New authority for pharmacists to improve patient access

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Health Minister Jerome Kennedy says recent changes to pharmacy regulations and new standards of pharmacy practice adopted by the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board will broaden the ability of pharmacists to provide prescription medications to better serve patients in the province.
In a news release, Kennedy said pharmacists may now refill, extend or adjust prescriptions, in accordance with the board's standards of practice.
"These new regulations will allow the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to get the medicines they need from participating pharmacies even if they can't get to their doctor right away," Kennedy said. "By more completely using the competencies of pharmacists, the regulations will improve access and create efficiencies in the health-care system."
The changes will allow, with the patient's consent, a pharmacist to refill or modify a prescription.
For example, a pharmacist may change a prescription from a tablet to a liquid that may be easier for a patient to swallow. A pharmacist may now use his or her judgment to provide an emergency supply of medication, extend expired prescriptions for limited periods and make minor changes to prescriptions to avoid delays dispensing them to patients.
When extending a prescription or making any change to a prescription, the pharmacist must notify the original prescriber. While the standards are now in effect, pharmacists are required to educate themselves fully on the standards and submit a declaration form to the Pharmacy Board before providing these services to patients.
Keith Bailey, Chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board, said pharmacists are the experts in drug therapy and they have always used their knowledge and skills to select and provide appropriate medication to their patients, but in a limited manner.
"This regulation will allow pharmacists to more fully utilize their medication management expertise in the interest of the health and well-being of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians," he said. "This is an excellent example of how collaboration among health professionals can better serve the needs of patients without compromising safety."
Standards of pharmacy practice adopted by the board spell out the limits and conditions under which pharmacists can exercise their professional judgement with respect to medication management. These standards have been developed in consultation with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, the Association of Registered Nurses, the Pharmacists' Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Department of Health and Community Services.

Organizations: College of Physicians, Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board, Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association Association of Registered Nurses Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Health and Community

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • heather
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    This is excellent news. There are times when a Doctor cannot be available when medications run out.

  • Bert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    As someone who has considerable
    difficulty getting around, I can appreciate
    the convenience this will have for me.
    This change in the way legitimate
    drug-users are treated is long overdue.

  • heather
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    This is excellent news. There are times when a Doctor cannot be available when medications run out.

  • Bert
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    As someone who has considerable
    difficulty getting around, I can appreciate
    the convenience this will have for me.
    This change in the way legitimate
    drug-users are treated is long overdue.