Québec physicians are open to extending the responsibilities of pharmacists under certains conditions.


Montréal, August 18, 2011 – The large majority of Québec physicians are open to extending the responsibilities of pharmacists. However, they feel that these new responsibilities must be carried out in compliance with certain specific conditions that will guarantee the safety of patients.

These are the findings of a survey conducted last June by the Québec Medical Association (QMA) among all Québec physicians. The survey aimed to sound out physicians concerning the legislative amendments requested by the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec last March: http://www.opq.org/fr/services_public/communiques/83


Patient Safety Comes First


“The message from Québec physicians leaves no doubt,” commented the QMA’s president, Dr. Ruth Vander Stelt. “They agree with a greater contribution from pharmacists, but not to the detriment of patient safety.”

Allowing pharmacists to extend some prescriptions must be done in accordance with very specific criteria defined by the physicians, and must be limited in time and for the purpose of helping out. 

According to a majority of respondents, pharmacists could be authorized to adapt a prescription, on condition that the prescribing physician is informed of the pharmacist’s intent and can give his or her agreement.

As for allowing pharmacists to help resolve simple health problems, physicians feel that this can be done under certain conditions, according to defined criteria and in very specific situations.

Québec physicians overwhelmingly agree with a change that will allow pharmacists to administer certain medications and to teach patients how to use them.

However, a majority of physicians are opposed to allowing pharmacists to order certain laboratory tests. They feel that it is the physician’s responsibility to order tests, and to carry out the assessment and clinical analysis of the results and subsequent actions (treatment and follow-up).

“Our survey clearly shows that Québec physicians are open to extending the responsibilities of pharmacists,” stated Dr. Vander Stelt. “However, they feel that patient safety must be the number one aspect guiding lawmakers. An overwhelming majority mentioned the necessity for physicians to be informed of any intentions by pharmacists related to extending or adapting a prescription. They also pointed out that making a diagnosis is a medical activity that must be reserved for physicians.”

A summary of the survey results is available on the QMA’s Web site at:  http://www.amq.ca/fr/documents/item/329


About the QMA


The QMA is made up of close to 10,000 general practitioners, specialists, residents and medical students. Its mission is to bring together the members of Québec’s medical community in a context that promotes reflection and action in order to improve the conditions for practising medicine and the health of Québec’s population.


For an interview with Dr. Ruth Vander Stelt, contact:

Myriam Labelle
Communication Consultant
Quebec Medical Association
(514) 866-0660, ext. 244
1 800 363-3932