Pharmacists get bigger role in health care 0
Alberta pharmacists will now be compensated by the government for providing seven new services, including prescription renewals.
In addition, as of July 1, pharmacists will be able to administer drug injections, alter prescriptions based on a patient's health needs, authorize medication in a medical emergency, create care plans to help patient's understand and manage their medications better, and in some cases, prescribe medication.
This will allow pharmacists to work to the full scope of their practice while freeing up doctors' time to see more patients and handle more complex work.
A transition team representing Alberta pharmacists has been working with Alberta Health to develop a framework to expand the number of services they can provide.
"Pharmacists have the training and education to provide a broad range of services to Albertans and we're happy to have the opportunity to do," said Neil Cameron, President of the Alberta Pharmacists' Association. "With over 4,300 pharmacists licensed in Alberta, Albertans can rely on us even more to meet their medication needs close to home."
Pharmacist Darsey Milford of Turtle Mountain Pharmacy said pharmacists became legislated to expand their practices in 2007 but these additional practices will now be compensated for.
Many pharmacists may not be comfortable with providing services such as assessing patients and giving injections, said Milford, but the new legislation allows those who are qualified to be paid.
As well, she said, pharmacists must still apply and receive approval to provide services such as starting people on a new medication and giving injections.
"These services were never intended to eliminate the need to see a physician but to complement it instead," said Milford.
The cost of expanding pharmacists' services will be covered primarily from reduced generic drug prices.
Effective July 1, Alberta reduced what it pays for generic drugs from 45 per cent of the cost of name brand drugs to 35 per cent. Government officials said this reduction will save the province about $85 million in 2012/13.