Province introduced expanded treatment power to pharmacists in January 2023. Ontario pharmacists can now treat 19 common ailments. Photo credit: Facebook/Shoppers Drug Mart
As part of its ongoing effort to address the healthcare crisis in Ontario, the provincial government has made it easier for people to receive treatment for common ailments by allowing pharmacists the ability to diagnose and prescribe medication for more conditions.
“Expanding the list of common ailments pharmacists can treat, people will now get faster, more convenient access to the care they need closer to home, while helping to further reduce wait times at our community clinics and hospitals,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
“Pharmacist prescribing has been a huge success and Ontario is now one of the leading jurisdictions in Canada in providing convenient health care services through pharmacies.”
Back in January, Ontario gave pharmacists the authority to diagnose and prescribe medication for 13 common ailments, including sprains and strains, cold sores, insect bites and hives, UTIs, and more.
On October 1, the province added six more ailments to the list, including acne, canker sores, diaper rash, yeast infections, parasitic worms, and nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.
According to the province, 89 per cent of Ontario’s pharmacies have been treating common ailments since the start of 2023.
“We are already seeing the tremendous impact that the minor ailments program has had in helping to more conveniently connect Ontarians to care,” said Justin Bates, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists Association.
“Since the program launched earlier this year there have been more than 400,000 pharmacy assessments for minor ailments.”
Recent changes by the province also allow pharmacists to administer certain injection and inhalation treatments so that they can better care for people who need help taking certain medications, such as insulin, vitamin B12, or osteoporosis treatment. Ontarians can now access this service at their local pharmacy for a professional fee, similar to fees to receive travel vaccines.
“Expanding the role of Ontario’s pharmacists is another significant step towards connecting Ontarians to the care they need, right in their own communities,” said Jeff Leger, President of Shoppers Drug Mart. “This announcement aligns with our commitment to improving access to care for patients and we are proud to work with the Ontario government and the Ontario College of Pharmacists to make these positive changes.”
As with visiting a family physician or walk-in clinic, Ontarians can receive a prescription from a pharmacist for common ailments with just their Ontario health card. The cost of the medication being prescribed will continue to be paid for by people directly or through their drug benefits plan.
Anyone with symptoms should contact their local pharmacist to confirm whether they provide prescribing services for certain common ailments before visiting the pharmacy.