SOUTH DUNDAS – An announcement by the provincial government last month means residents will be able to avoid a doctor’s visit and long wait times for some very common ailments requiring a prescription.
The Ontario government and the Ontario College of Pharmacists partnered to expand basic services after the successful roll out of Paxlovid prescriptions last year.
For 13 common ailments, pharmacists can consult with patients and may offer a prescription based on the symptoms.
Scott Lane, owner-pharmacist of Seaway Valley Pharmacy in Morrisburg said that the consultation with a patient will determine whether a prescription is given, an over-the-counter option is appropriate, or if a referral to a doctor is required.
“There is a procedure to follow, with the consultation taking between five and 20 minutes depending on the issue,” Lane said. “We’re just getting up to speed on the requirements involved and the reporting to doctors.”
In all consultations, pharmacists will record and report consultations and prescriptions for follow up with a patient’s doctor.
The change brings Ontario pharmacists in line with many other provinces that have offered basic consultative and prescription services for 10 years.
Ryan Gilmer, co-owner of Gilmer Pharmcy in Iroquois cautioned that it is a big change to how pharmacies operate.
“Each pharmacy is going to have different procedures for assessing and prescribing a minor ailment,” he explained. “Some pharmacies will be able to accept walk-ins, and some may require appointments only.” He suggested before a person goes to their preferred pharmacy, to call ahead to confirm availability.
Vincent Dorotan, managing pharmacist of Upper Canada Remedy’s Rx in Morrisburg said the changes were made faster than most pharmacies were ready for.
“We’re getting ready for this, and have started doing the training modules from the College,” he explained. “Many of these ailments we are trained on when we go to school, so a lot is just learning the procedures for reporting, or refreshers for us.”
All three pharmacies plan to slowly roll out consultation services in the next one-to-two months as staff is trained.
“I think it’s great that we’re going to be able to provide these services to customers,” Lane concluded. “It’s long overdue.”
The list of the 13 common ailments that can be consulted on include: 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).