Pharmacists approved to administer medications by injection
Pharmacists in Newfoundland and Labrador will now be allowed to administer medications by injection and inhalation, including flu vaccines.
The expanded role of pharmacists was announced Wednesday by Health and Community Services Minister Steve Kent.
Kent also announced that clients of the Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program (NLPDP) can now access flu shots from their pharmacists free-of-charge. That's in addition to physician offices and public health clinics.
We are very pleased with the government's commitment to leverage the skills, training and knowledge of pharmacists throughout the province.- Stephen Reid
"Through this expanded scope of practice, pharmacists will be able to further utilize their skills and deliver important health services," Kent stated.
Giving injections is part of a pharmacist's training, but until now, the health system in this province wouldn't allow it.
All other Canadian provinces, with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec, already permit the practice.
Pharmacists have been lobbying for the expanded role, saying that allowing them to administer flu shots can help stop the spread of the disease.
The announcement was welcomed by the Pharmacists’ Association of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We are very pleased with the government's commitment to leverage the skills, training and knowledge of pharmacists throughout the province," said executive director Stephen Reid.
Pharmacists will be required to receive training and follow standards developed by the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board, according to a news release.
These standards are intended to ensure pharmacists are properly trained and have the appropriate administrative infrastructure in place.
"These new regulations will help to provide increased access to safe health care services," explained Margot Priddle, registrar of the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board.
Two years ago, Ontario became the first Canadian province to allow pharmacists to give the flu shot.
It was hailed as a success because people liked the convenience, and the vaccination rate went up.
Pharmacists interested in providing injections, including flu vaccinations, will be required to successfully complete a comprehensive training program before receiving authorization from the board to administer injections.
Kent said pharmacists play a valuable role in the delivery of primary health care services.
He said these latest changes will ensure "greater access for everyone in the province and clients of the NLPDP will benefit from expanded opportunities to receive vaccines."
Pharmacists will also be permitted to provide vaccinations to the general public for a fee determined by the pharmacy.
Further details on the availability of the influenza vaccine or other vaccines will be made available by pharmacies, the news release explained.
"Pharmacists are easily accessible and happy to play a much larger role in the provision of quality health care in the province," added Stephen Reid.
Kent said the provincial government is committed to working with pharmacists to expand their scope of practice.