Pharmacist shortage spurs loosening of regulations

Former pharmacists, students pressed into service

A shortage of pharmacists in B.C. to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic has led Victoria to loosen licencing requirements to get more trained staff behind drug store counters.

An April 1 ministerial repealed part of the Health Professions Act to grant temporary registrations to students and technicians.

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To be eligible for temporary registration, such people must be:

• registered as a full pharmacist or technician in a Canadian jurisdiction or the U.S.;

• not be suspended or subject to practice limitations, or

• be a non-practicing pharmacist or technician within the past three years.

The college said on its website that allowed temporary registration include graduates who are not yet full pharmacists and pharmacy students from outside B.C.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said March 16 that Victoria was working with the college to advise pharmacies to provide patients with prescription refill or an emergency supply of their medications if needed.

“This will give physicians more time to care for patients with acute care needs. British Columbians are asked to respect this temporary arrangement and are reminded that there is no need to stockpile medication,” he said.

The ministerial order was signed by signed by the Ministry of Health’s assistant director of regulatory initiatives, Brian Westgate.



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