News

Submit your nomination for the 2018 APEX Awards
October 12, 2017

Want to help recognize role models, celebrate outstanding patient care, and raise the profile of pharmacy practice in Alberta? Nominate a pharmacist, pharmacy team, or friend of pharmacy for a 2018 APEX Award!

If you have someone in mind, a good first step is to look at our award categories and criteria. Once you find an award that fits, tell us why the individual or team meets the criteria and deserves to win! Make sure to submit your nomination online by November 16, 2017.

For award categories, submission details, and profiles of past APEX recipients, visit:https://pharmacists.ab.ca/apex-awards

Questions about the nomination process? Email us at communications@pharmacists.ab.ca.

Clarification on pilot audit of professional portfolios
October 12, 2017

In the September 27 issue of The Link, we mentioned that pharmacy technicians would be submitting their continuing competence portfolios for the first time after going through a practice run last year with the pilot program.

To clarify, last year pharmacy technicians were required to submit their continuing competence portfolios. This was mandatory as part of the registration process. The part that was a practice run/pilot was the audit of those professional portfolios.

Whenever a program rolls out for the first time, there is a pilot period that goes with it. In 2015, we ran a pilot of the CCP program and tutorial with 30 pharmacy technicians who volunteered to be part of it. In 2016, when all pharmacy technicians were required to submit their professional portfolios, we ran a pilot audit of the portfolios.

After the CCP requirements were rolled out to all pharmacy technicians, it was important to have a thorough review of the portfolios to ensure the program requirements – determined by a working group of pharmacy technicians in 2015 – were suitable for pharmacy technicians and aligned with the overall philosophy and guiding principles of our continuing competence programs. This review also helped us to evaluate the audit process and identify areas we needed to change or revise (i.e., removing the Peer Verification form) to support pharmacy technicians with meeting the program requirements.

Following the pilot audit, our assessors provided general feedback to all pharmacy technicians to help with future portfolios submissions. This feedback was provided through an email sent on July 31, 2017, and in the July 19, 2017, issue of The Link.

In our communications leading up to the first submission, the emphasis was on the CCP program requirements and how to submit your professional portfolio online. Our priority was to ensure pharmacy technicians understood the program and were comfortable with the submission process.

We apologize for any confusion that our September 27 article might have caused. The rest of the article has some good advice for technicians finalizing their professional portfolios and we encourage you to read it.

November 30 is a big day and we look forward to seeing the professional learning you have been engaged in!

Lessons Learned: even a single momentary lapse can result in lasting consequences
October 12, 2017

A recent hearing tribunal issued its written decision on the merit and orders about the conduct of a pharmacist who was found to have diverted 100 oxycodone tablets on a single occasion. Although the tribunal accepted the pharmacist had not diverted the oxycodone for her personal use and her lapse in judgement was uncharacteristic for her, the tribunal still found that the pharmacist’s conduct was unprofessional and warranted sanctions. In diverting a narcotic, the hearing tribunal found that the pharmacist breached the most fundamental elements of trust, integrity, and professionalism.

The requirement for registrants of a profession to consistently act honestly and ethically is a fundamental part of the covenant of self-regulation.

In this matter, the tribunal imposed significant penalties, even though the conduct occurred only once.

The tribunal ordered:
  • a three-month suspension,
  • the costs of the investigation and hearing to a maximum of $20,000,
  • a condition prohibiting the pharmacist from holding the position of pharmacy owner, proprietor, or licensee for a period of five years, and
  • a condition that the pharmacist must disclose the tribunal’s written decision to any pharmacy employer for a period of five years.

Furthermore, the tribunal directed the hearings director to provide their decision to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General of Alberta, because they concluded there were reasonable and probable grounds the pharmacist’s actions in this matter may be considered a criminal offence.

Rationale for the tribunal’s decision, is reflected in its following statements:

From the tribunal’s decision:

The Hearing Tribunal considered, as [the pharmacist’s legal counsel] argued, that the pharmacist’s conduct was a very quick, one-time act; and the member had no time to think about undermining the integrity of the profession. The Tribunal did not accept that this excused [the pharmacist’s] conduct. Regardless of whether the pharmacist considered the impact of her actions on the profession at large, her actions did undermine the integrity of the profession, even if this was not the intent of the member.

… if pharmacists hand out narcotics without a prescription it will undermine the integrity of the profession, it is contrary to accepted pharmacy practice, and it breaches the trust placed in pharmacists by the Alberta College of Pharmacists and employers. With regard to a serious risk of patient harm, the Hearing Tribunal accepts that narcotics given out by a pharmacist without a valid prescription or medical supervision poses a serious risk of patient harm.

The Hearing Tribunal agrees that the theft of narcotics is a very serious issue. Following all applicable laws and standards, especially pertaining to narcotics and controlled drugs, is central to the core of basic pharmacist practice. Now more than ever, pharmacists play a critical role in ensuring narcotics are distributed safely and according to all applicable laws and standards.

