Pharmacist Awareness Month

March 1 to March 31, 2017

Each year in March, we celebrate Pharmacist Awareness Month (PAM) across Canada to raise awareness about the contributions pharmacists make in the delivery of health care. 

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and use #PAM2017 to join the conversation.

Top five pharmacy services you might not know about 

Community pharmacists in British Columbia are one of your best ways to access high quality, primary health-care services, particularly in rural areas of the province.

As part of Pharmacist Awareness Month in March, B.C.’s pharmacists are reminding the public of the services they deliver beyond dispensing medications. Here are five ways your community pharmacist can help you:

1, Provide vaccinations to protect you against illnesses

A recent survey found that 87 per cent of British Columbians are aware that pharmacists can give flu shots. And it’s no wonder – B.C. pharmacists are estimated to have given well over 500,000 flu shots in the 2016/17 season. 

But did you know they can also offer other vaccines? Pharmacists can provide publicly-funded vaccines such as pneumococcal, HPV, tetanus and MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), as well as paid vaccines such as shingles or travel vaccines. More than 95 per cent of community pharmacies have at least one pharmacist who can give immunizations.

2. Help you prepare for your upcoming vacation

If you’re heading out for spring break, your pharmacist can review your medications to make sure your prescriptions won’t expire while you’re away, help adjust your dosing schedule to make sure you avoid missing doses when travelling across time zones, or arrange for backup supplies of prescriptions in case you lose your luggage. They can also talk to you about how to avoid travel sickness and prevent travelers’ diarrhea, or provide advice on any over-the-counter medications you may need for your trip

3. Renew or adapt some prescriptions

If you have a stable chronic condition such as asthma or diabetes, your pharmacist may be able to renew your medications for up to one year from the date of the original prescription without needing a new prescription. Patients taking birth control pills can have their pharmacist renew their prescriptions for up to two years. Pharmacists can also adapt prescriptions to make sure patients get the right dose or formula, or switch from a pill to a liquid.

4, Help you understand how to use your medications safely and effectively

Talk to your pharmacist to see if you’re eligible for a medication review, a publicly-funded service that provides advice on how to best take your medications and resolve any issues you may be having with them. Studies have shown that the more patients know about their medications, the better they adhere to the intended medication regimen. This not only improves health outcomes, but helps reduce health costs by lowering the rate of emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

5. Offer health coaching for chronic conditions

Community pharmacists can provide guidance and support to help you achieve your health goals, whether that’s target blood pressure, cholesterol measurements, blood glucose or taking control of your asthma symptoms. Pharmacists can help implement strategies to achieve these goals and offer effective coaching and follow-ups to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviours. 

Watch: Rural pharmacy in B.C. - Michael Ortynsky

Watch: Rural pharmacy in B.C. - Colleen Hogg

Patients: How can you get involved with PAM 2017? 

Tell us about your great experience with your pharmacist. Email communications@bcpharmacy.ca to tell us what your pharmacist does to go above and beyond in patient care.

Learn more about what pharmacists are doing that is #MoreThanPills here

Pharmacists: How can you get involved with PAM 2017? 

  • Talk to your patients. Help inform patients in B.C. about the expanded services you offer in your pharmacy, whether that's compounding, injections or diabetes coaching.
  • Join the conversation online. Follow @BC_Pharmacy on Twitter and re-tweet our messages, images and infographics. Add your own voice to the discussion.
  • Take one of BCPhA's eTraining programs. Take advantage of one of the many professional development opportunities available for the month of March to help develop your expertise and deliver more services to your patients. 
  • Make sure you're on the Flu Clinic Locator. If you offer immunizations, make sure your clinic information is up to date on the ImmunizeBC Flu Clinic Locator.
  • Share your story. Email communications@bcpharmacy.ca to tell us about what you're doing to get involved in PAM 2017! Or, let us know about the great work you always do so we can promote it online. Even better, consider putting your name forward for one of the 2017 BC Excellence in Pharmacy AwardsNominations close March 17.
  • Access CPhA resources. CPhA has also developed a wide variety of tools and resources to help you promote Pharmacist Awareness Month to your patients and the public.