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Pharmacist Prescribing in BC

Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists - BC Branch

What is Pharmacist Prescribing?

Pharmacist prescribing enables pharmacists who work closely with physicians and nurse practitioners to write prescriptions, so that patients receive the best treatment for their medical conditions and have timely access to their medications.

The College of Pharmacists of BC have submitted a proposal for Certified Pharmacist Prescribing (CPP) to the Ministry of Health for consideration. CPP would allow certified pharmacists to independently start, change, adjust and stop a patients’ medication treatment at hospital or clinic settings in collaboration with the healthcare team.  We are currently awaiting the decision from the Ministry of Health.

For more information about the College of Pharmacists of BC’s proposal to expand the scope of practice for pharmacists to prescribe, please refer to the Framework for Pharmacist Prescribing in BC.

WHY should pharmacists be able to prescribe medications?

Pharmacists are medication experts with a minimum of 5-years of university training.  Research has shown that pharmacists who work in healthcare teams positively improve patient care. With the aging population and the increasing complex medical conditions and drug treatments, pharmacists play a unique role as they have the expertise to help recommend the best medication therapies and prevent adverse events from drug treatments.

Pharmacist prescribing would help patients get timely access to appropriate drug therapy. For example, pharmacists who work with the medical team would be able to start necessary medications and make dosage adjustments to meet the individual needs of each patient, as well as discontinue medications that are ineffective or causing harm. This will allow patients to receive the best drug treatment to improve their health outcomes and reduce unnecessary Emergency Department visits or hospitalizations due to drug causes.In addition, pharmacist prescribing would help provide a more “seamless transition” in care, ensuring patients receive the right medications when admitted into hospital and when being discharged from the hospital back to their homes.

The benefits of pharmacist prescribing are well-established, and pharmacists already have the ability to prescribe in 9 out of the 13 Canadian Provinces and Territories. In BC, we are lagging behind the other provinces. For a full comparison of pharmacists’ scope of practice for prescribing across Canada, please refer to: click here.

WHO will be involved in Pharmacist Prescribing?

The Certified Pharmacist Prescribing initiative currently will only involve pharmacists who are specially certified and who work in a collaborative care setting with physicians and nurse practitioners, such as at the hospital or an outpatient clinic. The pharmacist will work together with the medical team and will review medical records, laboratory tests, and diagnostic tests when prescribing and adjusting any medication therapies.

HOW can you help make Pharmacist Prescribing happen in BC?

If you would like to see Certified Pharmacist Prescribing happen in BC, you can reach out to your local MLA and share your views. To find out who your local MLA is and how to contact him or her, please refer to: click here.

CSHP BC Branch Pharmacist Prescribing in BC Infographic:

If you have any questions about Certified Pharmacist Prescribing and how you can support this initiative, please contact the CSHP BC Advocacy Chair at: advocacy@cshp-bc.com

Additional Resources on Pharmacist Prescribing