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Canadian pharmacists get high marks

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Just as in the U.S., pharmacists are held in high regard in Canada, where consumers are increasingly seeing them as a broader health care provider.

The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPA) reports that 94% of Canadians have a positive view of pharmacists — more than doctors, teachers, military officers and police officers, according to an online poll of 4,173 Canadian adults conducted by Abacus Data for CPA in recognition of Pharmacist Awareness Month.

SDM pharmacist with senior patient_featuredWith provinces expanding pharmacists’ scope of practice, more than four in five Canadians (82%) agree that enabling pharmacists to provide more health services will improve outcomes and rein in medical costs, the survey found.

And most Canadians see the pharmacy as a place for health-related services beyond filling a prescription. Nine in 10 respondents said they’re likely to visit a pharmacist for advice on medicines they’re taking, and 80% would do so for management of common ailments like the flu or a cold.  Seventy percent of those polled indicated that they would go to a pharmacist to get a flu shot, and 63% would do so for other vaccinations.

Also, 53% would seek pharmacists’ guidance on healthy lifestyle changes like smoking cessation and weight loss, while 49% would consult a pharmacist for help in managing chronic health conditions.

“While pharmacists continue to have one of the strongest professional reputations in Canada, we are seeing an increasing level of awareness and trust surrounding the expanded services we are now delivering,” according Alistair Bursey, chairman of the Canadian Pharmacists Association.

Indeed, most respondents are aware that Canadian pharmacists can administer flu shots (89%), provide emergency prescription refills (75%), renew and extend prescriptions (67%), conduct a sit-down medication review (64%), prescribe medications for some minor aliments (63%), administer vaccines besides flu shots (62%) and provide counseling on smoking cessation (53%).

The survey also revealed that the vast majority of Canadians trust pharmacists’ advice on medication (96%), common ailments (94%), healthy lifestyle changes (91%) and vaccinations (88%). CPA noted that these trust levels have continued to rise since surveying began in 2015.

“This is a testament to the professional, high-quality care pharmacists continue to provide across the country,” Bursey stated.

In December, 67% of more than 1,000 U.S. adults polled for the Gallup Honesty and Integrity survey rated pharmacists “very high/high” in honesty and ethics. Pharmacists finished No. 2 for the second straight year and in the top three for the 14th straight year in Gallup‘s annual survey, which measures the public’s trust in professions across industries.


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