This feature in Pharmacy Connection is a place to find information about news stories we’re following. Here, you’ll read summaries of recent stories relating to pharmacy in Ontario and Canada. For the latest updates, stay tuned to e-Connect and www.ocpinfo.com
EXPANSION OF OHIP+ FOR SENIORS
Patients who are wondering whether their medications are covered by the Ontario Drug Benefit program or OHIP+ can use Ontario’s online search tool to look up the medication.
This change will take effect on August 1, 2019.
INCREASING HARMS OF OPIOIDS
The provincial government has reported that there were 1,053 opioid related deaths in Ontario from January to October 2017, an increase of 52 percent over 2016. Partially in response, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has recently begun distributing shipments of posters and brochures to pharmacies to help educate patients about prescription opioid use. Pharmacists are asked to hang the posters in visible areas of their pharmacy and provide the brochures to their patients when they pick up their opioid medication.
To assist pharmacy professionals in providing reliable, take-home information for patients or their caregivers who may have questions and concerns about opioids, the College has created a list of resources specifically for patients (see Opioid Resources for Patients). Pharmacy professionals are reminded that the College has released an Opioid Strategy for Pharmacy. Additionally, resources continue to be added to the Opioid Practice Tool.
Pharmacy professionals are reminded that in November 2017, the College revised its Mifegymiso guidance document to reflect a November 7, 2017 Health Product Risk Communication from Health Canada which updates the Product Monograph and Risk Mitigation Plan. These updates extend the gestational age requirement, update the dispensing requirements, and remove the requirement for mandatory prescriber education and pharmacist and prescriber registration with the manufacturer.
Additionally, pharmacy professionals are reminded that the Safe Access to Abortion Services Act came into effect on February 1, 2018, allowing pharmacies who provide abortion services to establish safe access zones of up to 150 metres around the pharmacy. Details on how to apply can be found on the government’s Safe Access Zones webpage.
UPDATED NALOXONE GUIDANCE
Please also note that pharmacists, where possible, must ensure that a quarterly report relating to outcomes for individuals who were provided a naloxone kit, be completed and returned to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Please view question #16 of the Ministry’s naloxone kits FAQ for professionals on page six to learn more. Visit the Ministry’s website for more information and to read the Frequently Asked Questions.
As always, pharmacists who are dispensing naloxone should be familiar with the College’s updated guidance on dispensing or selling naloxone.
UPDATES FROM HEALTH CANADA
REGULATORY AMENDMENTS FOR PRESCRIBING AND DISPENSING METHADONE
Pharmacists will no longer need to verify if a practitioner holds a valid exemption to prescribe methadone.
Pharmacists are reminded that the College has a Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) and Dispensing Policy. All other parts of the policy still apply.
MANDATORY WARNING STICKER AND HANDOUT TO ACCOMPANY ALL DISPENSED OPIOIDS
Pharmacy professionals should ensure that patients start receiving the sticker and handout as of October 2018.
NEW GUIDANCE DOCUMENTS REGARDING MANAGEMENT OF POST-CONSUMER RETURNS AND UNSERVICEABLE STOCK
- Guidance Document for Pharmacists and Dealers Licensed to Destroy Narcotics, Controlled Drugs or Targeted Substances: Handling and Destruction of Post-consumer Returns Containing Narcotics, Controlled Drugs or Targeted Substances and
- Guidance Document for Pharmacists, Practitioners and Persons in Charge of Hospitals: Handling and Destruction of Unserviceable Stock Containing Narcotics, Controlled Drugs or Targeted Substances.
These guidance documents reflect the Section 56(1) Class Exemption for Pharmacists, Practitioners, Persons in Charge of a Hospital and Licensed Dealers for the Provision and Destruction of Unserviceable Stock and Post-consumer Returns. The College’s Destruction of Narcotics, Controlled Drugs and Targeted Substances Factsheet has been updated to reflect these changes. Pharmacy professionals, designated managers and hospital pharmacy managers should review these materials.