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Nova Scotia pharmacists to order lab tests

HALIFAX – Amendments announced to the Pharmacy Act at the end of March will lead to an expanded role for pharmacists in Nova Scotia. The changes will enable pharmacists to order and interpret lab tests to monitor drug therapy.

“Allowing pharmacists to order and interpret certain diagnostic tests will enable a patient’s medication to be adjusted without having them return to their doctor,” said Health Minister Maureen MacDonald (pictured).

“This is good for patients and creates efficiencies in the health care system,” said Ms. MacDonald.

The amendments will also authorize pharmacists to administer drugs, including vaccines.

“One of the key ways to improve vaccine coverage rates, especially in adults, is to increase the number and type of healthcare professionals who can safely provide vaccines,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief public health officer.

The amendments will enable community pharmacies to act as possible locations for vaccine clinics, if a mass immunization was required.

Once the amendments are passed, regulations will be developed. The Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists will work on these regulations in consultation with
Government, as well as doctors, nurses and dentists.

“The proposed amendments will allow pharmacists to more completely use their training and skills to benefit the public,” said Susan Wedlake, registrar of the Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists.

The proposed amendments, which are supported by the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia, also update the registration/licensing provisions of the current legislation to satisfy requirements of Nova Scotia’s Fair Registration Practices Act.

Posted April 8, 2010