Pharmacy scope of practice and access to Opioid Agonist Therapies (OAT) in Canada after COVID-19
Sarah Lussier-Hoskyn, MA Economics, BPHA, affiliated scholar Canadian Health Policy Institute
Brett Skinner, PhD, CEO Canadian Health Policy Institute, Editor Canadian Health Policy Journal
ABSTRACT: Under the regulations contained in the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), prescribing, selling, distributing and other related activities involving drugs like opioids are only allowed for designated health professions. On March 19, 2020, Health Canada issued an exemption, temporarily expanding pharmacists’ scope of practice to include activities usually prohibited by the CDSA. The exemption was implemented partly to facilitate continuity of access to opioid agonist therapies (OAT) for people suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD) during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article discusses the implications of making the exemption permanent. We review the latest research and data on the health and economic costs associated with OUD, to clarify the magnitude of the problem and significance of expanding the scope of practice for pharmacists. We discuss the scope of practice issues for pharmacists related to improving patient access to OAT and offer policy recommendations.
SUBMITTED: October 7, 2021 | REVISED: November 11, 2021 | PUBLISHED: January 31, 2022
CONTRIBUTIONS: Lussier-Hoskyn conducted the scan of pharmacy scope of practice and co-authored the observations and policy recommendations. Skinner conducted supplementary research and co-authored the observations and policy recommendations.
DISCLOSURE: Development and Open Access for this paper was made possible by funding from Indivior Canada Ltd.
CITATION: Lussier-Hoskyn, Sarah; Skinner, Brett (2022). Pharmacy scope of practice and access to Opioid Agonist Therapies (OAT) in Canada after COVID-19. Canadian Health Policy, January 2022. ISSN 2562-9492 https://doi.org/10.54194/DIGR6414 www.canadianhealthpolicy.com.