Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pharmacists shouldn't prescribe smoking drugs: critics

From the Globe and Mail:
Smokers looking to kick the habit might chew nicotine gum or wear a patch sold over the counter in drug stores across Canada to give them an extra boost. But should they also be able to bypass the doctor and head to the drugstore if they're looking for something stronger?

A growing number of pharmacists across Canada think they should - and the idea is drawing sharp criticism from some drug-safety experts.

A few dozen Alberta pharmacists are currently authorized to write prescriptions for Zyban and Champix, the brand names of two common smoking-cessation drugs.

An advisory council to Ontario's health ministry is recommending that pharmacists in the province also be allowed to write prescriptions for smoking-cessation drugs. The recommendation is contained in a broader report that supports expanding the power of pharmacists to prescribe drugs for minor ailments, as well as to alter prescriptions or change dosages.

While Ontario's Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council admits that nicotine addiction is not a "minor ailment," it says pharmacists in the province should be able to write prescriptions for stop-smoking drugs as a way to improve access for those who want to quit. ...more

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