Canadian Pharmacists Association

Canadian Pharmacists Association

August 21, 2007 18:51 ET

Pharmacists Disappointed in CMA Decision

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 21, 2007) - After national consultation with pharmacy stakeholders, the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) has released a position statement that endorses prescriptive authority for pharmacists that is collaborative, patient centred and focused on addressing the health care needs of the patient. Such authority is an important means of increasing Canadians' access to medication and appropriate medication use.

To meet the many challenges facing our health care system, the role of health professionals must evolve to meet the demands of delivering more complex care to Canadians. The focus is on having the right health professional provide the right service at the right time. According to CPhA Executive Director, Dr. Jeff Poston, "Every day pharmacists deal with Canadians who have problems accessing medication and managing their chronic diseases. Giving pharmacists prescriptive authority can go a long way to improving the outcomes from drug therapy."

Traditionally in Canada, the authority to prescribe medications has rested primarily with physicians, but recently an increasing number of other heath professions have also received this authority. Over the past year, a majority of provinces have either passed or are considering changes to legislation that permit pharmacists to initiate, continue, or modify drug therapy under certain conditions. This can range from renewing a continued care prescription to independent prescriptive authority. As the most accessible health practitioner and the best trained in pharmaceuticals, it only makes sense that pharmacists are being given this authority.

CPhA firmly believes all decisions related to medication management, including prescribing, must be focussed on patients' health care needs. Prescribing by pharmacists should complement care provided by other health professionals. Collaboration with physicians and other health providers is a critical component to pharmacist prescribing and better medication management.

Poston continued, "In the Canadian Medical Association's discussion paper, Putting Patients First, many important issues are raised with respect to the development of collaborative, patient centred care. This paper creates an important foundation for health care professionals to work together. However, given the evidence of problems with drug therapy and the positive impacts that pharmacists can have on health outcomes, CPhA is disappointed that CMA's General Council, now holding its annual meeting in Vancouver, failed to support a motion endorsing the pharmacists' role in monitoring and managing medications within a collaborative care environment."

The Canadian Pharmacists Association is the national organization of pharmacists, committed to providing leadership for the profession and improving the health of Canadians.

Addendum: Pharmacist Prescribing

Position Statement:

CPhA is committed to obtaining recognition and authority for pharmacists to practise at a level that allows them to play a larger role in ensuring the quality of medication use and optimizing drug therapy to help patients achieve health goals that will improve their quality of life.

With a university degree specializing in medications and their use, pharmacists have the knowledge and skills to manage medications and optimize drug therapy to improve health outcomes of Canadians. Pharmacists like all health care professionals, act in accordance with the codes of ethics and standards of practice of their profession. These require pharmacists to be responsible, accountable and act in the best interest of the patient.

Pharmacist prescribing includes a wide range of activities, such as:

- prescribing over-the-counter and prescription drugs to treat minor, self-diagnosed or self-limiting disease conditions

- providing emergency supplies of prescribed medication to a patient

- monitoring and authorizing the refill of existing prescriptions to ensure appropriate and effective care

- modifying a prescription written by another prescriber to alter dosage, formulation, regimen or duration of the prescribed drug

- modifying a prescription written by another prescriber to provide a therapeutic alternative to improve drug therapy or provide continuity of therapy

- prescribing medications for patients through delegated authority and collaborative practice agreements, or by using protocols as established by institutions or jurisdictions

- initiating or discontinuing a medication, where the pharmacist, in collaboration with the physician and/or other health care professionals, provides comprehensive drug therapy management.

CPhA is committed to ongoing dialogue with pharmacists, other health professionals, their associations and regulatory bodies, and the public to enhance understanding of the goals and scope of pharmacist prescribing activities.

Contact Information