Pharmacists take on new roles in healthcare

By Morinville News Staff

Edmonton – Prescription renewals are one of seven publicly funded health services Albertans can now consult their pharmacist about, additional roles the province says will make access to primary health care easier and more efficient.

The new services include administering drug injections and altering patient prescriptions based on their health needs. The government believes the additional roles, which pharmacists will be compensated for, will allow pharmacists to fully work their practices while creating more patient time for doctors who previously provided the services.

“We made a promise to Albertans to improve access to primary health care, and that is exactly what we are doing,” said Minister of Health Fred Horne in a release Wednesday. “These new services will help Albertans get the medical services they need faster and more conveniently, which means better health and an improved quality of life for Albertans.”

In addition to providing prescription renewals and changes as well as drug injections, Alberta pharmacists can now authorize medication in a medical emergency, create care plans to help patients better understand and manage their medications. Pharmacist with additional prescribing authority will be allowed to prescribe medication.

The province says it will pay for the expansion of billable pharmacist services from the 10 per cent reduction the province began receiving July 1 on its generic drug purchases. The province estimates the reduction will save the Alberta government about $85 million in the 2012/13 budget year.

There are 4,300 licensed pharmacists in Alberta.

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