Local pharmacist now able to alter, refill prescriptions, immunize

January 18, 2010

This article appeared in the January 13th, 2010 edition of the Sackville Tribune-Post.


Sackville pharmacist George Murray, shown here giving a seasonal flu shot, is one of the first pharmacists in
New Brunswick to be certified to prescribe and alter medications and immunize patients. (Hamilton)

Local residents can now have their prescriptions refilled easier, thanks to changes that went into effect recently under the New Brunswick Pharmacy Act.

George Murray, a pharmacist at Tantramar Pharmacy, is one of the province’s first accredited pharmacists permitted to alter or refill prescriptions, administer vaccines and prescribe medications in an emergency.

Murray took a two-day training session in Moncton before applying for his licence.

“The first day was an injection how-to and there was a 15-hour online course as well that had to be completed before the hands-on training.”

Murray also did CPR training.

Accredited pharmacists can now administer most types of vaccines, including those for H1N1 and seasonal flu, Murray said.

“The timing was good with the H1N1 outbreak. More people are scrambling for people who have the ability to provide immunization.”

Certified pharmacists can now also refill most prescriptions, Murray said.

“It’s to help continue the care of people who’ve already been diagnosed and are on existing treatment that are either having difficulty getting to physicians or have run out temporarily or need an extension.”

Accredited pharmacists can also alter prescriptions as well.

“If a doctor has written something – like a strength that doesn’t exist – we can change it without having to go back to the doctor,” he said.

“We can change capsules to tablets and those kinds of things. It’s mostly a continuation of therapy.”

These new privileges are not meant to replace physician care, Murray said.

“It’s not an independent venture. We want to work with doctors and make sure what we’re doing fits in with the care they’re giving as well.”

It’s all about patient care and accessibility, Murray said.

“Pharmacies and pharmacists are accessible through the week. It allows people more flexibility and access to get treatment when they need it.”

Murray has 50 seasonal flu shots for adults available at the Tantramar Pharmacy. People wishing to get one of these vaccines are instructed to call the pharmacy and make an appointment.

“It’s not too late for seasonal flu shots,” he said.

The amendment to the New Brunswick Pharmacy Act came into effect in October 2008. New Brunswick was the second province in Canada to initiate these changes. Alberta pharmacists were given these types of privileges in 2006.

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