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Panel advocates letting Canadian pharmacists prescribe some drugs

9,000 Points of Care plan aims to save country up to $11 billion

TORONTO — A new action plan and panel discussion aim to improve Canada's healthcare system and save $8.5 billion to $11 billion over three years at various levels of government.

The plan, "9,000 Points of Care: Improving Access to Affordable Healthcare," outlines five initiatives, including allowing pharmacists to administer vaccines and prescribe medications for minor ailments. The title refers to the number of community pharmacies in Canada.

The Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores also organized a panel that included Shoppers Drug Mart president and CEO Domenic Pilla, Rexall Pharma Plus CEO Frank Scorpiniti and Apotex president Jeff Watson.

"Through this effort, we have identified billions of dollars in healthcare savings that can be achieved through public policy changes alone," Pilla said. "The opportunities identified will ultimately help to improve patient outcomes and the patient experience."

Watson described what the CACDS called the benefits of increasing pharmacists' scope of practice.

"Let's let pharmacists do what they've been trained to do," Watson said. "Allowing pharmacists to prescribe medications for minor aliments and administer vaccines gets people the help they need faster and frees up emergency rooms and doctors' offices for those who need them."

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