FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A local pharmacist says he is excited to now be able to prescribe medications for residents, especially with how hard it is to see a doctor in the Peace region.
The program officially launched on June 1st for pharmacists to be able to prescribe medications for minor ailments.
Cory Hermans, a Fort St. John Pharmacy & Wellness Centre pharmacist, said it won’t be as easy as just picking something off the shelf.
“There’s a whole process that is required in order for us to prescribe, which is good because we need to tick all of those boxes,” Hermans said.
“But because it takes time, you may end up either having to wait or book an appointment.”
The provincial government will launch an online booking system in the coming weeks.
The online booking system will allow patients to schedule appointments with their pharmacist and will be available to everyone in B.C. with a BC Services Card.
Hermans said an important medication they can prescribe now is birth control, some of which are free. However, pharmacists cannot prescribe birth control for painful menstruation.
“But we can prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, like mefenamic acid or naproxen,” Hermans said.
Hermans mentioned pharmacists will not be required to prescribe anything if they do not feel comfortable with it.
“We’re only going to be prescribing for conditions that we feel comfortable prescribing for,” Hermans said.
“If at a point we don’t feel like this is something that we can do, we’re going to have to refer you on either to another pharmacist or a primary care physician.”
Health Minister Adrian Dix said the new services will make it easier and faster for patients to get medication as well as take the pressure off nurses and doctors who can focus on those with more complex needs.
These latest abilities follow the changes from last October that allowed pharmacists to administer more vaccines and renew prescriptions for up to a two-year period for people whose family doctors have retired or left their practices.
Data showed nearly 60,000 prescriptions were renewed or modified by pharmacists in January, more than double the monthly average of about 27,200 in the year before the changes from October.
The complete list of ailments pharmacists can prescribe for, according to the government of B.C.:
- Allergies (allergic rhinitis)
- Cold sores
- Fungal infections
- Heartburn (acid reflux)
- Indigestion (upset stomach)
- Itching, including from bug bites
- Menstrual pain
- Mild acne
- Nicotine dependence
- Oral fungal infections (thrush)
- Oral ulcers (canker sores)
- Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
- Sprains and strains
- Skin rash (dermatitis)
- Threadworms or pinworms
- Uncomplicated urinary tract infection
- Vaginal candidiasis (yeast infection)
The full Community Round-up can be viewed below: