Suffering a Common Ailment – Head to the Pharmacy

541
Health

TORONTO — Ontario is making it more convenient for people to connect to care closer to home by launching pharmacist prescribing for some of the most common medical ailments.

As of January 1, 2023, Ontarians will be able to stop in at pharmacies across the province to receive prescriptions for thirteen common ailments, including rashes, pink eye, insect bites and urinary tract infections with just their health card. This service makes it more convenient to access care by removing a doctor’s office visit and will come at no extra cost to Ontarians.

“Stopping by your local pharmacy for quick and easy access to treatment for some of your most common ailments increases your access to the care you need closer to home,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Expanding the ability of pharmacists to provide care is one more way we’re putting people at the centre of our health care system, making it easier, faster and more convenient to access health care in their community.”

Pharmacists will be able to offer prescriptions for:

  • 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).

Allowing pharmacists to prescribe for these common ailments will make it more convenient for Ontarians to receive the care they need, while offering patients more convenient choices for how they access and receive health care. With a large, provincewide footprint, pharmacist prescribing will help to increase access to care in rural parts of Ontario.

In addition to providing more convenience, pharmacy prescribing will also help free-up doctors’ bandwidth to provide care for more complex needs, helping to reduce wait times for these services.

The Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA) is thrilled that patients across Ontario can now visit their local pharmacist to assess and prescribe medication for minor conditions, such as pink eye, eczema, and urinary tract infections.

By expanding pharmacists’ scope of practice to assess and treat 13 minor ailments, Ontario is taking an important step to improve access to healthcare for Ontarians. Patients can count on local pharmacists – the most accessible healthcare providers in Ontario – to help keep them healthy and safe in every neighbourhood across the province.

Until now, patients have had to visit their primary care provider, walk-in clinic, or a local hospital to treat minor ailments.

Today, patients can simply call their local pharmacy to make an appointment or go to their nearest pharmacy during regular hours and speak to their pharmacist. Patients must present a valid Ontario health card to access this publicly funded service provided by the Government of Ontario. Patients are not required to pay a fee.

“Empowering pharmacists to use their expertise to assess and treat minor ailments helps patients get the care they need sooner and closer to home – but the benefits go much further,” says Justin Bates, CEO, Ontario Pharmacists Association. “It reduces demand on hospitals, emergency departments, walk-in clinics, and family physicians. It also frees up time for our healthcare partners, allowing doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers to focus on more complex care cases.”