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The College has been receiving inquiries related to the most recent amendment to the Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technician Regulations relating to the public health emergency declared under the Public Health Act, which was shared in the Island Capsule on April 1, 2022.  

In order to better understand the most recent amendment, it is important to review the regulatory amendments that have been made over the past 2 years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • In March 2020, at the outset of the pandemic, Health Canada issued a section 56 exemption that would provide an exemption to pharmacists from the Criminal Code around activities involving controlled substances.  The exemption was issued to ensure continuity of care for patients prescribed controlled drugs and substance during the pandemic and included activities such as continuing a prescription, accepting a verbal order and transferring a controlled substance from another pharmacy.  However, a regulatory amendment was needed in the Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technician Regulations in order for pharmacists to perform these activities in PEI.  The amendment removed the prohibitions, but tied the authority to perform activities relating to controlled substances to the Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency in PEI. 
  • In April 2020, the prohibitions listed under section 21(3) of the Regulations that limited pharmacists from providing consecutive continued care prescriptions, refills on a continued care prescription or provide more than that the original quantity prescribed, were amended to provide an exemption to the prohibitions during a public health emergency declared under the Public Health Act or a state of emergency declared under the Emergency Measures Act.   This was to allow pharmacists flexibility in providing care to patients and to use their professional knowledge and skills to determine an appropriate quantity and length of treatment for a patient when continuing a prescription during the pandemic. 
  • When Health Canada extended the section 56 exemption in the fall of 2021, the Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technician Regulations were amended further to remove the requirement for a Public Health Emergency or State of Emergency as well as the prohibitions on providing consecutive continued care prescriptions, refills on a continued care prescription, or provide more than that the original quantity prescribed for both controlled and non-controlled drugs.  With respect to controlled drugs and substances, pharmacists would defer to the Health Canada Exemption.
    • Note: The prohibition on monitored drugs (controlled drugs) in the Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technician Regulations is still in place for adaptation or therapeutic substitution, emergency prescribing, and prescribing for a minor ailment. 
 
  • The most recent amendment to the Regulations that came into effect April 2, 2022 was to remove the requirement for a declaration of a Public Health Emergency for pharmacists to provide COVID-19 vaccines to children 12-18 years of age. 
In summary, as of April 2, 2022 the Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technician Regulations no longer reference the public health emergency or the state of emergency. Pharmacists may:
  • Provide a continued care prescription for a controlled drug under the section 56 exemption issued by Health Canada, which expires in the fall of 2026, or a non-controlled drug. 
    • Pharmacists will use their professional knowledge and skills to determine a quantity and if refills/part-fills are appropriate for any continued care prescription
  • Accept a transfer for a controlled drug from another Canadian jurisdiction, or transfer a controlled drug to another Canadian jurisdiction (if permitted in that jurisdiction).
  • Accept a verbal order from a prescriber for a controlled drug.
  • Prescribe and administer COVID-19 vaccines to those 12 years of age and older. 

The PEICP website will be updated and the corresponding practice directives will also be reviewed and updated to reflect the regulatory changes since March 2020. 

Please contact the PEICP office for further clarification.

PEICP
Copyright © 2017 PEI College of Pharmacy, All rights reserved.


Email: info@pepharmacists.ca

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PEI College of Pharmacy · Unit 1, 45 Paramount Dr. · Charlottetown, PE C1E 0C6 · Canada

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