Pharmacists should follow Canada and be able to change prescriptions


In response to the following article:


“Pharmacists should be allowed to make prescription changes”


Dear PIP editor,


Given a predetermined set of parameters, there are no more risks than there are with pharmacists filling a doctors prescription. After all, we do know a lot more about medication than physicians do, just as they know a lot more about diagnosing conditions than we know. These are two very distinct and separate professions that can work synergistically when working collaboratively.


The benefits are almost unlimited.


Easier access to medications, particularly for refills, dramatically decreased costs for unnecessary physician visits that allow physicians to spend more time with patients rather than having to see ‘x’ amount of people in a day just to pay the bills. That said I do not know how physician remuneration works in the UK. I know in Canada and the USA, most physicians are on a fee for service and essentially need to see 40-50+ patients a day to pay the bills.


I truly suggest that the UK look at the Pharmacist Prescriptive Authority in the different provinces in Canada. We can renew, change, adapt, alter dosage form, and substitute medications as well as prescribe for minor ailments such as cold sores, fungal infections, erectile dysfunction, conjunctivitis, atopic dermatitis, bug bites, Gastro-esophageal reflux disease, and many many other conditions. Of course, if we see something that requires a physician consult, we immediately refer. This ability helps the system in many ways, but it is particularly beneficial to patients.


There could be a number of reasons why these changes have not happened in the UK so far. At first, about 15-20 years ago, there was an issue with physician ‘territory protection’. Then, as newer, more progressive physicians saw the benefit in having pharmacists work with them, the only obstacle was the will of the stakeholders.


I’m not saying it’s perfect here now because many of the products we can ‘prescribe’ are forced on us and for the most part. In many cases, I would prefer to use a different product than one that is on the list of products that we are permitted to prescribe for certain conditions.


That being said, it’s been quite a journey to get this far and it is continually evolving and expanding the scope of practice for pharmacists within the health care system with pharmacists being recognised as a very important piece to healthcare teams.


Yours etc.


Glenn Murray


Community pharmacist from Canada.


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