Magazine article Drug Topics

Canadian Medical Association Calls Increased Pharmacist Functions Beneficial

Magazine article Drug Topics

Canadian Medical Association Calls Increased Pharmacist Functions Beneficial

Article excerpt

EXPANDED ROLE

Pharmacists in Canada were recently given broader responsibilities including, in certain provinces, prescribing privileges, vaccination ability, and the authority to order and interpret laboratory tests.

According to an article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, this newly expanded role for Canadian pharmacists can benefit both patients and physicians.

Written by Cara Tannenbaum, MD, associate professor of medicine and pharmacy at the University of Montreal, and Ross Tsuyuki, PharmD, professor of medicine at the University of Alberta, the article was based on a review of evolving pharmacist activities and responsibilities observed around the world. It appeared in the August 19, 2013 issue of the journal.

Medication therapy management

The authors said that expanded functions for pharmacists can be especially helpful to physicians managing patients who are using several medications simultaneously.

"Because more than 10% of visits to emergency departments are for drug-related problems, collaboration can help reduce the number of drug-drug interactions and avoid visits to the emergency department," Tannenbaum and Tsuyuki wrote. "Pharmacists, who have specialized expertise in drug dosing drug interactions, pharmacology and related areas, can help physicians manage safe prescribing in complex (often elderly) patients taking five or more drugs. …

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