Pharmacy U

Quebec pharmacists now enjoy expanded scope

Bert Bolduc

Quebec patients have welcomed the pharmacist’s expanded scope of practice granted by the provincial government.

By Bertrand Bolduc, president of the Quebec Order of Pharmacists

We’re delighted to join our colleagues in the rest of Canada in providing additional services that will make life easier for people and relieve some of the province’s healthcare burden.

The new services include adjusting a prescription, extending its duration, administering a drug by injection or other means for demonstration purposes, and prescribing lab tests for drug-monitoring purposes. Quebec pharmacists can now also write prescriptions for some conditions that don’t require a diagnosis, such as medication for preventing altitude sickness.

We are still waiting for Quebec’s health minister to announce the final administrative details, but what we already know is that four of the seven new activities will be covered by the Quebec drug insurance plan. As Quebecers are either covered by the public (RAMQ) drug insurance or private insurance programs which have to cover the same services, this means that every citizen will have access to the new pharmacy services. It is great news for all as there shouldn’t be any difference among patients.

More than 7,000 pharmacists attended a one-day conference or completed online training to qualify for the expanded practice. Pharmacists already had all the necessary clinical skills. The additional training covered regulatory aspects, such as documenting each treatment, and knowing the inclusion and exclusion criteria for minor ailment consultations.

Another great win for everyone is that the insurances – private and public – will cover the “evaluation of the need for prescription of a drug for minor ailment conditions” and “conditions not requiring a diagnostic”. The fee is payable whether there is a prescription of a drug or not. This allows for complete professional independence in assessing the patient. Patients can rest assured that their pharmacist will always do what is best for them in all cases.