Opioid Crisis: Pharmacists Can Do More to Help Patients

Thursday, May 3, 2018 Drug News
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MONTREAL, May 2, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - Federal health minister, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas-Taylor, has just announced

regulation making warning stickers and handouts mandatory with all opioids dispensed to patients. The Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec seriously questions the effects of such a measure. If the health minister wishes to have a real impact on patients,
she should let pharmacists do more to help them.

In its impact study, Health Canada states its intent to strengthen monitoring of prescription opioids and better inform Canadian patients on how to use them safely. These objectives are clearly in line with patient needs. Patients who use opioids need support and follow-up on their drug therapy that is adapted to their needs.

However, we believe the means the minister has chosen to meet these objectives are ill suited to the actual situation. At the moment pharmacists are not authorized to adjust—in other words, change the dosage—of opioids on their own initiative. This means that a pharmacist who wants to reduce the dose of a drug to ensure safer use is not able to do so. For this, a pharmacist must be a federally authorized practitioner, which is not currently the case.

Health Canada has demonstrated its desire to act to resolve the opioid crisis. By making full use of pharmacists' competencies and allowing them to use their judgment rather than requiring them to treat each patient using a cookie-cutter approach, the government would be helping to reduce the harm associated with this public health crisis.

The Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec

The mission of the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec is to protect the public by encouraging quality pharmaceutical care and services and promoting the appropriate use of drugs in our society. It has a membership of 9,000 pharmacists. Over 6,700 of them practise as employees or owners of nearly 1,900 private pharmacies, and more than 1,600 practise in public health institutions in Québec. Over 800 pharmacists work as teachers or with public agencies, associations, and community organizations.

 

SOURCE Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec



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