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Saskatchewan pharmacists to gain prescribing powers

REGINA – Saskatchewan has announced the intent to expand prescribing authority for provincial pharmacists, thereby benefiting residents through more efficient and accessible healthcare services.

Regulatory amendments to The Pharmacy Act bylaws will recognize the ability of pharmacists to improve healthcare delivery in the province, working in collaboration with doctors and other healthcare professionals.

“Pharmacists are important members of the healthcare team and we support them working to their full scope of practice,” said Health Minister Don McMorris. “I believe that enhancing pharmacists’ prescribing authority puts patients first by giving Saskatchewan residents greater and more timely access to healthcare services.”

Expected to take effect by summer, the amendments will authorize pharmacists to provide services such as extending refills during a physician’s absence and providing emergency supplies of prescribed medications.

This enhanced prescribing authority sets the foundation for future expansion, whereby in collaboration with physicians, pharmacists who acquire additional training, will have the authority to alter dosages or formulas, or prescribe certain medications for minor ailments.

“We are very pleased with the move to enhanced prescribing authority,” Saskatchewan College of Pharmacists Registrar Ray Joubert said. “It culminates a journey that began several years ago and follows recommendations from various inquiries and reviews of the healthcare system.

“Over the last three or more years we consulted with our professional colleagues, including physicians and nurses, to develop this collaborative framework. It reflects our belief in collaboration and promoting an optimal role for the pharmacist as a member of the healthcare team in the public interest.”

“We welcome today’s announcement related to prescriptive authority,” Pharmacists’ Association of Saskatchewan Chair Harold Just said. “Pharmacists can and do play an integral role in patient care. Formally recognizing and compensating pharmacists for expanded services will benefit not only patients, but the health system as a whole.”

“Collaborative practice arrangements between physicians and pharmacists are an essential step toward a patient- and family-centred health system, and represent a model that can also be used with other members of the healthcare team,” Saskatchewan Medical Association President Dr. George Miller said. “Enhancing a pharmacist’s authority to write prescriptions in certain circumstances is an excellent example of how we are putting the needs of the patient first.”

To promote Pharmacy Awareness Week – March 1 to 6 – the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacists launched a public awareness campaign to educate the public about the role and value of pharmacists.

There are approximately 1,300 pharmacists practising in Saskatchewan.

Posted April 8, 2010