(Vancouver) Sept. 29, 2022 — Today, Minister of Health Adrian Dix announced changes that provide patients better access to critical medications, and B.C.’s community pharmacists are ready to provide much needed additional support to these patients.
Starting Oct. 14, 2022, pharmacists across British Columbia will be able to renew prescriptions for a wider range of medications – except cancer chemotherapy medications – so that British Columbians can be assured they will be able to access the medication they need in a timely fashion and ensure continuity of their treatment.
These changes will help patients dealing with mental health and substance use disorders get the critical medication they need when they need it. The changes also help British Columbians without a regular primary care prescriber.
“Pharmacists are the medication experts. We have the knowledge and expertise to ensure patients get the medication they need, when they need it and how they need it,” says Pharmacist Jamie Wigston, President of the BC Pharmacy Association. “What’s most important is British Columbians needing better access to their medications get it. This announcement allows pharmacists to serve more patients across the province.”
Additionally, pharmacists will be able to administer a wider range of medications on top of vaccinations via shot or intranasally.
“These decisions will help many patients across the province who don’t have a family doctor, but who are taking medications to manage their ongoing health conditions,” Wigston says.
As they do now, pharmacists are able to provide an emergency supply of medications to patients without a valid prescription to ensure no patient goes without the medications they need. British Columbians should not be left to go to the emergency department to get renewals of their regular medications.
The Minister of Health also announced work would begin immediately to allow B.C.’s pharmacists to prescribe for minor ailments and contraceptives, which means B.C. would join nine other provinces where pharmacists can prescribe medication for minor ailments like acne, cold sores, indigestion, and urinary tract infections.
“We’re looking forward to working in a fully collaborative relationship with primary care physicians to support all patients that need timely access to medications,” Wigston says.