Pharmacists healthcare role expanded again

The provincial government has expanded the list of ailments that pharmacists are able to treat and prescribe medications for.

"Expanding the list of common ailments pharmacists can treat, people will now get faster, more convenient access to the care they need closer to home while helping to further reduce wait times at our community clinics and hospitals,” Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, said. "Pharmacist prescribing has been a huge success and Ontario is now one of the leading jurisdictions in Canada in providing convenient health care services through pharmacies."

According to Justin Bates, the CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists Association, the minor ailments program has had a tremendous impact. "Since the program launched earlier this year there have been more than 400,000 pharmacy assessments for minor ailments," he said.

Since January 1, 2023, pharmacists have been able to treat:

  • hay fever (allergic rhinitis)

  • oral thrush (candidal stomatitis)

  • pink eye (conjunctivitis; bacterial, allergic, and viral)

  • dermatitis (atopic, eczema, allergic, and contact)

  • menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)

  • acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD))

  • hemorrhoids

  • cold sores (herpes labialis)

  • impetigo

  • insect bites and hives

  • tick bites (post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent Lyme disease)

  • sprains and strains (musculoskeletal)

  • urinary tract infections (UTIs)

As of October 1, 2023, people will be able to visit a local pharmacy to receive prescriptions for:

  • acne

  • canker sores

  • diaper rash

  • yeast infections

  • parasitic worms (pinworms and threadworms)

  • nausea and vomiting in pregnancy

Recent changes by the province also allow pharmacists to administer certain injection and inhalation treatments such as insulin, vitamin B12, or osteoporosis treatment. Ontarians can now access this service at their local pharmacy for a professional fee, similar to fees to receive travel vaccines.

The government assured that the changes have been made in partnership with the Ontario College of Pharmacists.

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