CPhA Assisted Dying Policy Calls for Balance of Protection of Conscience and Access

OTTAWA, Feb. 25, 2016 /CNW/ - The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) today called on governments to ensure that any legislative and regulatory framework for assisted dying in Canada balances the freedom of conscience for pharmacists and a patient's right to access.

These are two of the nine principle-based policy recommendations released today by CPhA to guide federal legislation for the implementation of assisted dying. CPhA's framework also addresses another key area of concern—ensuring access to the most appropriate drugs in order to deliver the best possible end of life care.

"Regardless of the legislative framework that is developed, there will be a role to play for pharmacists, " said Carlo Berardi, Chair, Canadian Pharmacists Association. "However, CPhA is mindful that freedom of conscience for pharmacists must be respected. Pharmacists should not be obligated to participate in assisted dying."

CPhA is also calling for the creation of an independent information body with the capacity to refer to a participating health care professional, including pharmacists.

"While assisted dying is a new and evolving practice, the pharmacy profession has the necessary expertise in drug therapy, patient counseling on medications, and drug dispensing to play an integral role in providing quality end-of-life care," added Berardi. "However, as no drugs are currently approved for ending a person's life, Health Canada will need to ensure that prescribers and pharmacists have access to the most appropriate drugs for use in assisted dying."

CPhA conducted a comprehensive survey of pharmacists across Canada to better understand the pharmacy community's views. An Expert Working Group was established with a cross-sector representation of pharmacists with a range of expertise including academic, regulatory, palliative, hospital, and community practice. Through a collaborative process, informed by emerging international best practices and the results of the survey, the Working Group developed the nine guiding principles which inform CPhA's recommendations.

About the Canadian Pharmacists Association

The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is the uniting national voice of pharmacy and the pharmacist profession in Canada. As pharmacists undertake an enhanced role in the delivery of health care services, CPhA ensures that the profession is recognized as a national leader in health care, influencing the policies, programs, budgets and initiatives affecting the profession and the health of Canadians. More information is available at www.pharmacists.ca.


SOURCE Canadian Pharmacists Association

Image with caption: "Logo: Canadian Pharmacists Association (CNW Group/Canadian Pharmacists Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160225_C6742_PHOTO_EN_629302.jpg

For further information: Mark McCondach, Director of Communications, Canadian Pharmacists Association, mmccondach@pharmacists.ca, (613) 523-7877 Ext. 285


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