Nfld. & Labrador

Pharmacists can't refill all prescriptions without doctor's approval

The Pharmacists' Association of Newfoundland and Labrador is reminding the public that they can't simply extend all prescriptions.

Also not able to extend prescriptions for narcotic or controlled drugs

Some prescriptions can't be refilled, according to the Pharmacists' Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. (Elise Amendola/The Associated Press)

The Pharmacists' Association of Newfoundland and Labrador is reminding the public that some prescriptions simply cannot be extended or refilled without approval from a doctor.

On Wednesday, Health Minister John Haggie announced pharmacists will have the ability to refill or renew prescriptions, under their regulations, in order to alleviate some of the pressure being faced by doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a news release issued Thursday, the association said patients seeking prescription extensions must call ahead and check that the medication can be extended by the pharmacist.

"There are important clinical reasons why pharmacists can't always extend a prescription. Prescriptions that were only meant for one-time use — such as antibiotics and short-term pain medications — and medications that require lab monitoring are not eligible for extension by pharmacists," said Janice Audeau, community pharmacist and association president, in the statement.

Moreover, some medications no longer deemed appropriate for patients to take, based on new or changing medical conditions, would require followup appointments, according to Audeau.

She said those prescriptions cannot be restarted without a followup with a primary physician or nurse practitioner.

"It is also important to note that at this time, pharmacists are not able to extend prescriptions for narcotic or controlled drugs," said Audeau.

The association said early refills or extensions are not always required for patients, and they can put additional stress on medicine supplies and contribute to drug shortages.

"There is no need for stockpiling or hoarding of medications," the group said.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

now