Ontario Pharmacists Association says ability to prescribe birth control should be next

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Published October 3, 2023 at 10:24 am

Pharmacists in Ontario can now diagnose and treat 19 common ailments but they still can’t prescribe birth control or emergency contraception.

Ontario Pharmacists Association CEO Justin Bates says the ability to prescribe those medications is necessary to address women’s health concerns.

He says he hopes pharmacists in Ontario will be able to prescribe birth control and emergency contraception by next year.

Birth control and emergency contraception are on a new list of proposed prescribing powers for 17 additional conditions the Ontario College of Pharmacists is recommending to the Ministry of Health.

Bates’ comments come after the province on Sunday announced the expansion of pharmacists’ prescribing powers to include medication for acne, canker sores, diaper rash, yeast infections, parasitic worms and nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.

Those six conditions are in addition to 13 common ailments Ontario pharmacists were already allowed to prescribe treatment for, including pink eye, menstrual cramps and urinary tract infections.

Bates says the new additions are welcome, but pharmacists in other provinces have prescribing authority for many more conditions.

According to data from the Canadian Pharmacists Association, pharmacists in all provinces except Ontario, Manitoba and the three territories can prescribe birth control and emergency contraception.

The Ontario College of Pharmacists’ board approved the proposed list of 17 ailments on Sept. 19.

The list of medical conditions will need to be circulated for public consultation before prescribing authority could be granted to pharmacists.

Bates says the process likely won’t be completed until sometime in 2024.

In addition to birth control and emergency contraception, prescriptions for ailments under review include insomnia, head lice and erectile dysfunction.


Canadian Press health coverage receives support through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. CP is solely responsible for this content.

Nicole Ireland, The Canadian Press

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