The evolution of the pharmacy professional leads to better health outcomes

Pharmacists have historically been relied upon to provide information about medication, its use and safety, and, now more than ever, they are being recognized as the medication management experts within an individual’s health care team.

Canadian pharmacists’ expanding scope of practice

Canadian pharmacists are recognized as integral members of health care teams as their roles continue to evolve. Express Scripts Canada’s accredited pharmacists are able to collaborate with you and your health care team to offer advice so that you and your loved ones are provided the right medication and the best treatment plan.

With each passing year, Canadian pharmacists and pharmacy technicians’ scope of practice continues to expand. For example, if you visited a busy pharmacy in the 1980s, you would have seen five pharmacy professionals working behind the pharmacy counter—four of them were pharmacists and one was a cashier. Each pharmacist would do everything from start to finish to fill your prescription: they would take your information at the drop-off counter, select the correct medication from the shelf, count out or measure the correct quantity of your medication (or mix a compound) and write down the information on your paper medication history file. Finally, the cashier would ring in the medication sale and hand you your filled order. If you had a question about your medication, the cashier might go back and ask the pharmacist and return to you with a short answer.

Read: A day in the life of an Express Scripts Canada pharmacist

Nowadays, out of those five people in the same busy pharmacy, one would likely be a pharmacist and perhaps one would be a certified pharmacy technician. The others are likely to be pharmacy assistants and perhaps a cashier.

The emergence of the certified pharmacy technician has been a welcomed addition to many pharmacy teams because it has given pharmacists greater flexibility to interact more with their patients. Where patient counselling was once discouraged in order to reduce wait times at the busy pharmacy counter, the role of the pharmacy technician has permitted pharmacists to become an integral part of a patient’s health care team and go beyond their historic scope of practice.

Today’s accredited pharmacists can prescribe medications for minor ailments, administer a flu shot or vaccination (in most provinces) and provide counselling about a prescription, over-the-counter medications and natural health solutions, such as vitamins and supplements.

Read: Are the supplements you’re taking helping or harming your health? To know for sure, just ask your pharmacist

How Express Scripts Canada pharmacists help with prescription drug plan sustainability

As higher drug costs threaten the sustainability of the prescription drug benefit, Express Scripts Canada pharmacists challenge traditional approaches to moderate plan spending growth. They take a holistic approach to care, along with best-practice-based solutions informed by data analysis to drive better patient decision-making that will help you get the most value from your prescription drug plan.

Read: High-cost drugs put valuable employee benefit at risk