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Improving Convenience, Access to Healthcare for British Columbians: Pharmacists’ Expanded Prescribing Powers and Medication Injection Abilities Are Bringing Care Closer to You

In a significant development for healthcare access in BC, in October of 2022 BC Pharmacists were granted the ability to renew or adapt a wider range of prescriptions and administer injectable medications beyond their previous scope which included vaccine injections.

During a recent CKNW interview on The Mike Smyth Show, Christine Antler, Pharmasave’s Region Director, Pharmacy (Western Canada) shared an update on how the expanded scope of pharmacists aims to improve patient care and health outcomes for British Columbians.

Since the expansion of pharmacists’ scope in October of last year, BC pharmacists have demonstrated their ability to help address healthcare access challenges by taking on a broader range of routine prescription renewals and adaptations and providing British Columbians with an additional, convenient option for care. As a result of the expanded prescribing powers, pharmacies in BC witnessed a significant surge in British Columbians’ use of community pharmacists for their healthcare needs, seeing a 120% increase in the average monthly number of patients visiting pharmacists for prescription renewals, adaptations and modifications that previously would have required seeing a doctor or nurse practitioner.

The broadening of BC pharmacists’ scope in October also included the ability for pharmacists to administer certain medications by injection, such as vitamin B12, and osteoporosis treatment, which previously would have required injection by a doctor or nurse. This expanded on pharmacists’ prior ability to inject certain vaccines, which included pharmacists playing a vital role in the province’s annual flu immunization program since 2009 and the COVID-19 immunization campaign, as well as administering vaccinations such as those protecting against pneumonia, HPV and shingles. Many British Columbians have taken advantage of the convenience of receiving their medication injections at their local pharmacy since the expanded scope came into effect: over 63,000 drugs were administered between October 14, 2022 and January 31, 2023.

On June 1st, BC pharmacists are also set to gain the ability to assess and, if appropriate, prescribe for minor ailments such as urinary tract infections, cold sores and allergies, and contraception.

As highly trained medication and immunization experts, pharmacists are uniquely positioned to provide injections, evaluate medication needs, assess symptoms, and make informed recommendations regarding appropriate treatment and follow-up care for many common or uncomplicated conditions.

To speak with a Pharmasave pharmacist about treatment, including prescriptions for minor illnesses beginning on June 1st, visit a Pharmasave or call to book an appointment.

Click here to listen to Christine Antler’s conversation with host Mike Smyth on CKNW’s The Mike Smyth Show about the expanding scope of pharmacists in BC.


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