The role of the pharmacist in 2012

March 29, 2012 by Francis Turgeon

Le rôle du pharmacien en 2012

Pharmacists occupy an important place in our health system. As the medication specialists, they ensure that members of the general public use drugs appropriately. At the drugstore counter, pharmacists are there to answer your questions on how to take a specific prescription or over-the-counter drug.

Under current legislation, pharmacists can perform certain tasks that no other health professional can. For instance, they study patient files to check whether selected drugs are suitable for their condition (the right dose, the right product, drug interactions and so on). Pharmacists also follow up with clients to make sure they are taking their medication safely and effectively.

In addition, pharmacists advise other health professionals on the optimal use of medication to prevent or treat an illness. They can prescribe emergency oral contraceptives and play a role in promoting health in the community.

Pharmacists can also provide such services as measuring blood pressure or blood glucose levels, providing information on specific health problems, adjusting certain medications according to laboratory test results and administering prescribed medication based on pre-existing group prescriptions (anti-smoking drugs, travel health, head lice treatments, etc.).

In 2012, doctors and pharmacists will sign an agreement to expand the role of pharmacists. The new regulations will give Québec residents greater access to primary health care.

Your pharmacist will never replace your doctor. However, a new division of responsibilities may well prove beneficial to your health, while making more effective use of health professionals’ respec-tive areas of expertise. For instance, pharmacists will be able to extend an expired prescription for high blood pressure medication until the patient’s next visit to the doctor. They will also be able to administer an asthma pump in order to further educate clients on how to use it properly.

Pharmacists play an essential role in the Québec health care system. In cooperation with other health professionals, they use their specialized expertise to preserve or improve patient health.

In closing, I wish you good health and plenty of sound advice.

References:
– Web site of the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec, viewed on January 19, 2012: www.opq.org.
– Mémoire de l’Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec and Mémoire du Collège des médecins du Québec sur le projet de loi 41 modifiant la Loi sur la pharmacie, presented to the Commission de la santé et des services sociaux on November 29, 2011.