In an effort to address the ongoing issues with accessing healthcare in British Columbia, the provincial government has released its new strategy which includes, amongst other things, an expansion of what pharmacists are allowed to do in B.C.. Starting October 14th pharmacists will be allowed to administer and renew more prescriptions without consultation with a medical doctor. By spring of 2023 B.C. pharmacists will also be able to prescribe medications for certain medical issues without the involvement of a medical doctor.
Expansion of Pharmacists’ Powers
This expansion of pharmacists’ powers has been enacted to address the unfortunate reality that for most British Columbians access to a family doctor on a timely basis, or at all. In order to ensure patients are able to obtain prescriptions and renewals in a timely fashion, medical doctors have been cut out of the equation in some instances. The question will be, does giving more powers to pharmacists with less involvement and oversight of medical doctors benefit British Columbians in the long run?
Legal Ramifications Due to Prescription Errors
Pharmaceutical negligence is, unfortunately, a common occurrence which can lead to significant injuries when there is a prescription error. Healthcare workers from all areas, including pharmacists, are already experiencing burnout from dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic and the collapse of the British Columbia healthcare system. With the expansion of what is expected of a pharmacist to address the lack of access to medical doctors, and without a required medical oversight of a patient’s overall health and symptoms by a medical doctor, it is more than likely than not that prescription errors will increase in B.C..