Ontario pharmacists are currently licensed to manage and treat 19 diseases. However, they have not yet been given the power to prescribe birth control. Ontario Pharmacists Association Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Justin Bates said empowering pharmacists to prescribe these drugs is critical to addressing women’s health issues.
He said he hopes Ontario pharmacists will be able to prescribe birth control drugs and emergency contraception next year.
Birth control and emergency contraception are among the 17 conditions that the Ontario College of Pharmacists has proposed to the Ministry of Health to write prescriptions for.
Bates made the comments after the province announced the expansion of pharmacists’ prescribing powers. Pharmacists are empowered by the province to treat acne, canker sores, diaper rash, fungal infections, parasitic worms and vomiting during pregnancy. These six conditions are new additions to the 13 conditions already treated by pharmacists. These include puffy eyes, menstrual cramps and urinary tract infections.
“We welcome the new addition,” Bates said. But pharmacists in other provinces are allowed to prescribe more problem prescriptions.
According to the Canadian Pharmacists Association, pharmacists in all provinces except Ontario, Manitoba and the three territories can prescribe birth control and emergency contraception.
The Council of the Ontario College of Pharmacists approved the proposed new list on September 19. But the list must be circulated for public opinion before it is implemented.
Bates said the process is unlikely to be completed before 2024.