Canadian Medical Association calls expanded pharmacist functions beneficial

August 27, 2013

Pharmacists in Canada were recently given broader responsibilities including, in certain provinces, prescribing privileges, vaccination abilities, and the ability to order and interpret laboratory tests. This newly expanded role for Canadian pharmacists can benefit both patients and physicians, according to an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Pharmacists in Canada were recently given broader responsibilities including, in certain provinces, prescribing privileges, vaccination abilities, and the ability to order and interpret laboratory tests. This newly expanded role for Canadian pharmacists can benefit both patients and physicians, according to an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The article was written by Cara Tannenbaum, MD, associate professor of medicine and pharmacy at the University of Montreal, and Ross Tsuyuki, PharmD, professor of medicine at the University of Alberta, and appeared in the August 19, 2013 issue.

The authors said expanded functions for pharmacists can be especially helpful to physicians managing patients taking 5 or more drugs, “Because more than 10% of visits to emergency departments are for drug-related problems, collaboration can help reduce the number of drug-drug interactions and avoid visits to the emergency department,” Drs Tannenbaum and Tsuyuki wrote. 

“The expanding scope of pharmacists’ practice offers many opportunities to improve patient care. Once established, collaborative care with pharmacists will likely yield tremendous benefits to both patients and physicians,” the authors wrote.

According to standard collaborative care models, physicians should be aware that every member of the team is accountable for the care he or she provides, and is not to be held directly liable for the acts of others, the authors wrote.

In addition, the new collaborative care model is an ongoing process that “must be evaluated as regulated activities change, new pharmacists enter practice, and scopes of activities continue to expand,” they wrote.