British Columbia

B.C. patients can get medication refills without an updated prescription

Pharmacists in British Columbia are now able to provide medication refills to patients without an updated prescription from a doctor or nurse practitioner.

No need to stockpile medications, urge health officials

Pharmacists can now offer refills or emergency supplies of previously prescribed medications. (U.S. Department of Defense)

Pharmacists in British Columbia are now able to provide medication refills to patients without an updated prescription from a doctor or nurse practitioner.

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the change earlier this week in an effort to avoid non-essential visits to physicians, freeing them up to focus on halting the spread of COVID-19.

The College of Pharmacists of B.C. says its members can offer refills or emergency supplies of medications, including controlled drugs such as opioids.

A statement from the college says this will help patients avoid crowded medical offices, allowing safe social distancing, and will also free up medical professionals to treat more urgent cases.

No need to stockpile

The college advises patients with compromised immune systems or those at an increased risk of the more severe effects of COVID-19 to refill prescriptions now, rather than visit a clinic if they do become ill.

But the statement says there is no need to stockpile medications, because that practice could harm the drug supply while putting others at risk.

"The situation regarding COVID-19 continues to evolve here in B.C., Canada and other jurisdictions around the world,'' the statement says.

The college says it is working closely with the Ministry of Health and other partners "to support the response to this new illness as part of B.C.'s health system.''

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca.  

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