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Posted: March 18, 2020

Prescription refills can be provided by a pharmacist

Earlier this week, in response to the continuing COVID-19 global health pandemic, B.C. Minister of Health, Adrian Dix and B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that patients will be able to obtain refills of their regular prescriptions at pharmacies in an effort to avoid non-essential physician visits and free doctors to treat COVID-19 cases.

“We have worked with the College of Pharmacists to advise pharmacies to provide patients with a prescription refill or an emergency supply of their medications if needed. This will give physicians more time to care for patients with acute care needs. British Columbians are asked to respect this temporary arrangement and are reminded that there is no need to stockpile medication,” Minister Dix said.

The College of Pharmacists of British Columbia said this means: “patients who require a refill of their regular medications do not need to visit a doctor or nurse practitioner for an updated prescription. Instead, a pharmacist can provide patients with a refill or emergency supply of their medications.”

This also includes controlled drugs and substances such as opioid agonist therapy.

  • To help British Columbians stay healthy and avoid non-essential visits to a doctor or nurse practitioner, pharmacists will be providing refill prescriptions for patients.
  • This allows healthy British Columbians to practice safe social distancing while also freeing up medical professionals to treat more urgent patients.
  • Do not stockpile medications. This is harmful to the drug supply and could put others at risk.
  • Pharmacists will continue to practice and are committed to ensuring ongoing patient access – speak to your pharmacist about what an appropriate supply of medications looks like for you.
  • Do not visit a pharmacy in-person if you are experiencing symptoms or are self-isolating.

Stockpiling medications is harmful to the drug supply and could put others at risk.

The College recommends no more than a single month’s supply, but patients should speak to their pharmacist about their personal health situation, and their pharmacist can recommend an appropriate supply of medications.

Patients with compromised immune systems or who have an increased risk of more severe outcomes from COVID-19 may want to refill their prescriptions now so that they do not have to go to a pharmacy or clinic if they do become sick.

Avoid visiting a pharmacy in person if you are unwell or self-isolating.

Many pharmacies provide delivery services which can help patients – especially those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 – avoid visiting a pharmacy in-person. Patients can also arrange to have someone to pick up their medications for them.

The situation regarding COVID-19 continues to evolve here in BC, Canada and other jurisdictions in the world. The College of Pharmacists of BC is working closely with the Ministry of Health and other partners to support the response to this new illness as part of BC’s health system.

The College is continuing to add information on pharmacy’s role in helping fight COVID-19 at


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