Whitehorse Daily Star

Pharmacists’ practice options expand

Given the Yukon’s current state of emergency, the government is issuing a ministerial order to expand practice options for pharmacists.

By Whitehorse Star on February 14, 2022

Given the Yukon’s current state of emergency, the government is issuing a ministerial order to expand practice options for pharmacists.

These temporary changes mirror provisions that were in place last year, the government said Friday.

The provisions help ensure that Yukoners can continue to safely access needed prescriptions during the pandemic.

The changes ultimately help to decrease pressures on the healthcare system, doctors’ offices and emergency rooms, the government said.

Under the order, pharmacists can now at their discretion do the following:

• Extend prescriptions originally made by physicians more than once when a patient is unable to see their physician.

• Transfer physician prescriptions for controlled drugs to other pharmacists within Canada.

• Be the original prescriber for minor ailments such as dermatitis, conjunctivitis and cold sores.

The temporary regulatory changes also allow pharmacists to extend and deliver physician prescriptions for controlled substances.

This change aligns with Health Canada’s temporary exemption for prescriptions of controlled substances during the pandemic.

It also supports the government’s response to the Yukon’s Substance Use Health Emergency by helping improve access to safe supply. Controlled substances include prescription medications such as opioids, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens and anabolic steroids.

These expanded practice options are in place for the duration of the state of emergency in response to COVID-19, and expire 30 days after the state of emergency ends.

The government plans to continue to explore permanent options that will allow pharmacists and the medical community to best support Yukoners and their health.

It first introduced similar changes in May 2020, soon after declaring the territory’s first COVID-19 related state of emergency. These initial changes ended 30 days after this state of emergency lifted.

The Pharmacists Regulation and standards of practice, as well as the Health Professions Act and federal regulations such as the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, dictate how pharmacists in the territory practice.

The federal government issued a temporary exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act in March 2020.

Ottawa made this exemption to support access to certain medications during the pandemic but it is up to each provincial and territorial jurisdiction to adjust their legislation to be eligible for the exemption.

Pharmacists will use their professional discretion in deciding when to use the new practice options available to them.

In making their decisions, they will be guided by the need to ensure both public and patient safety.

Pharmacists are now permitted to use their discretion to accept verbal orders from physicians for controlled substances.

They can also extend prescriptions originally made by physicians for controlled substances, (limited to one seven-day extension for methadone and suboxone).

Comments (5)

Up 16 Down 3

North_of_60 on Feb 15, 2022 at 8:04 pm

We have a medical system bureaucrat for an MP who is overjoyed to spend millions on an unnecessary C0vid isolation site, and shooting galleries for addicts, yet not one dollar for a walk-in clinic in a town where thousands don't have a 'family doctor'. That's likely not a problem for the few thousand who voted for him.

Up 25 Down 7

Adam Morrison on Feb 15, 2022 at 10:33 am

The liberals would rather spend 4 million on "safe isolation" sites for covid than expand on the real needs of Yukoners.

Up 24 Down 2

moe on Feb 14, 2022 at 3:37 pm

This should be made permanent, and many more services should be transferred to Pharmacists and nurse practitioners. (!!) There are thousands of people with no doctor in the Yukon. Doctors are getting the big bucks to take on serious work, not to refill prescriptions for chronic conditions - especially when the pharmacists are more aware of new medications and interactions than the doctors are. Likewise with cold sores, skin conditions and so on.
Nurse practitioners should be doing simple assessments in emerg, and should be doing stitches and reading the results of the xrays to people. They would probably take more time with the patients and would ask more questions about how exactly it happened, and what about their lifestyle might make it difficult to get well, than most doctors do.
A few doctors are really good, but most put in 5 minutes, do not want to hear the patient speak, and pick up their $727,000 paycheck (Dr. Elliot, Brandon Hanley, not sure about what's normal if you do more than read orders from Ottawa.)

Up 55 Down 4

TMYK on Feb 14, 2022 at 2:03 pm

Just make this permanent already. It could have been easily done by now. The Liberals keep kicking the can and have no long term vision though.

Up 69 Down 7

Matthew on Feb 14, 2022 at 1:43 pm

Or... get a flippin' walk in clinic built! How pathetic when we have a Dr. as MP but NO walk in clinic.. w..t..f..!

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