Thursday, May 22, 2008

Increasing pharmacists' powers raises concerns

From the Globe and Mail:
Getting a prescription refilled or changed in Canada is set to become much easier, but the move to expand the powers of pharmacists is sparking controversy in the country's medical community.

New Brunswick will become one of the first provinces to move forward with legislation to significantly boost the ability of pharmacists to play a greater role in patient prescriptions.

Under proposed changes announced this week, pharmacists would not only provide refills without having to check with the doctor, but could also alter a patient's prescription or assign new medications for minor conditions.

Similar rules are already in place in Alberta and other provinces are in various stages of enhancing the role of pharmacists.

These moves will provide greater convenience to Canadians, who may not have immediate access to a doctor for a new prescription, allow pharmacists to better monitor a patient's response to treatment, and reduce the burden on overworked doctor's offices, said Janet Cooper, senior director of professional affairs at the Canadian Pharmacists Association. ...more

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