Province permitting pharmacies to prescribe for 13 minor ailments as of January 1st

By Staff

December 28th, 2022



Interesting – will it make a difference.

The province has changed some of the medical regulations that will permit pharmacies to prescribe for 13 common ailments starting January 1st.

The government touts this as “ making it more convenient for people to connect to care closer to home.”

The small ailment service will be offered at these two drug store chains

Ontarians will be able to stop in at pharmacies across the province to receive prescriptions for thirteen common ailments, including rashes, pink eye, insect bites and urinary tract infections with just their health card. This service makes it more convenient to access care by removing a doctor’s office visit and will come at no extra cost to Ontarians.

“Expanding the ability of pharmacists to provide care is one more way we’re putting people at the centre of our health care system, making it easier, faster and more convenient to access health care in their community.”

Pharmacists will be able to offer prescriptions for:

• hay fever (allergic rhinitis);
• oral thrush (candidal stomatitis);
• pink eye (conjunctivitis; bacterial, allergic and viral);
• dermatitis (atopic, eczema, allergic and contact);
• menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea);
• acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD));
• hemorrhoids;
• cold sores (herpes labialis);
• impetigo;
• insect bites and hives;
• tick bites (post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent Lyme disease);
• sprains and strains (musculoskeletal); and
• urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Minister of Health Sylvia Jones

With a large, province wide footprint, pharmacist prescribing will help to increase access to care in rural parts of Ontario.

In addition to providing more convenience, pharmacy prescribing will also help free-up doctors’ bandwidth to provide care for more complex needs, helping to reduce wait times for these services.

Shoppers Drug Mart with over 800 locations across the province applauds the announcement. The Rexall Pharmacy Group joined Shoppers in saying this was a good move for public health.

Big question: When a pharmacy gives a person a prescription – do they advise your doctor so that they have a full health picture.  And would that transfer of information from the pharmacy to the office of the doctor give the pharmacy access to your personal medical information ?

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11 comments to Province permitting pharmacies to prescribe for 13 minor ailments as of January 1st

  • Penny Hersh

    I have done some investigation regarding the ability for pharmacists to prescribe certain medications.

    This will not be an easy transition. One pharmacist I spoke to indicated that they “were still in the queue” to be registered with the Ontario Government. “There is a lot of paperwork and training that is required prior to being able to prescribe this medication”.

    Another pharmacists indicated that they are hoping to be able to start doing this as soon as possible after January 1st. The pharmacies have to be able to sync their computer system with the government’s lab systems. When doing this they will be told which medication should be prescribed. THERE WILL BE NO CONSULTATION FEE PAID FOR BY THE PATIENT- the government will pay the pharmacies for this.

    My question to the pharmacist was would third party insurance companies recognize the pharmacist as a provider? His answer was he did not know, and would only find out when they send in the request to the insurance company.

    I have emailed Natalie Pierre who is the MPP for Burlington to ask this question? I have also emailed my third party insurance company for an answer.

    Seniors will have no issue as the pharmacy will be automatically accepted as a provider ( providing the prescription is one that falls under the government’s acceptance – some medications are not included).

    Yet again, the government has claimed to make things easier for Ontario patients, but has failed to provide the necessary training etc. for this program to be rolled out by January 1st, 2023.

  • Hans Jacobs

    A bigger question: do pharmacists have training in diagnosis that qualifies them to prescribe/treat patients and proper facilities to examine them? For example, UTIs can be very serious and complicated.

    • Hans in our experience UTIs are diagnosed by urine test

      • Hans Jacobs

        According to the Mayo Clinic ( see: ), UTI diagnosis can include cystoscopy and diagnostic imaging in addition to various urine tests in a laboratory.
        UTIs can be life threatening and have a wide range of symptoms. The potential seriousness should not be underestimated therefore they should be diagnosed by a physician, not a pharmacist, IMO. I don’t believe that pharmacists collect urine samples and test them and they certainly don’t do cystoscopy and diagnostic imaging.

        • Ted Gamble

          Hans, I appreciate the concern raised. I am not a doctor however the tests you refer to are referenced in the Mayo linlk states that these tests are typically used after repetitive infections. My trust of trained pharmacists exceeds some of the general practioners I have encountered over the decades. I am hopeful that these measures and hopefully other changes will alleviate some of the congestion in the system. I have long considered a modest user fee for those that can pay is needed to use the ER. Many medical folk I have spoken to over decades agree. To those concerned about privatization it already exists, Quebec being a leader. Check out Gateway Surgical, operating in 5 provinces with 7 clinics for all of your orthopedic surgical needs. A knee replacement can be done in another province. About a 6 week wait. Cost $26,000. The Alberta certified Dr’s fly to Quebec and vice versa. You return after a few days after surgery and visit your local private clinic for aftercare.

  • This is a tool similar to making nurses health care practitioners able to make decisions that could once be made only by doctors. We are a family who greatly benefitted from the McMaster training provided to nurses to take this step in improving timely access to health care.

    Those who suffer from the named health issues will benefit immensely from this new policy that will also free up our doctors to we believe a great extent (and cut costs associated with doctor visits). Pharmacists already have access to client’s medical information given their knowledge of the purposes of certain prescriptions and the advice they are required to give on the use of it and the possible side effects.

    From Anne’s experience in health care administration related to pharmacy roles and nurse practitioners this is an excellent move forward that lessens the risk of delay in treatment causing harm.

  • Cathy

    More questions come to mind…Will pharmacies charge a fee for the prescription? Will doctors still offer these prescriptions for those who cannot afford the pharmacy fee?

    Announcement by announcement, the Ford government is privatizing our public health system. Anyone who has been inside our hospitals can see how understaffed and under-resourced they are. Ontario has the lowest health care spending per capita in the country.

    Of course, Galen Weston, owner of Shoppers Drug Mart, “applauds the announcement”.

  • Marshall

    ALL pharmacies will provide this service not only the big chains. In the smaller centres, independent pharmacies have always provided personal service and these changes will enhance their practice.