In June, BC Pharmacy Association CEO Geraldine Vance was invited to present to B.C. government’s Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services for considerations in the 2024 provincial government budget.
During her presentation, Vance detailed how community pharmacists have been crucial to the public’s access to primary health-care services.
Since October, pharmacists were enabled to administer more medications through injection or intranasally and renew a broader range of medications. On June 1, pharmacists began providing assessments and prescriptions for minor ailments and contraception.
The Association believes pharmacists can build upon these successes and is asking the government to further enhance pharmacists’ scope by funding point-of-care tests (POCT) in pharmacy, and secondly, to allow pharmacists to order lab tests.
For some chronic disease states, monitoring lab values is an important component in clinical care. Knowing the latest lab values means pharmacists can provide patients with renewals of their chronic medications for up to two years. Enabling pharmacists to order lab tests will help achieve this. Meanwhile, POCT for strep throat infections have been conducted in pharmacies in other provinces, and research shows this is a cost-effective and efficient alternative to visiting a lab and can reduce doctors’ office visits.
The Association also advocated for additional changes in the area of opioid agonist treatment (OAT).
More than 5,100 pharmacists and technicians in B.C. have now completed training required under PPP-66 through the BCPhA’s Opioid Agonist Treatment Compliance and Management Program for Pharmacy. The changes made in October 2022 that allow for pharmacists to adapt and renew more medications include the ability for pharmacists to renew a prescription for OAT as permitted under the section 56 exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
The Association is asking for further changes to allow pharmacists to adapt a patient’s OAT prescription to better equip pharmacists in B.C.’s response to the overdose crisis.
Lastly, as the province continues to make improvements in the areas of harm reduction, one area where pharmacies are positioned to help is by serving as locations where patients can anonymously pick up drug testing strips to check the content of illicit street drugs.
The full text of the Association’s presentation to government can be found at