An Act to amend mainly the Pharmacy Act to facilitate access to certain services.
Tabled last June in the National Assembly by Québec’s Minister of Health and Social Services Danielle McCann, Bill n°31, which addresses the addition of activities which may be performed by pharmacists, has now been adopted. Many new measures are already in effect.
Additional clinical activities for pharmacists
This act introduces amendments designed to increase the number of clinical activities carried out by pharmacists in their practice of pharmacy.
As such, the act provides that pharmacists may, in certain cases or in accordance with the conditions and procedure determined by regulation:
- Prescribe and administer vaccines and, in emergency situations, certain other medications;
- Prescribe all non-prescription medications;
- Administer a medication by intranasal route;
- Adjust or renew prescriptions of all prescribers, not only those of physicians;
- Stop medication therapy according to a prescription or following a consultation conducted at the request of a prescriber;
- Substitute, for a prescribed medication, another medication even if it does not belong to the same therapeutic subclass;
- Prescribe and interpret not only laboratory analyses but also any other test, for the purpose of monitoring medication therapy; and
- Collect a sample from the pharynx, using an instrument.
Lastly, the act provides that pharmacists may assess the physical and mental condition of a person to ensure the proper use of medications.
Pharmacists can now carry out activities such as:
- Prescribing and administering vaccines and, in emergency situations, certain other medications;
- Prescribing non-prescription medication should the clinical status of a patient or circumstances warrant.
- Collecting a sample from the pharynx, using an instrument.
Awaiting several other provisions
A number of terms remain to be clarified; we will be able to ascertain the act’s true impact on the access to front-line care and the practice of pharmacy once regulations are filed.
However, all clinical services provided for in Bill [CR1] n°31 have not been exempted from deductible and co-payment fees collected on the government’s behalf. Owner-pharmacists strongly criticized the fact that patients are required to make a monetary contribution for a clinical service provided free of charge elsewhere in the health system, as it is a great impediment to the use of pharmacists’ clinical services.
For the time being, only immunization services provided under the Québec Immunization Program will be free of charge for eligible patients.