5 things your pharmacist isn’t telling you

Free med reviews, prescribing powers—your pharmacist can do a lot more than you may realize

  3 Premium content image


From the Summer 2015 issue of the magazine.

  3 Premium content image

1. We prescribe certain drugs. While pharmacists’ prescribing powers vary across Canada, this service “is a real time saver” if it helps you avoid an unnecessary trip to your MD, says Phil Emberley of the Canadian Pharmacists Association. In Ontario, for instance, pharmacists can prescribe smoking cessation therapies, while their counterparts in the Prairie and Atlantic provinces can treat up to 32 minor ailments including skin irritations, sprains and nausea.

2. We refill doctor prescriptions, too. Pharmacists can offer drug renewals for up to six months on select medications that treat chronic conditions such as hypertension. And always ask for a 90-day refill as opposed to the standard 30 days, says Toronto pharmacy owner John Papastergiou. “That way you only pay the dispensing fee once.”

3. No drug plan? No problem. If medications aren’t covered, ask your pharmacist if there’s a non-prescription alternative. Take fluconazole tablets, prescribed for yeast infections, for example. Off-the-shelf versions are just as effective and usually a lot cheaper, Papastergiou says.

4. We do medication reviews for free. The provinces pay pharmacists to perform this service and it pays to take advantage of it—particularly if you’re on several different medications and want to make sure you’re using them safely and effectively. Pharmacists can then work with physicians to “de-prescribe” if they determine you’re taking drugs that are inappropriate. “We can help spot that and call your doctor,” says Papastergiou.

5. The longer you wait, the more we make. Many pharmacists own their businesses, meaning they’re more than happy to see you peruse their drug stores and fill up your basket with other items while you wait to get a prescription filled. So steer clear of Fridays and Mondays, which tend to be the busiest. For the shortest wait times, head to the pharmacy midweek, says Papastergiou.


3 comments on “5 things your pharmacist isn’t telling you

  1. Dear,
    Stefania Di Verdi you are right.I am agree to your “5 things your pharmacist isn’t telling you” written article.. We should follow yours advice & rules. Thanks for sharing such a great article.


  2. I don’t really trust pharmacists, I had a bad reaction to a proscribed drug & when I TALKED TO THEM, THEY WERE SO BUSY COVER THEIR ***& denying that it was the drug, I just left. I had ended up twice in emergency & the Dr., there told me to quit taking it immediate & not to take it again.


    • B.Harris

      Sorry to hear you had bad reactions to a drug. But how is it the pharmacy team’s fault that your body reacted to the drug. It could be a side effect or more probably you have an allergic reaction to the drug. You can only fault the pharmacy if you had mentioned that you have a particular allergy and if they still gave you the same drug or something with similar ingredient. True?


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *