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Pharmacies already seeing demand as Ontario rolls out increased prescription powers


Patients across Ontario can now get a prescription for some common ailments without visiting a doctor's office and at least one pharmacy in Ottawa is already seeing the demand.

The province gave the green light to pharmacists to prescribe medication for 13 of what they call minor or common infections, including pink eye, eczema, and cold sores. Alberta has offered a similar service since 2007.

“This gives you timely access to treatment, you get better quicker, get back to your daily life, get back to work,” said Justin Bates with the Ontario Pharmacists Association.

The move is aimed at alleviating an already stressed system struggling to handle to the burden.

This past weekend, the Hawkesbury General Hospital closed its emergency department due to a staffing shortage and is expected to stay closed until Tuesday.

“What this will do is it will help create capacity in the health-care system to decrease the backlog for wait times to see a primary health care physician,” said Bates.

Megan Rennick, an Ottawa parent, said the last few months have been a constant state of sickness in her household and, at times, it can be difficult to see a doctor.

“It feels great knowing we have another option,” she said.

“Our doctor is open only three days a week, so you’re not getting an appointment that same week, so it can be frustrating, especially with little guys who are in pain.”

The Ontario Pharmacists Association says it may take time for all pharmacies to roll out this service, but one compounding pharmacy in Orleans is already treating patients.

“Within the last 48 hours, we had maybe about 50 people inquire about it,” said certified compounding pharmacist Andrew Hanna. “So far we've had four of them today.”

The program is free for patients with an Ontario Health Card. It is recommended that you call your local pharmacist to book an appointment if you’re seeking treatment. Top Stories

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