New report shows significantly more Canadians could be vaccinated for
flu if pharmacists in all provinces could immunize
TORONTO, Dec. 12, 2013 /CNW/ - It's simple, immunizations save lives.
Diseases like polio, mumps and measles have virtually been eradicated
in the developed world thanks to immunization, yet Canadians in all
provinces and territories still do not get equal access to this type of
A new report, The Sustainable Solutions Report: A Focus on Immunizations, released today shows pharmacists have the ability to significantly
increase vaccination rates in Canada and save the health care system
valuable dollars by reducing the number of hospitalizations due to
complications from the flu. The report was developed by Shoppers Drug
Mart and is endorsed by the Pharmacists' Association of Newfoundland
and Labrador, the New Brunswick Pharmacists' Association and the Prince
Edward Island Pharmacists Association.
The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) supports the Report's
recommendations. "We know when pharmacists offer immunization services
more people get vaccinated," said Perry Eisenschmid, CPhA's Chief
Executive Officer. "It's already happening with great success in many
provinces; however,to really make an impact, pharmacists in all
provinces should be granted the authority to administer
common vaccinations like influenza and tetanus, but we need provincial
governments' help to make it happen."
Allowing pharmacists to vaccinate, in addition to physicians and public
health, will increase system capacity and immunization rates. According
to a report issued by the broader pharmacy community called 9,000 Points of Care: Improving Access to Improving Access to Affordable
Healthcare, it is estimated that if pharmacists administered common vaccinations
including flu shots, immunization rates for vaccinations like flu shots
would increase by 1 to 3 per cent in Canada.i This could help to reduce the 75,000 hospital admissions attributed to
the flu each year.
Already this flu season in Ontario alone, 446,000 people have received
flu vaccinations from pharmacists. These types of activities can
result in a 52 per cent reduction in health care service costs, helping
to avoid hospitalizations for the flu. The average cost for an
influenza-related hospital stay of 6 days is more than $6,400 and it
costs $220 for an emergency room visit. ii
"Pharmacists are trusted health care professionals that are easy to
access making them a much more convenient choice for many Canadians,"
said Domenic Pilla, President and CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart. "Canadians
in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland
and Labrador, Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories deserve
access to this same type of preventative care as those in the rest of
Physicians and Canadians agree. A recent study by the Canadian
Pharmacists Association found 48 per cent of Canadians said they would
likely choose to get their flu shot at a pharmacy if the service was
available in their province; a further 45 per cent said the same of
vaccinations overall. A recent survey of physicians showed 61per cent
felt pharmacists in all provinces should be given the authority to
vaccinate for flu.iii Convenience was cited by both groups as the biggest benefit to seeing
a pharmacist for vaccinations.
Currently, only pharmacists in British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia
and New Brunswick have the ability to administer a broad range of
injections like influenza, human papillomavirus, hepatitis A or B,
tetanus, pneumococcal and diphtheria, while pharmacists in Ontario can
vaccinate for flu only.
Expanding pharmacists' scope of practice, according to the Sustainable Solutions Report, has other benefits too, including reducing physician workload and wait
times. The average family physician wait time is 1.35 days for urgent
care and over 3 weeks for non-urgent care.iv Pharmacists can play a key role in relieving pressure on family
physicians, helping to free up time for patients with more complex care
There is also a benefit to workplace productivity. The average flu
season causes an estimated loss of 1.5 million working days in Canada,
resulting in healthcare costs and lost productivity equaling $1
billion.v By ensuring more people remain healthy, pharmacists can help ease the
burden if illness on corporate Canada too.
For the detailed recommendations included in the Sustainable Solutions Report: A Focus on Immunizations visit http://corporate.shoppersdrugmart.ca/en-ca/press-centre/sustainable-solutions-report.
About Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation
Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation is one of the most recognized and trusted names in Canadian retailing.
The Company is the licensor of full-service retail drug stores
operating under the name Shoppers Drug Mart (Pharmaprix in Québec). With more than 1,244 Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix
stores operating in prime locations in each province and two
territories, the Company is one of the most convenient retailers in
Canada. The Company also licenses or owns 57 medical clinic pharmacies
operating under the name Shoppers Simply Pharmacy (Pharmaprix
Simplement Santé in Québec) and six luxury beauty destinations
operating as Murale. As well, the Company owns and operates 62
Shoppers Home Health Care stores, making it the largest Canadian
retailer of home health care products and services. In addition to its
retail store network, the Company owns Shoppers Drug Mart Specialty
Health Network Inc., a provider of specialty drug distribution,
pharmacy and comprehensive patient support services; and MediSystem
Technologies Inc., a provider of pharmaceutical products and services
to long-term care facilities.
i 9000 Points of Care: Improving Access to Affordable Healthcare, April 2013, pg. 12. Available online at: http://9000pointsofcare.ca/ wp-content/uploads/The-Plan.pdf.
ii Sander , Kwong JC, Bauch CT, et al. Economic Appraisal of Ontario's
Universal Influenza Immunization Program: A Cost Utility AnalysisPLoS
Med. 2010; 7:e1000256.
iii Environics Research Group, Physician Research on Expanded Scope of Practice, May 2013.
iv 9000 Points of Care: Improving Access to Affordable Healthcare, April 2013, pg. 11. Available online at: http://9000pointsofcare.ca/ wp-content/uploads/The-Plan.pdf.
v Canadian Healthcare Influenza Immunization Network. Influenza Fact Sheet. www.chiin.ca (accessed Dec 3, 2013 at http://www.benefitscanada.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/influenzaatwork-2012-e1.pdf)
Image with caption: "Why It Makes Dollars and "Sense" for Pharmacists to Administer Flu Vaccines (CNW Group/Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131212_C4124_PHOTO_EN_34921.jpg
SOURCE: Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation
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