Pharmacists across B.C. and in Penticton are preparing for the second phase of expanded prescription powers to start June 1.
The provincial government initially expanded the ability for pharmacists to renew prescriptions and administer more vaccines.
“Now starting in June, we’ll be able to prescribe for minor ailments,” said Dr. Brayden Zaharia, a pharmacist a Well Pharmacy in Penticton. “That means that we’ll be able to actually write prescriptions, which previously we would have had to send people to the doctor for.”
The list of ailments is limited, but includes ailments such as acne, allergies, eye infections, skin conditions, heartburn, headaches, shingles, ulcers, mouth sores and nicotine replacement.
“We’re trained in school nowadays to do the assessments anyways, looking for red flags, signs where things like a splitting headache could be something more serious like a stroke, and we refer them on to a higher level of care,” said Zaharia.
The goal, which is something that pharmacists like Zaharia support, is shifting away some of the lesser issues from general practitioners and walk-in clinics to allow them to have more time for patients with more complex or critical issues.
Things like prescriptions for opiates to deal with pain and other issues will remain in the hands of doctors to prescribe.
While the legislation to allow pharmacists to issue prescriptions takes effect June 1, not every pharmacy will be rolling it out immediately, if at all, and how it will work and look will be different from pharmacy to pharmacy.
Some pharmacies, like Well Pharmacy, will be rolling out an online booking system for people who need assessments.
Other pharmacies may not have enough staff to handle assessments for prescriptions, and people should ask their pharmacist if they feel comfortable with issuing prescriptions and if they are planning to do so.
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