Yukon close to expanding role of pharmacists, finally catching up to provinces

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Yukon close to expanding role of pharmacists, finally catching up to provinces

It may soon be easier for Yukoners to get prescription drug refills, thanks to proposed regulations that would expand the role of pharmacists. 

Yukon is seeking feedback on draft pharmacist legislation, which gives pharmacists the authority to carry out certain tasks previously reserved for doctors.

"We're very pleased to see the regulations come out for public consultation, that's great news," said Josianne Gauthier, president of the Yukon Pharmacists Association.

She said the association has been working with the territory to renew the legislation for more than three years. 

The changes would allow pharmacists to extend prescriptions beyond the refills authorized by the doctor and adapt existing prescription dosages according to the patient's needs. They would also be able to substitute a generic version of the drug prescribed.  

These are duties pharmacists are already authorized to carry out across most of the country, according to the Canadian Pharmacists Association.  

Kirsti Muller, Yukon's acting director of Professional Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, has been the lead on this project since the Liberal government took over in November. She says the changes should result in cost savings for Yukoners and the healthcare system. 

"With allowing pharmacists to extend prescriptions or adapt prescriptions, that would definitely mean fewer visits to doctor's office, which would definitely be a plus for a lot of Yukoners out there," Muller said.

The Yukon government is accepting feedback on the draft legislation until July 21.