Pharmacists Offer More: The Ontario Pharmacists Association Launches Online Resource for Pharmacist Awareness Month

New resource highlights how pharmacists can be a key partner in your health – beyond dispensing pills

TORONTO, March 3, 2015 /CNW/ - March is Pharmacist Awareness Month, and the Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA) is calling on all Ontarians to get to know their local pharmacist and learn how they can become their partner in health.

The recently launched website PharmacistsOfferMore.ca highlights the many ways that pharmacists can help patients stay healthy, including many that Ontarians may not be aware of. In addition to using the website as a tool for information on services available, Ontarians are invited to participate in Pharmacist Awareness Month by joining the #PharmacistsKnow conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

"Pharmacists, whether in a community pharmacy, long-term care or hospital setting, or part of a family health team, are important members of your healthcare team," says Deb Saltmarche, Chair of the Board at OPA. "Together with patients, caregivers, and other healthcare providers, we can work towards the best possible health outcomes."

In fact, approximately 85 per cent of Ontarians live within a two kilometer distance of a community pharmacy, making pharmacists the most accessible healthcare providers, with many pharmacies open 24 hours a day.

Get to Know Your Pharmacist
Pharmacists are often associated with only one thing: dispensing medication. But pharmacists can offer so much more.

As highly trained medication experts and partners in healthcare, pharmacists offer many services to help Ontarians keep their health in check. They review dosage levels, watch for drug interactions, help manage chronic diseases, and adapt and renew medications (as appropriate). This helps patients stay on track with their medications and receive maximum benefit from their prescriptions.

And that's not all. Pharmacists also:

  • Administer flu shots.
  • Provide smoking cessation counselling and prescribe medications to support patients who want to quit smoking (when appropriate).
  • Provide MedsCheck medication reviews, at no charge for eligible patients.
  • Adapt and renew prescriptions (when appropriate).
  • Help patients meet their health and wellness goals by providing information and support.

Partners in Care – Today and Tomorrow
"Enabling pharmacists to practice to their fullest potential provides the opportunity to improve the patient experience, reduce healthcare costs and ultimately improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the province's healthcare system," says Saltmarche.

Here are some of the areas pharmacists can expand their role in the future:

  • Introduction of a pharmacy-based, common or minor ailments program, treating non-critical medical issues such as pink eye, skin rash, etc.
  • Expanding immunization programs to include routine injections such as the HPV vaccine, pertussis, and travel vaccines.
  • Expanding access to, and coverage for the pharmacy-based smoking cessation program to every Ontario smoker who wants to quit.

Want to Learn More?
On March 12, visit OPA's pharmacy installation at the Toronto Eaton Centre (bottom level) and find out more about how pharmacists can help manage your health care. The Ontario Pharmacists Association is also inviting Ontarians to ask questions by joining the #AskOPA Twitter Day conversation on March 19, and by following @OntPharmacists.

About The Ontario Pharmacists Association
The Ontario Pharmacists Association is committed to evolving the pharmacy profession, and advocating for excellence in practice and patient care. As Canada's largest advocacy organization, and continuing education and drug information provider for pharmacists, the Association represents pharmacy professionals across Ontario. By leveraging the unique expertise of pharmacy professionals, enabling them to practice to their fullest potential, and making them more accessible to patients, OPA is working to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system.

SOURCE Ontario Pharmacists Association

For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact: Lindsay George, Manager, Communications and Membership, Ontario Pharmacists Association, 416-441-0788 x 4236, lgeorge@opatoday.com; Lisa Cancian, GCI Group, lisa.cancian@gcicanada.com, 416-486-5906


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