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  • Barry Holleman

As the pharmacist's role expands, so does the cognitive burden

Pharmacists’ responsibilities have increased steadily throughout Canada over the past several years in an effort to recognize the specialist role of the pharmacist, strengthen the front-line healthcare support and drive better and faster care for patients.

The recent passing of bill 31 into law in the province of Québec is another example of how the profession is evolving. The bill expands responsibilities of the pharmacist to:


(1) prescribe and administer vaccines and, in emergency situations, certain other medications;

(2) prescribe all non-prescription medications;

(3) administer a medication by intranasal route;

(4) adjust or renew prescriptions of all prescribers, not only those of physicians;

(5) stop medication therapy according to a prescription or following a consultation conducted at the request of a prescriber;

(6) substitute, for a prescribed medication, another medication even if it does not belong to the same therapeutic subclass; and

(7) prescribe and interpret not only laboratory analyses but also any other test, for the purpose of monitoring medication therapy.


Lastly, the bill provides that pharmacists may assess the physical and mental condition of a person to ensure the proper use of medications.


In light of the current situation this allows pharmacists to play a crucial role in alleviating the strains on the healthcare system.


Understanding the implications and operationalizing the law is a current challenge that pharmacists have to deal with in a climate where the workload on pharmacists and the technicians is already demanding.


The ability to rapidly assess a patients file and detect any potential specific actions to be taken, or specific questions to be asked will become more critical as we will see responsibilities further expand.


At MUUTAA we recognize the crucial role our pharmacists play in our communities and we apply unique technologies to help our pharmacists deliver the best individualized care consistently.

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