Message from the College: Enhancing Client Care — Pharmacists' Expanded Role in British Columbia

Updated on August 9, 2023 (Originally posted on August 4, 2023) The Tablet

A message from The College of pharmacists of British Columbia

As many of you are no doubt aware, as of June 1, 2023, new regulatory standards are in effect providing pharmacists in British Columbia with the authority to diagnose and prescribe medications to clients in B.C. for minor ailments and contraception. 

Pharmacists in B.C. are now able to prescribe medications specified in Schedule I of the Drug Schedules Regulation to treat 21 conditions listed in Schedule A of the Pharmacists Regulation. These conditions include acne, allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis, dysmenorrhea, fungal infections, gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, hemorrhoids, nicotine dependence, urinary tract infections, and more.

This is a significant milestone for both pharmacists and clients alike. By harnessing the expertise and accessibility of pharmacists in B.C., we are not only increasing client access to prescribing services, but also expanding the capacity of primary care providers across the province. This approach reinforces the vital role that pharmacists play as members of the broader health system, working synergistically with physicians and other health-care professionals to deliver comprehensive care to British Columbians. 

To ensure client safety and effective care, we collaborated with the Ministry of Health and UBC's Continuing Pharmacy Professional Development Program (UBC CPPD) to develop a mandatory Regulatory Education Module for pharmacists interested in providing prescribing services. The module provides comprehensive training on the regulatory framework that enables pharmacist prescribing in B.C. and is available to all pharmacists in B.C. at no additional cost. 

As of July 1, 2023, over 90 per cent of eligible community pharmacists in B.C. have completed the College of Pharmacists of BC’s Regulatory Education Module and thousands of British Columbians have already accessed prescribing services for minor ailments and contraception at their local pharmacies.

Changes like this don’t happen overnight. Developing the necessary standards and regulations to ensure the ongoing safety and well-being of clients when accessing this broader range of pharmacy services took a herculean effort from all organizations involved. It required us to divert resources and work collaboratively with our partners to respond as quickly as possible to the provinces ongoing shortage of primary care providers. 

“I am incredibly thankful to our partners at the BCPhA, the Ministry of Health and UBC’s Continuing Pharmacy Professional Development program for their guidance and partnership in bringing this initiative, and the Regulatory Education Module, forward,” said the College’s Registrar and CEO, Suzanne Solven. “It’s because of their thoughtful, committed collaboration that we were able to provide tens of thousands of British Columbians with this vital new service in a remarkably short amount of time. 

For further information on Pharmacist Prescribing for Minor Ailments and Contraception in BC, including access to the Regulatory Education Module and additional resources, please visit

This article is featured in The Tablet. The Tablet features pharmacy and industry news, profiles on B.C. pharmacists, information on research developments and new products.