New regulations are expanding the role Yukon pharmacists can take in extending and modifying prescriptions. A proposed program would allow them to prescribe drugs themselves for a limited range of minor ailments.
The permanent changes, which are similar to those brought in under the COVID-19 state of emergency, are effective immediately.
Pharmacists can now choose to extend existing prescriptions on all prescription drugs, including controlled substances, up to a maximum of two times. They can also choose to extend or modify prescriptions for controlled substances, including methadone, when they are needed in emergencies and transfer controlled substance prescriptions both inside and outside the territory.
Both pharmacists and pharmacy employees will be able to deliver prescriptions in accordance with the rules set out in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Pharmacists can also now extend or refill prescriptions based on a verbal rather than written order from a prescribing doctor or other prescriber.
It is up to each pharmacist to decide which of these new services to offer. In a June 29 announcement of the new rules, the Yukon government advises Yukoners to discuss exactly what services will be offered with their pharmacist.
The government is also working towards new rules that will allow pharmacists to prescribe drugs for minor illnesses like pinkeye, dermatitis, urinary tract infections and smoking cessation. They will also be able to prescribe vaccines needed for travel and for COVID-19.
The announcement from the Yukon government states that pharmacists wishing to prescribe drugs will be subject to additional training and licensing requirements expected to launch by this December. It goes on to say the expanded services are not intended to replace visits to doctors and Yukoners should still talk to their family physician whenever possible before going to the pharmacy.
“The changes implemented under the COVID-19 state of emergency that expanded the services pharmacists could offer proved to be safe and beneficial for Yukoners and the Yukon’s health-care system,” said Yukon Minister of Community Services Richard Mostyn.
“By expanding these services permanently, we are aligning with other Canadian jurisdictions and better supporting Yukoners in accessing the critical medications and health services they need. I look forward to continuing to work to ensure pharmacists in our territory can even better utilize their full training and expertise to support the health and wellbeing of Yukoners.”
The government announcement notes that the new rules align with the services pharmacists provide in many other Canadian jurisdictions.
Contact Jim Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org