Pharmacists in Ontario are being given the power to prescribe new over-the-counter medications.
The Doug Ford government made the announcement on Thursday in its 2023 budget, saying the original push to have pharmacists prescribe some medications has been “hugely popular.”
Starting in the fall, the expanded prescribing power will include medications that treat moderate acne, canker sores, diaper dermatitis, yeast infections, pinworms and theadworms, and nausea and vomiting related to pregnancy.
Pharmacists have been able to prescribe Paxlovid, an oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19, since December 2022. The rate of dispensing Paxlovid had increased by more than 130 per cent since pharmacists were permitted to prescribe the medication, the government said.
Prior to that date, Ontarians needed a prescription from a doctor or clinical assessment centre in order to access the treatment.
This responsibilities were further expanded in January 2023 after the Progressive Conservatives gave pharmacists the ability to fill prescriptions for 13 of “the most common ailments.”
This included hay fever, oral thrush, dermatitis, pink eye, menstrual cramps, acid reflux, hemorrhoids, cold sores, impetigo, insect bites and hives, tick bites, sprains and strains, and UTIs.
At the time, the minister of health said the move would provide Ontarians with more convenience and “free-up doctors” to provide for more complex needs.