Angie Gaddy
Executive Director, Communications
BC Pharmacy Association
(604) 542-3251