More conditions in pharmacists’ scope

By Mike Stimpson
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Thunder Bay Source

Ontarians will get quicker access to care for canker sores, yeast infections and four other conditions now that the province has expanded the list of ailments for which pharmacists can prescribe.

Health Minister Sylvia Jones announced Sunday that six common ailments have been added to the list of conditions pharmacists can diagnose and treat, growing the list from 13 to 19.

Besides canker sores and yeast infections, new conditions on the list include acne, nausea and vomiting related to pregnancy, diaper rash and parasitic worms such as pinworms.

“It’s for the benefit of the patient,” Alex Shafik, a pharmacist at the IDA pharmacy in Dryden, said Monday.

“Sometimes you can’t get an appointment,” he added. “Instead of going to emergency and waiting for hours, a person can get some medication to relieve his situation or his condition. So this is good news for the patient, for sure.”

Benefits to the health-care system will likely include shorter wait times at walk-in clinics and less strain on emergency departments, he said.

Shafik said he expects more conditions will be added to the list in a few months.

“We’re pretty happy to be able to provide some more access to easy care for patients,” said Thunder Bay pharmacist Anna Kapoor, adding that prescribing has “become a big part of our practice. Every day we’re definitely helping at least a few people.”

The six ailments added to the list this week join 13 for which pharmacists have had prescribing power since Jan. 1:

  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Candidal stomatitis (oral thrush)
  • Conjunctivitis (pinkeye)
  • Dermatitis
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Cold sores
  • Impetigo
  • Insect bites and hives
  • Tick bites, prevention of Lyme disease
  • Musculoskeletal sprains and strains
  • Urinary tract infections