Pharmacists – review your ethical duties to our profession and yourself
  1. Review and discuss with colleagues your fundamental professional obligations. Principles 1, 10, and 11 of the Code of Ethics will provide you with valuable guidance in this respect.
  2. Understand that the diversion of drugs, especially narcotic and controlled drugs, whether for personal or for beyond personal use, can not and will not be tolerated by the profession. Your decision to participate in these activities, even on a single occasion, may result in serious sanctions.
  3. Do not allow your personal circumstances to negatively affect your professional obligations.
  4. Seek help at the earliest opportunity. Many employers offer an employee assistance program and there are many other assessment and support services offered through Alberta Health Services and through the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association for its members.
  5. Review and reflect upon your conduct as it relates to the Code of Ethics and your profession.
Audits of Professional Declarations: 2017
October 5, 2017

In October, ACP will commence this year’s Audits of Professional Declarations, so watch your email! This year we are conducting audits on 5 percent of practicing pharmacists.

Pharmacists selected for Audit of Professional Declarations must submit the required documents by November 14, 2017.

Big day approaching for pharmacy technicians
October 2, 2017

If you’re a pharmacy technician in Alberta, November 30 is a big day.

And this year, it’s even bigger than before.

Of course, November 30 is the deadline to renew your registration. And for the first time, pharmacy technicians are required to submit their continuing competence program portfolio, which includes completing the prescribed learning activity, taking the Jurisprudence Self-Assessment, recording 15 continuing education units (CEUs) achieved throughout the year, and completing an implementation record. The implementation record must describe how you implemented at least one CEU into your practice.

Pharmacy technicians had a practice run with a pilot program last year. This year, they’ll be submitting their portfolios for real.

“It’s very exciting to be in our first year, coming out of the pilot,” said ACP Competence Director Pam Timanson. “Everything went very smoothly with the pilot last year so we’re looking forward to the full program and finding out what pharmacy technicians have learned and what they are implementing.”

Implementation records require specific information with details about:

  • what learning you have implemented into your practice,
  • what your objectives were, and
  • how you implemented your learning.

Because this is required for pharmacy technicians for the first time, Pam said “there is some anxiety, and that’s understandable.”

“I’m hearing that some pharmacy technicians may be nervous about what learning activities will work for an implementation record and how they’ll document it,” she said. “Is this what ACP is looking for? Is this right? There’s some worry being expressed around that.”

If you’re unsure, it’s a great idea to chat with a peer or manager about what you’re thinking of implementing and how you plan on documenting it in your record. And once you’ve started writing, run it by someone to make sure what you’ve written makes sense and answers the questions.

“Maybe even get your spouse or partner to read it and see if it makes sense to them,” said Pam. “If they don’t understand, a bit more detail is probably needed.”

And that’s Pam’s most important piece of advice: clearly articulate your answers to every question in the implementation record.

“Remember, we’re not there with you,” she noted. “When your peer assessor assesses your record, they can only read what’s on the paper. They need to understand what you were doing, what you hoped to achieve, and how you achieved it. Use as much of the space provided as possible. It’s hard to get a sense from what actually happened if the explanation is just one sentence.”

Make sure you answer every aspect of each question. For example: Who was your audience (patients, colleagues, students)? What was your timeline? And align the learning activity with your objective.

When completed, you’ll be proud to submit what you’ve learned and how you applied it to your practice.

“It’s a sense of accomplishment,” Pam said. “It shows us that you’re engaged in your professional work, you’re excited about it, you’re learning, and you’re growing.”

Questions about inducements
September 29, 2017

As you may be aware, on Friday, September 22, 2017, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that the Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) is within its mandate to establish standards of practice and a code of ethics, which includes addressing inducements.

The Court of Appeal overturned a Court of Queen’s Bench ruling from April 2016 that prevented ACP from enforcing the amendments to its standards and code of ethics, which were first introduced in 2014. The amendments prevent pharmacies from offering loyalty programs, reward points, cash, or other incentives to patients on the condition that they purchase prescribed drugs, Schedule 2 drugs, or professional services.

If you work at a pharmacy that offered inducements, you are likely receiving questions from your patients about this change. To support you in responding to these questions, we have developed a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and a poster you can display in your pharmacy. If you come across common questions that are not included in the FAQs, please email them to us at communications@pharmacists.ab.ca for consideration.

Visit our inducements page for more information.

Inducements

Opioid Guidelines: are you ready for the October 1 implementation date?
September 29, 2017

The implementation date for ACP’s opioid guidelines is Oct 1, 2017. Since council approved these guidelines in June 2017, ACP has been working with pharmacists and various stakeholders to help facilitate the integration of the guidelines into practice.

Collaboration

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) implemented their Standard of Practice for Prescribing: Drugs with Potential for Misuse and Diversion for their members in April 2017. ACP guidelines were developed to align with these standards to ensure consistency and seamless patient care. There has been cooperation between ACP and CPSA and both colleges agree that collaboration among healthcare professionals is one of the keys to success. We have communicated to CPSA that both sets of guidelines will create more opportunities for inter-professional collaboration and that physicians may expect more contact from pharmacists after implementation.

We have already seen great examples of pharmacists approaching practitioners near to them and agreeing to pool resources and work together to help each other meet their respective standards and better serve the needs of their patients. If you have not done so already, consider proactively approaching the prescribers in your area to discuss this.
 

