Neighbourhood Pharmacies Urges Policy Makers to Bring Medical Cannabis into the Circle of Care

TORONTO, April 13, 2017 /CNW/ - Today, the Government of Canada introduced legislation to legalize the use and possession of cannabis in Canada. The Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada (Neighbourhood Pharmacies) supports the federal government's efforts and urges federal and provincial policy makers not to lose sight of the vital role that Canada's 10,000 pharmacies can play in the safe and secure distribution and dispensing of medical cannabis.   

Medicinal cannabis has become broadly recognized as a pharmaceutical grade product that is capable of providing relief for conditions where existing therapies have been shown to have limited clinical success.  But Canada is virtually the only country in the world that allows the production, distribution and consumption of medical cannabis, but forbids its access in pharmacies.  Furthermore, most Canadians are unaware that persons receiving medical cannabis do not consistently receive a therapeutically appropriate degree of counselling or advice at the time of dispensing.

Recent media reports have indicated that it is the goal of the federal government to have recreational cannabis legalized by July 1, 2018.  However, it is important to understand that the already legal access to cannabis for medical purposes is a separate and more important issue for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who rely on cannabis, prescribed by a Doctor, for a variety of medical conditions.  Canada's pharmacies are best positioned, given their expertise, training and infrastructure, to ensure that medical cannabis takes its place among other treatments in patient-centric healthcare. 

Key Facts:

  • 400,000 Canadians rely on medical cannabis, prescribed by Doctors for a variety of medical conditions
  • 73% of respondents in a 2016 Abacus Data survey agreed that cannabis should be treated like other medications and be made available through a pharmacy
  • Pharmacies ranked highest in a 2017 Environics survey that asked Canadians whom they would trust most to distribute cannabis, either medical or recreational


"Canada's 10,000 pharmacies are the right channel for the distribution and dispensing of medical cannabis. Their accessibility, their ability to provide guidance and information on the sometimes dangerous interactions between other medications, herbal remedies and cannabis, and their capacity to leverage an existing distribution network and prevent theft and diversion makes them well suited to be part of a safe, secure framework around cannabis."

Justin J. Bates,
CEO, Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada

About the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada:

The Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada (Neighbourhood Pharmacies) is the respected voice and advocate for the business of pharmacy.  We represent the owners and operators of the country's leading brands, serving Canadians through chain, banner and franchised neighbourhood pharmacies, as well as grocers and mass merchandisers with pharmacies.  We also represent the leading retail and banner buying groups serving independent pharmacies.  Pharmacy suppliers - including pharmaceutical manufacturers, technology companies, data specialists, marketing companies and consultants - also participate in the organization as associates.


SOURCE Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada

For further information: Anthony J. Silva, COO/SVP, Stakeholder Relations,, 416-226-9100 ext. 4005


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