Ontario pharmacies want mandatory paid consultations for opioid patients

Bottle of OxyContin.
Bottle of OxyContin. Pureradiancephoto / Getty Images

The agency that represents some of the biggest pharmacy retailers in Canada says it wants Ontario to fight the opioid epidemic through mandatory consultations with patients.

The Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada (NPAC) has submitted a proposal to the Ministry Of Health suggesting a tweak in the MedsCheck program for persons receiving opioids to aid acute or chronic pain.

The CEO of NPAC Justin Bates told AM 640’s The John Oakley Show that building stronger patient relationships with pharmacists could help fight dependency and overdose.

The proposal comes in two parts, offering a targeted mandatory pain management service for newly prescribed opioid medications, and a voluntary service to provide one-on-one consultation with a pharmacist.

LISTEN: Justin Bates, the Chief Executive Officer, Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada, talks to AM 640’s The John Oakley Show

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“This will provide an opportunity for all patients that receive a new prescription in Ontario to have an in-depth one-on-one consultation with a pharmacist,” said Bates.

Ontario has over 3000 pharmaceutical “points of care” according to Bates and he says the proposal is a “ready-made” solution which would work similar to how opioids are distributed by pharmacists through OHIP.

READ MORE: Opioid overdose emergency room visits rising dramatically in Ontario, new data shows

The evaluation would look at three areas for an opioid patient which includes the possibility of discontinuing a therapy, assess whether a therapy is working and whether an alternative therapy could be implemented, in place of an opioid.

“We want to make sure we provide patients education related to the drug they are taking,” Bates said, “That’s everything around appropriate use, storage and disposal of opioids.”

Consultations would cost $75 per patient and would be paid to the pharmacy by OHIP. Follow-up consultations would cost an additional $25 to the province.

READ MORE: Ontario pharmacists move towards mandatory reporting of prescription-dispensing errors

Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada represents over 6,500 chain, banner, and franchise pharmacies including Walmart, Sobey’s, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Rexall.


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