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B.C. pharmacists can refill regular medications, issue 30-day emergency supplies

Citynews 1130 Vancouver
FILE - The change for pharmacists in B.C. is for refills only - including agonist therapies for people treating addictions. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Summary

The new process expands on what pharmacists could already do

People urged to call ahead and use delivery options if possible

For new medications, including antibiotics, or urgent matters, patients still need to speak to a doctor

BRITISH COLUMBIA (NEWS 1130) – B.C. pharmacists now have greater abilities to refill regular medications and issue 30-day emergency supplies due to new regulations related to COVID-19, but are asking patients to call first.

The province announced the expanded health and safety measures on Tuesday to make it easier for people to self-isolate and help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Bryce Wong, with the B.C. Pharmacy Association, said the new process expands on what pharmacists could already do.

Pharmacies still can’t prescribe medications, though.

“Normally where people may have got an emergency fill in the past, they typically would give you a very short term supply until you could go see your doctor,” he said. “Right now, we’re saying the pharmacists could give you a 30-day supply of emergency fill to prevent you having to go back to your doctor.”

Wong said the change is for refills only — including agonist therapies for people treating addictions — not for medications people haven’t taken before.

For new medications, including antibiotics, or urgent matters, he said patients still need to speak to a doctor.

Wong is also urging people to call ahead and use delivery options if possible, and not to just show up at a pharmacy and expect to refill a prescription.

“If people are feeling symptomatic, potentially of COVID or some other respiratory illness, that they call ahead for delivery,” he added.

Doing so will allow everyone to keep a safe distance from one another, Wong said, reducing the spread of COVID-19.