Sunday, January 17, 2010

Drugstores poised to become true health-care hubs

From the Globe and Mail:
In a big-box world, the role of pharmacists seems increasingly humble. Camped out at the back of chain drugstores, counting out pills and providing occasional advice on which over-the-counter cold medication to take, they often seem more like clerks than health-care professionals.

That's the case in Ontario, at least, which has lagged behind other provinces in allowing pharmacists to make good use of their training.

But now Dalton McGuinty's government is positioned to leap to the front of the pack in transforming the profession.

Not only has it empowered pharmacists to perform certain services traditionally restricted to doctors - such as giving vaccinations and prescribing some medications - but it has the chance to provide a groundbreaking incentive to take on those tasks, turning pharmacies into health-care hubs.

Before Christmas, the Ontario legislature unanimously passed Bill 179, which permits pharmacists (along with nurses and nurse practitioners) to perform services normally limited to doctors - services they have already begun to provide in other provinces, including British Columbia, Quebec, Alberta and New Brunswick. ...more

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