By Bianca Bykhovsky
Ontario pharmacists are now able to give flu shots, prescribe some drugs and refill prescriptions – services previously performed only by doctors.
The provincial government announced earlier this week that it would implement the regulation from Bill 179 , said Dennis Darby, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists.
Bill 179, which was passed in 2009, gives nurses, pharmacists and other health practitioners to provide a wider range of health services.
“This is great for patients and the health care system. It will keep more people out of the emergency,” Darby told Humber News. “We have been advocating this for four years.”
The hope is that because of the increased accessibility more people will opt to get a flu shot. According to Darby only 33 per cent of people in Ontario regularly receive flu shots.
Alberta and British Columbia have already adopted similar regulations and have seen a 25 per cent increase in the number of people receiving flu shots, said Darby.
Six hundred pharmacies in Ontario are currently offering the expanded services, Darby said. By next year they will be available at all pharmacies in the province.
Samy Mak, pharmacist and owner of MedSpot – the pharmacy at Humber’s North Campus – agrees that the expansion of services will benefit patients.
“It is a good thing because it will save a lot of time for patients,” said Mak.
But Mak also said this is not a profitable move for pharmacists, who will be performing additional tasks with no extra compensation, except for $7.50 they will receive per flu shot.