Local pharmacists soon to prescribe for common ailments

According to a media release released on Dec.28 by the Ministry of Health, Ontario is making it more convenient for people to connect to care closer to home by launching pharmacist prescribing for some of the most common medical ailments. As of January 1, 2023, Ontarians will be able to stop in at pharmacies across the province to receive prescriptions for thirteen common ailments, including rashes, pink eye, insect bites and urinary tract infections with just their health card. This service makes it more convenient to access care by removing a doctor’s office visit and will come at no extra cost to Ontarians.

Stephen Goodyear, Chief Pharmacist, told The Current that preparations are under way at Lorraine’s Pharmasave in Barry’s Bay to offer this new service early in the New Year – probably within the next month or so. As this is a higher level of practice, all three pharmacists are currently working on the necessary continuing education. Regarding common ailments (see definition below) Goodyear said, “We have been helping patients with a lot of these things for years; now we won’t have to refer them onward for some of these conditions.” He explained that in cases of any symptoms of concern, they would still refer the patient to a physician.

For confirmation when the pharmacy team in Barry’s Bay begins offering this service, Valley residents can watch for an in-store notice or Click HERE for the Lorraine’s Pharmasave Facebook page.

The Ministry of Health release goes on to say that pharmacists will be able to offer prescriptions for:

  • hay fever (allergic rhinitis);
  • oral thrush (candidal stomatitis);
  • pink eye (conjunctivitis; bacterial, allergic and viral);
  • dermatitis (atopic, eczema, allergic and contact);
  • menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea);
  • acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD));
  • hemorrhoids;
  • cold sores (herpes labialis);
  • impetigo;
  • insect bites and hives;
  • tick bites (post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent Lyme disease);
  • sprains and strains (musculoskeletal); and
  • urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Allowing pharmacists to prescribe for these common ailments will make it more convenient for Ontarians to receive the care they need, while offering patients more convenient choices for how they access and receive health care. With a large, provincewide footprint, pharmacist prescribing will help to increase access to care in rural parts of Ontario. In addition to providing more convenience, pharmacy prescribing will also help free-up doctors’ bandwidth to provide care for more complex needs, helping to reduce wait times for these services.

Quick facts

  • A common ailment is a health condition that can be reliably self-diagnosed and managed with self-care strategies and/or minimal treatment.
  • Anyone with symptoms should contact their local pharmacist to confirm whether they provide prescribing services for certain common ailments before visiting the pharmacy.
  • This change builds on pharmacists’ current knowledge, skills and judgement to recommend over-the-counter medications and allows physicians to focus on the more complex health care needs of their patients.
  • These changes are being made in partnership with the Ontario College of Pharmacists.
  • Ontarians can now also visit local pharmacies for Paxlovid prescriptions. Visit ontario.ca/antivirals for more information on eligibility and to find local pharmacies that are dispensing Paxlovid.

Additional resources

Jensen,H.R., Minister’s Office, and Miller,A.,MOH Communications(2022,Dec.28) Spread the Word: Local Pharmacies Now a One-Stop-Shop for Thirteen Common Ailments [media release]

Pictured at top: Lorraine’s Pharmasave in Barry’s Bay. (Photo: Facebook)

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