Subscribe To The Newsletter

Follow Us

Many Ontarians Don’t Know How to Feel About the New Rules for Pharmacists

ONTARIO – While many Ontarians are struggling to find a family doctor, and the province’s hospitals continue to struggle under the healthcare crisis, pharmacists will soon be able to help people facing some common ailments. Starting January 1, 2023, pharmacists in Ontario will be able to prescribe medications for 13 common illnesses and conditions, without the approval of a doctor. 

“Spread the Word: Local Pharmacies Now a One-Stop-Shop for Thirteen Common Ailments” reads a release from the province.

As of New Year’s Day 2023, Ontario pharmacists will be able to prescribe medications 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).

The Ontario Pharmacist Association is applauding the government for the move. 

“Empowering pharmacists to use their expertise to assess and treat minor ailments helps patients get the care they need sooner and closer to home – but the benefits go much further,” said Justin Bates, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists Association.

“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 continued.

While provincial officials boast that it is only one step that Ontario is taking toward repairing the healthcare system. 

“Ontario is making it easier for you to connect to care closer to home,” Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones says in a video posted to the provincial website.

“You won’t need a doctor’s appointment, and there’s no charge for the visit,” Jones continues.

Ontario joins the majority of the country’s other jurisdictions in allowing pharmacists to provide such services. Alberta was the first Canadian province to do so, extending the scope of pharmacists’ privileges in 2007. 

New Rules for Pharmacists: Ontarians React to the News

Online, it seems that some Ontarians are looking forward to having easier access to treatments for common maladies. 

“This is great news for Ontarians. Ontario is catching up with other provinces & providing prescribing rights to pharmacists for minor ailments. Pharmacists are one of the most accessible health care professionals. This is not privatization of care. It’s a benefit to people,” said one man.

“I have not found a family doctor, therefore, UNable to get day-to-day most commonly used prescription drugs which you have listed above. Now I can. Thank YOU,” said another.

Meantime, some worry that this is not the correct move. 

“The UTI treatment is definitely a bad idea. We already have too much antibiotic resistance. Urine samples should be ordered at times to prevent this!!!  This is wrong on so many levels.  You cut off virtual but we can’t get into our doctors office!” a self-identified healthcare advocate posted on Twitter.

“This is going to lead to scope creep. Are there peer-reviewed studies that conclude the effectiveness of skipping the MD visit?” one man questioned online.

“The Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons makes it very difficult for the International Medical Doctors to work as Medical Doctors in Canada, instead Ontario does magic & turns Pharmacists to Medical Doctors proudly,” said another.

“While I have great respect for pharmacists’ skills & education, I will continue to consult my doctor for diagnosis & treatment of medical conditions. Oh wait — I don’t HAVE a GP! I’m one of 1 million+ Ontarians without one! What is your plan, Sylvia, to address this need?” one woman asked

While others are reminding people to carefully consider if their illness requires medical attention, and still seek out a doctor if needed. 

“[The] main purpose of minor ailments prescribing by pharmacists is to relieve pressure on urgent care facilities by diverting some unnecessary visits from there. Please don’t “skip the doctor’s office visit” for anything that you consider to be less than minor,” said one man on Twitter.

Do you feel like this is the right move? Or do you think Ontario is making the wrong decision? Let us know in the comments!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Stories

On Key

Related Posts