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B.C. Pharmacists Are Now Empowered to Treat 21 Minor Ailments at the Pharmacy with New Prescribing Powers

Pharmacists across B.C. are now empowered to assess and treat 21 minor ailments with new prescribing powers which came into effect on June 1st, increasing convenience and accessibility for patients across B.C., and bringing pharmacists’ scope in line with the other provinces already enabling pharmacists to assess and prescribe treatment for these conditions.

British Columbians can now get the care they need conveniently at their local pharmacy for minor ailments including allergies, shingles, oral thrush, pink eye, dermatitis, acid reflux, hemorrhoids, cold sores, insect bites and hives, uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs), yeast infections and others. Additionally, following changes this spring which made prescription birth control free to B.C. residents, pharmacists now have prescribing abilities for contraception, including oral contraception pills, contraceptive injections, hormonal and copper intrauterine devices, subdermal implants, and Plan B, also known as the morning-after pill.

Craig Tostenson, a pharmacist with Pharmasave in Kelowna, spoke with Global News’ Jasmine King about B.C. pharmacists’ expanded prescribing powers and how the changes will help improve patient care and expand primary healthcare capacity in the province.

As highly trained medication and immunization experts, pharmacists serve as the most accessible primary healthcare providers for British Columbians. With their expanded prescribing powers for 21 minor ailments and contraception, pharmacists can now offer more timely and convenient treatment options which previously would have required visiting a doctor or nurse practitioner.

In a recent article in Black Press newspapers across the province, long-time pharmacist and Region Director of Pharmacy for Pharmasave, Christine Antler, says: “With additional prescribing powers, pharmacists have more flexibility and treatment options – both over-the-counter and prescription – to better address health care needs.”

Antler also spoke with The Tyee about the recent healthcare changes in B.C., explaining that “the 21 conditions are ones managed with minimal treatment, are short-term, don’t require lab results to assess and have a low risk of masking other conditions.”

Patients are encouraged to call their local pharmacy in advance to discuss their needs or to book an appointment for a minor ailment consultation. During the consultation, the patient and pharmacist discuss symptoms and review medical history and other relevant factors. The consultation may result in the pharmacist recommending non-drug measures, an over-the-counter medication, or an eligible prescription medication. Similar to visiting a doctor or a walk-in clinic, there is no charge for this service for B.C. residents when presenting their BC Services Card or other government-issued ID.

To learn more about the newly expanded scope of pharmacists in B.C., you can watch pharmacist Craig Tostenson on Castanet Kelowna or read more on Chain Drug Review.

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