UBC researchers to investigate BC policy giving pharmacists the ability to adapt and renew prescriptions

Michael Law and Steve Morgan at UBC’s Centre for Health Services and Policy Research and the School of Population and Public Health are set to investigate a new BC program that gives pharmacists the authority to independently modify and renew some prescriptions. Led by Law and including researchers from UBC and the University of Alberta, the project will receive $310,000 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) over the next three years.

The policy change, introduced in Jan. 2009, is intended to improve patient access to drugs and reduce the burden on primary care physicians in BC. However, some physicians and others have raised concerns over potential inappropriate medication modifications and reduced continuity of care.

While several provinces have implemented or proposed similar policies, there have been few assessments of their impact. Using health research datasets in B.C., this project will study the effects of the policy change on drug utilization and costs, patient adherence to medication, the number of visits to physicians, and hospitalization. Results from the study will inform the design and refinement of future policies.

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