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Pharmacists get power to write prescriptions for common ailments

Hay fever, eczema and hemorrhoids among the 13 common ailments pharmacists can now write prescriptions for

The provincial Ministry of Health is now allowing pharmacists to write prescriptions for 13 common ailments.

There will be no cost to individuals for the service, which comes into effect in the new year.

“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,” says a media release from the province.

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, province-wide footprint, pharmacist prescribing will help to increase access to care in rural parts of Ontario,” the release states.

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.

Justin Bates, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists Association, said the move allows patients to have minor ailments treated and assessed closer to home and reduces the demand on the health care system.

“It reduces demand on hospitals, emergency departments, walk-in clinics and family physicians. It also frees up time for our healthcare partners, allowing doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers to focus on more complex care cases,” Bates said.

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