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Skip the doctor, see a pharmacist!

As most people would have read last week, pharmacists in Ontario are now able to prescribe treatments for 13 minor ailments: Allergic rhinitis, oral thrush, pink eye, minor skin irritations, menstrual cramps, acid reflux, hemorrhoids, cold sores, impetigo, hives, tick bites, sprains/strains and uncomplicated UTIs.

Pharmacists have advocated for this change for many years, saying a lot more can be done to add capacity to a health care system that has been under immense strain, particularly during COVID. In fact, a retrospective study first published in March 2022 showed that nearly 35% of avoidable emergency room visits could be managed by pharmacists prescribing for common & minor health issues.

As an agency, we’ve been keeping an eye on this policy and how it may affect our clients’ brand strategies and tactics. Some of the changes to consider in 2023 and beyond:

  • Expanding the audience of educational programs to include pharmacists – what role can they play to support physicians in managing disease?

  • Inviting a multidisciplinary discussion where appropriate (at ad boards, learning programs, conferences) to ensure collaboration between patient care teams

  • Teaching sales teams how to engage with pharmacists, highlighting differences in pharmacist versus physician practices

The full article, including a map showing distribution of avoidable Emergency Department visits can be found here:

How do you see this new policy impacting the pharmaceutical industry?

Written by Andrea Tang


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