Alberta College of Pharmacists implements additional prescribing authorization process

    EDMONTON, Feb. 26 /CNW/ - The Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) has
approved the evaluation process for pharmacists applying for additional
prescribing authorization. Pharmacists with additional prescribing
authorization may prescribe any drug (other than narcotics or controlled
substances) within the limitations of their personal competence, for any
duration they deem appropriate. The Alberta College of Pharmacists rallied for
this expanded scope of pharmacist practice, knowing the healthcare system must
mobilize all its resources for the maximum benefit of patients.
    Alberta is the first province in Canada to offer such pharmacist
privileges. It recognizes the important role pharmacists play in patient care.
It also recognizes the trust Albertans and the government have in pharmacists.
    ACP piloted the authorization process during the fall of 2007 to
establish the validity and reliability of the application and assessment
practices. ACP is pleased to report that all aspects of the pilot were found
to have the required rigor and reliability. The 15 candidates who successfully
completed the pilot have been granted additional prescribing authorization.
    The college is now making minor refinements to the application guide,
based on suggestions from the assessors and pilot participants. ACP expects to
open the process for applications in late March.

    Understanding pharmacist prescribing

    Legislation authorizing Alberta pharmacists to prescribe came into effect
in April 2007. All pharmacists who have completed an orientation to the new
legislation may prescribe in two ways: by adapting a prescription (e.g.,
change the dose or form of your medication or provide a refill) and
prescribing in an emergency. To date, over 3,400 pharmacists in Alberta (92%)
have met the requirements to perform these two types of prescribing.
    Additional prescribing authority is required by pharmacists who are more
extensively involved in managing a patient's drug therapy, when it may be
necessary to change or initiate complementary or alternative treatments. After
a doctor or other authorized health professional has diagnosed the condition,
a pharmacist with additional prescribing authorization can select the drug
that best suits the patient's needs, monitor the effect of the drug, provide
new prescriptions to ensure the most effective therapy, and help the patient
achieve his or her health goals.
    The 15 pharmacists who just received additional prescribing authorization
are using this new tool in areas such as women's health, anticoagulation
management, HIV care, and diabetes control.

    Is pharmacist prescribing safe?

    Yes. Patient health and safety always comes first for pharmacists.
Pharmacists are health care professionals with more training about drugs and
their effects on the body than any other health care provider. Every
pharmacist must practice under the standards and legislation for their
profession and adhere to a professional Code of Ethics. To obtain additional
prescribing authorization, pharmacists must also meet all the criteria of a
stringent application process and multi-level assessment. Moreover, safe,
effective and responsible pharmacist practice is upheld by the Alberta College
of Pharmacists.

    Do you still have to see your doctor?

    Yes. Prescribing by pharmacists complements care provided by other health
professionals. Working with other health providers is a critical component to
pharmacist prescribing and results in the best medication management. Patients
can experience better outcomes and the healthcare system is strengthened by
pharmacists and other health professionals working together.
    Please note that not all pharmacists will choose to prescribe; it may not
be practical in some environments. Talk to your pharmacist and find out how
they can help you reach your health goals.

    The Alberta College of Pharmacists is the governing and regulatory body
for the pharmacy profession, and is responsible for safe, effective,
responsible pharmacist practice. It registers all pharmacists who practise in
Alberta and licenses all pharmacies in the province.

For further information:

For further information: on pharmacist prescribing or pharmacist
practice in Alberta, contact: Greg Eberhart, Registrar (780) 990-0321; Karen
Mills, Communications Leader (780) 990-0321; Alberta College of Pharmacists,
1200 - 10303 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, AB, T5J 3N6

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