B.C. pharmacists ready to prescribe for minor ailments and contraception

Updated on October 31, 2023 (Originally posted on May 31, 2023) Media Releases

(Vancouver) May 31, 2023 —  Starting tomorrow, June 1, community pharmacists across British Columbia will be able to prescribe for contraception and many minor ailments, like indigestion, cold sores, mild acne, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections.

This expanded access means British Columbians can visit a local pharmacy to see their pharmacist for a prescription for any one of 21 minor ailments or contraception. This change helps relieve the burden on the B.C.’s primary care system and emergency rooms and allows patients convenient access to get treatment for common ailments. 

“Pharmacists are one of the most accessible health care providers in B.C., and we are here for patients when they need us,” says Pharmacist Chris Chiew, President of the BC Pharmacy Association. “We are here and ready to help British Columbians when they need us."

There are more than 1,400 community pharmacies across the province, in communities large and small. On June 1, more than 1,100 pharmacies will be available to provide this service. Over the coming weeks and months, more pharmacies will be adding the service for patients. 

“Pharmacists have the expertise and training to help provide greater access to primary care when patients need it,” Chiew says. “We are pleased to continue working with our primary care colleagues to help ensure British Columbians are cared for.” 

Last fall, in a move to help provide greater access to primary care, B.C. pharmacists were able to renew prescriptions for a wider range of medications, including mental health medications. This meant British Columbians needing timely access to their medication could ensure they’d be able to continue their treatment. Since these changes, B.C. saw a 120 per cent increase in the number of prescriptions renewed or adjusted by pharmacists, according to recently released data by the province.

Pharmacists were also given the ability to renew a prescription for up to two years for most medications. As before, pharmacists can provide an emergency supply of the majority of chronic medications for patients to ensure no patient goes without the medications they need. 

“We don’t want to see any British Columbian having to go to an emergency department for a simple skin rash, indigestion, a prescription for birth control, or to renew their prescription,” Chiew says. “Pharmacists are here to provide relief when people need it.”

For more information on what minor ailments pharmacists and contraception pharmacists can prescribe for and to find a pharmacy offering this service, visit seeyourpharmacists.ca.

For more information, please contact:

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