The legislation was passed in 2011 and originally slated to go into effect in September 2013, but negotiations over pharmacist compensation for the additional services delayed the law’s implementation until this summer.
With the measure, pharmacists in Quebec can now perform seven new services:
• Extend a doctor’s prescription.
• Prescribe medication when a diagnosis is not required to prevent certain health problems, including such areas as travel health, pregnancy, women’s health, smoking cessation and public health.
• Prescribe medication for certain conditions in which a patient has already received a prescription from a doctor.
• Substitute a medication in case of a supplier inventory shortage.
• Administer medication to a patient to demonstrate the drug’s administration method.
• Adjust the form, dosage, quantity or dose of a prescription according to a patient’s condition.
• Prescribe certain laboratory tests related to a patient’s medication.
For patients, Coutu has set up a dedicated section on its website that explains the new services that pharmacists can perform as well as how these will be completed during a visit to the pharmacy. The site notes that pharmacists are required to have completed training before performing these new activities.
Also offered through the site are online forms to help patients prepare for consultations with a pharmacist about health issues and prescription extensions.
The site, too, informs patients about the range of services that pharmacists already perform beyond their traditional role of dispensing prescriptions, such as medication reviews; advice on health conditions and treatments; guidance on over-the-counter medicines; and communication with other health professionals such as doctors, nurses and dentists to coordinate a patient’s care.
“Your pharmacist is a health care professional qualified to help you in many health-related situations in general, and more specifically related to your medication. Do not hesitate to consult him if you have questions or concerns. He will surely be able to help or direct you to the appropriate resource,” Coutu states on the site outlining the new pharmacist professional services.
In addition, Coutu has developed a training session — certified by the Ordre des pharmaciens du Quebec — and made it available on the website for all Coutu pharmacy network laboratory staff.
The company said its exclusive RxPro pharmacy support software has been upgraded to incorporate the new disciplines in order to streamline in-store operations.
“We look forward to our new responsibilities in making patients’ lives easier. We have directed our efforts to help them understand the new services,” commented Richard Mayrand, executive vice president of pharmacy and government affairs at Coutu. “We also have developed the tools required to coach pharmacists in the integration of these new disciplines as part of their existing services.”
Jean Coutu Group’s retail network encompasses 416 franchised stores in Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario under the banners PJC Jean Coutu, PJC Clinique, PJC Santé and PJC Santé Beauté