On May 30, 2019, the College was directed by the Minister of Health to submit draft regulations to the government by November 30, 2019 that would enable pharmacists, interns and registered pharmacy students to administer the flu vaccine to children as young as two years old, renew prescriptions in quantities of up to a year’s supply and administer certain substances by injection and/or inhalation for purposes that are in addition to patient education and demonstration. The Minister also asked the College to work with Ministry staff to authorize point of care testing by pharmacists for certain chronic conditions.
REGULATION AMENDMENTS APPROVED FOR SUBMISSION TO GOVERNMENT
The proposed regulatory amendments to enable these changes, as well as point of care testing, were approved by Council during a special meeting on November 21, 2019 following a 60-day open public consultation. Prior to this consultation, the College engaged pharmacy professionals as well as various health system stakeholders to help guide its work in developing and drafting the amendments.
The proposed amendments would also enable pharmacy professionals to perform certain point of care tests when regulations under the Laboratory and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act are amended by the Ministry of Health. These changes will determine which tests can be performed.
In approving the regulatory amendments, Council also approved:
- the recommendation to replace existing drug lists for authorized substances that can be administered by injection and/or inhalation with drug categories, which has been adopted by other health regulators; and
- the recommendation that additional education in administering the flu vaccine to children aged two to five years old will be voluntary and left to the professional discretion of pharmacy professionals.
SUBMISSION TO GOVERNMENT
The proposed regulatory amendments have been submitted to the Minister of Health for consideration. The government must review and approve these changes and will determine when they will take effect. While the scope changes apply to all pharmacy professionals regardless of their practice environment, there is other legislation that supersedes the Pharmacy Act, such as the Public Hospitals Act that governs hospital practice.
The feedback received during the open consultation identified a number of important priorities that are critical to ensuring that pharmacy professionals can take on these new responsibilities and optimize their practice, while continuing to provide quality and safe care.
The College is developing an implementation plan to support pharmacy professionals, in collaboration with registrants, stakeholders and other health system partners. This work may include updating policies and guidelines, developing strategies to address feedback that was raised through the consultation, and communicating additional education options.
CONSULTING ON MINOR AILMENTS – SUBMISSION TO GOVERNMENT DUE BY JUNE 2020
At the request of the Minister, the College is also moving forward with drafting a new set of proposed regulations that would allow pharmacists to prescribe for certain minor ailments, which must be submitted to the Minister of Health by June 30, 2020 for consideration. The College is committed to consulting broadly on minor ailments and recognizes that doing so is key to developing regulatory amendments that promote safe and quality pharmacy care.
As an initial step, the College has established a Minor Ailments Advisory Group (MAAG), comprising patient advisors as well as experts in pharmacy, medicine, public health, antimicrobial stewardship, and health systems research. The MAAG’s role is to provide guidance and recommendations to the College for regulatory, policy, implementation and evaluation of pharmacist prescribing for minor ailments, with a view to improving health outcomes and health-system quality while ensuring patient safety.
Registrants will have an opportunity in the near future to provide initial feedback on prescribing for minor ailments, prior to a broader open public consultation on the draft regulatory amendments early next year. The College is also consulting with professional associations and will continue to collaborate with them as well as registrants as this work moves forward.
We look forward to hearing from pharmacy professionals on this important aspect of expanded scope of practice. Feedback received through all of these public and stakeholder consultation activities will be considered.
In the meantime, registrants are encouraged to watch for updates in e-Connect and on the OCP website for additional details on planned engagement opportunities.
May 30, 2019: Minister of Health directs the College to develop draft regulations that would enable the expansion of scope in specific areas.
Aug. 22, 2019: Council approves the first set of draft regulatory amendments for open public consultation.
Aug. 26 – Oct. 26, 2019: The draft regulatory amendments are posted on the College website for open public consultation.
Nov. 21, 2019: Council approves the final regulatory amendments to be submitted to the Minister of Health.
Nov. 30, 2019: Deadline for the College to submit first set of draft regulations to expand scope of practice.
March 2020: Council to review and approve regulatory changes related to minor ailments for 60-day open public consultation.
June 30, 2020: Deadline for the College to submit a second set of draft regulations that would enable pharmacists to prescribe for minor ailments.