Ontario Pharmacists Can Now Prescribe For Minor Ailments

As of January 1, 2023, pharmacists in Ontario will be allowed to prescribe medication treatments for 13 common conditions. This move from the Ministry Of Health helps alleviate the pressure and demand on the health care system, including emergency departments and hospitals, family physicians and walk-in clinics. Health care providers, such as doctors and nurses, can then focus on more critical and complex cases. Additionally, this change in health care access will hopefully mean less wait times in waiting rooms for patients, including seniors, while also supporting and increasing community-level social capital.

This change came about with the support of the Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA) — the professional association representing all pharmacists in Ontario. They have taken a national leadership role on advocacy, working with government and other stakeholders to protect the public’s health, advance safe patient care, shape positive public policy and become a leader in health-system reform. “Empowering pharmacists to use their expertise to assess and treat minor ailments helps patients get the care they need sooner and closer to home – but the benefits go much further,” says Justin Bates, CEO, Ontario Pharmacists Association.

What Can A Pharmacist in Ontario Prescribe? 13 Common Conditions

Ontario pharmacists will be allowed to assess and prescribe medication, as needed, for minor ailments such as:

  • hay fever (allergic rhinitis);
  • oral thrush (candidal stomatitis);
  • pink eye (conjunctivitis; bacterial, allergic and viral);
  • dermatitis (atopic, eczema, allergic and contact);
  • menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea);
  • acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD));
  • hemorrhoids;
  • cold sores (herpes labialis);
  • impetigo;
  • insect bites and hives;
  • tick bites (post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent Lyme disease);
  • sprains and strains (musculoskeletal); and
  • urinary tract infections (UTIs).

How To Get A Prescription At Local Pharmacies

Patients can simply call their local pharmacy to make an appointment or go to their nearest pharmacy during regular hours and speak to their pharmacists.

Patients must present a valid Ontario health card to access this publicly funded service provided by the Government of Ontario.

The pharmacist will assess patients and determine whether a prescription is required. The pharmacist can then prescribe medications to the patient.

Here are some local pharmacies that offer this service:

Cost Is Free With A Valid Ontario Health Card

The Ontario Ministry Of Health has expanded the scope of pharmacists’ roles noting the service will be free with a health card. Patients are not required to pay a fee.

Are Pharmacists Qualified To Prescribe Medications For Minor Ailments?

Pharmacists are trained clinical professionals who can safely treat many common ailments. It is the Ontario College of Pharmacists’ expectation that all pharmacists registered in Ontario maintain their competently to meet its standards of practice. Mandatory orientation module is required for all Ontario pharmacists are to be trained to understand their ethical, legal and professional obligations before prescribing for minor ailments.

Pharmacists are also expected to stay current with their clinical knowledge through continuing education opportunities, as needed.

For more information on this program, please visit the Ontario’s Ministry of Health, Ontario College of Pharmacists, Ontario Pharmacist Association, and Canadian Pharmacists Association.


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