Skip to main content

Eastern Ontario pharmacists ready for more expanded powers


At Reddendale Pharmacy in Kingston, Ont., pharmacist Allan D’Souza is ready to hand out more help, and prescriptions, to his customers.

On Thursday, the Ontario government announced in its 2023 budget that pharmacists are being given the power to prescribe new medications come the fall.

Those include for medications that treat 

  • Moderate acne 
  • Canker sores 
  • Diaper dermatitis
  • Yeast infections 
  • Pinworms and threadworms 
  • Nausea and vomiting related to pregnancy

In January, the Ford government started to allow pharmacists to prescribe for 13 of the most common ailments, things like cold sores and insect bites. 

D’Souza says the new list shows that there’s confidence the system is working. 

"It’s kind of, just showing there’s been a benefit and we can increase that benefit," he says.

D’Souza says it is another tool to help patients and go beyond over-the-counter medications.

"We’ve recently did some renovations, hired new staff in preparation for this,” he says. "There's been new software developed to help pharmacies work with all this, do some of the triage and make sure we’re not missing certain red flags."

The move is in the hopes of easing the burden on hospitals and physicians during a critical doctor's shortage. 

Despite pushback from some doctors about the expanded powers, many patients say they feel confident about the decision. 

Michael Spencer says that while he has a family physician, he would still use a pharmacist if given the option.

"There are wait lines, and there are people that are usually a lot sicker than I usually am, and if I can reduce the wait times that I can see a doctor…I certainly would."

Pharmacists will now have to balance more patient care, filling prescriptions and giving out COVID-19 and flu shots, but D’Souza says they are ready. 

"We’re figuring it out and it’s a welcome challenge to have," he says. Top Stories

Stay Connected