Patient Care Journey | Pharmacist owners request the withdrawal of certain administrative rules

(Montreal) The Quebec Association of Pharmacist Owners (AQPP) wants certain administrative rules surrounding clinical activities in pharmacies to be lifted in order to facilitate the patient’s care pathway.

On the occasion of Pharmacy Recognition Month, she emphasizes that the rules currently in place often hinder the ability of pharmacists to offer services to the population and she suggests that the government focus more on the professional judgment of pharmacists.

The number of clinical activities in pharmacies increased by 16% compared to 2022, exceeding 7 million procedures provided by a pharmacist.

“This is good progress,” said the president of the AQPP, Benoit Morin, “but we are often limited in these activities. For example, prescriptions from doctors or specialized nurse practitioners can be extended for a maximum of 12 months, while there are patients who would need an additional extension. »

He also gives the example of urinary infection. Pharmacists can prescribe an antibiotic for a woman who has an uncomplicated urinary tract infection as long as she has received a prescription from a doctor within the last five years. Mr. Morin indicates that in Ontario, even if the patient has never received a prescription, if the pharmacist judges that it is an uncomplicated infection, he can give the antibiotic.

With us, there are limits like these which mean that one time out of four, sometimes one time out of two, I will say to the patient: “I cannot serve you because there is a administrative limit and you absolutely must go see the doctor.”

Benoit Morin, president of the AQPP

According to him, pharmacists have proven that they prescribe within the limits of their judgment. For a urinary infection in a man for example, which is rarer and more complex, the patient will be referred to a doctor to take care of his case.

“What we are saying is that we must create more opportunities, always safe, but raise limits that do not necessarily exist elsewhere where the pharmacist could exercise his judgment,” defends Mr. Morin.

The AQPP also suggests that pharmacists be able to follow up after prescribing an antiviral in the case of shingles. Currently, the pharmacist can begin treatment for shingles after evaluating a patient, but the patient must be seen by a doctor within 72 hours for medical follow-up.

Mr. Morin believes that pharmacists could easily take care of monitoring patients for cases of shingles. “Obviously, if there were complications, they could refer them to a care corridor, but all that would add fuel to the gears to make it work better,” he says.

The AQPP also affirms that there are regional disparities for patients who wish to access certain services, in particular the streptococcus screening test. Some regions have collective prescriptions which allow pharmacists to give antibiotics in the event of positive tests. “This is not something that is done independently by pharmacists,” explains Mr. Morin. It requires a collective prescription, so there must be a doctor who agrees to delegate this to a pharmacist in a given territory. »

In addition, the patient must pay an amount if he wants to be tested for streptococci in a pharmacy, while this test is free at the doctor or in the emergency room.

The remuneration of pharmacists should be adjusted according to the modifications in clinical activities proposed by the AQPP. She affirms that this remuneration is lower than that granted to family doctors for the same clinical procedures, and that the costs for the system are lower than if patients have to go to the emergency room.

“First of all, it saves efficiency, time, accessibility, and very probably money too because we are not doing things twice,” maintains Mr. Morin.

In the context of labor scarcity, the AQPP also asks patients to plan the preparation of their prescription as much as possible by calling or doing it online. These simple actions can free up time for the pharmacist to be more efficient and prevent people from waiting too long behind the counter.

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