Starting January 1st, patients who run out of routine medications may ask their pharmacist to renew their prescription without always needing a doctor’s appointment first.
As enabled by the Health Professions (Regulatory Reform) Amendment Act, 2008, pharmacists are now permitted to renew most routine medications for up to six months without requiring the patient to first present a new doctor’s prescription. For example, patients with long-term (chronic), stable conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, who have been on the same medication for at least six months and are
coming to the end of their supply of medication, may have their pharmacist renew the prescription.
Patients may also ask their pharmacists to adapt some prescriptions. Under the new rules, pharmacists will be able to change the prescribed dosage or substitute drugs, where it is appropriate, for example, to minimize side effects. In all instances of renewal and modification, pharmacists will follow strict guidelines prepared by the College of Pharmacists with input from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, the BC Pharmacists Association, and the BC Medical Association.
Patients who want a renewal or adaptation should talk to their pharmacist, who will consider each situation individually to determine if they have sufficient information about the patient and their health status to make a change in the patient’s best interest. Patients will still need to see their doctors at least once a year to ensure their condition is stable and medication records and therapies are up to date.
Pharmacists are not obligated to renew or adapt a prescription, and in some cases, may decline a patient request. Pharmacists will not be able to change or renew prescriptions for narcotics or controlled substances.
Likewise, in any case where the doctor has written "do not renew/adapt" on the original prescription, pharmacists will not be able to renew or modify the prescription. Only existing, valid prescriptions can be
renewed or adapted. As well, all renewals and adaptations will be reported to the original prescriber as soon as possible, preferably with 24 hours.
Patients will be charged the usual dispensing fee for their medication, but will not be charged any other fees by the pharmacy for renewals or adaptations.
More information on renewal and adaptations of prescriptions by pharmacists can be found at the BC College of Pharmacists web site at www.bcpharmacists.org. Look for the brochure, "Understanding Your
Pharmacist’s Role in Renewing or Adapting Your Prescription", at http://www.bcpharmacists.org/library/A-About_Us/A-8_Key_Initiatives/PPP58_Brochure.pdf.
Copies may be picked up at local pharmacies.