Start with Why

Many pharmacists are concerned that patients may find this pharmacist assessment to be intrusive. Bear in mind that pain and addiction are sensitive topics and the questions you ask can potentially make your patient uncomfortable. Ensure you assess and counsel in an area with suitable privacy and you take the time to explain to your patient why you are asking these questions and what the benefits are to their health. Explain to them that, with the ongoing opioid crisis, pharmacists are part of their healthcare team that works with their prescriber and other professionals to ensure they are getting optimal treatment for their condition. Although many people benefit from these medications, the risks are substantial and it is the pharmacist’s role to ensure that the medications use is both effective and safe.

From the guidelines, we should keep four goals in mind:

1) To ensure patients with acute pain are treated safely and appropriately and to avoid this treatment progressing to chronic use or misuse.

2) To manage patients using opioid medications chronically for pain to ensure adequate symptom control while monitoring for signs of misuse, or addiction.

3) For patients with identified addiction issues, to help direct them to appropriate resources.

4) To apply the principals of harm reduction and to avoid stigmatizing or judging patients requiring opiates or suffering from addiction.

Applying the principals of harm reduction doesn’t mean you condone or encourage an activity. Rather it means providing these individuals with respectful, non-judgmental care. This greatly reduces the risk of severe adverse outcomes while building trust with these individuals. For example, if you suspect an individual is misusing an opioid, regardless of your next steps, consider providing them with a Take Home Naloxone Kit.

We recognize that for many pharmacists, this falls outside of our comfort zone. Remember that ACP does not expect you to become a pain specialist or an addiction counselor. Rather, we do expect you to identify when issues exist that cannot be treated within the practice of pharmacy and to collaborate with or refer your patient to other healthcare providers, community services and/or appropriate addictions resources.
 

Everything Old is New Again

Another important point to remember is, although the opioid guidance document is new, the guidance statements are based upon our current standards of practice. The intent is simply to provide additional clarification to meet the standards in the context of patients using opioid medications and to ensure each one of these individuals obtains a thorough, meaningful assessment that is individualized to their needs.

When you examine how you currently assess and document for these patients, you may find that you already have much of this in place. If you identify gaps with your procedures, look at other systems you currently use, such as care planning software, that might assist in filling those gaps. Our practice consultants have already seen excellent, innovative examples of pharmacists developing or adapting processes and systems. Look for others within your organization or circle of colleagues that are having success and use these people as resources.

ACP remains committed to promoting excellence in patient care and we will continue to listen to your feedback and provide information and support up to the implementation date and beyond.

 Read the guidance

Originally published in the September 27, 2017, issue of The Link


Related articles

Alberta College of Pharmacists wins appeal, inducement ban to be reinstated
September 22, 2017

Edmonton, September 22, 2017 – The Alberta Court of Appeal has ruled the Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) is within its mandate to ban pharmacies from offering inducements in exchange for the provision of a prescribed drug, Schedule 2 drugs, or professional services. Schedule 2 drugs are those drugs available for sale only at pharmacies and only provided after consultation with a pharmacist.

The Court of Appeal overturned a Court of Queen’s Bench ruling from April 2016 that prevented ACP from enforcing the ban, which was first introduced in 2014. The ban prevents pharmacies from offering loyalty programs, reward points, or other incentives to individuals on the condition that they purchase the products and services mentioned above.

“Why we’ve been so passionate about this issue is that the sorts of inducements offered by community pharmacies started to change,” said Greg Eberhart, ACP’s Registrar. “They began to involve bonuses, or more rewards points on specific days, or benefits if a patient changed pharmacists, all of which had potential to disrupt professional relationships and affect decisions important to care.”

What’s most important to pharmacy professionals, Eberhart said, is the health of the individuals they serve, their families, and their communities. The best relationships between pharmacists and individuals are built over time, based on good practices and great personal experiences.

“Pharmacists are responsible for more than dispensing and selling drugs,” he said. “In Alberta, pharmacists have what is among the broadest scopes of practice anywhere in the world. They have the ability to assess and adapt prescriptions, prescribe medications, create care plans, and administer vaccines by injection. All pharmacists have the responsibility to be in the moment and be objective when exercising critical thinking with every decision they make about the health of those they serve.”

Eberhart stressed that ACP has a responsibility to ensure its members help the public use drugs properly, not just because of the impact drugs may have on individuals’ health but because the college shares the responsibility to ensure health resources are used properly.

The Alberta Court of Appeal’s decision supports ACP Council’s amendments to the college’s Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians, its Standards of Practice for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies, and its Code of Ethics. These policies are consistent with those in other jurisdictions and professions, such as medicine.

ACP’s policy on inducements will take effect immediately.


For more information, please contact:

Barry Strader
Communications Director
Alberta College of Pharmacists
780-990-0321 
barry.strader@pharmacists.ab.ca

What are ACP's expectations for documentation? Part 5 of our opioid guidelines series
September 14, 2017

The October 1, 2017, implementation date for the Guidance for Assessment and Monitoring: Individuals using Opioid Medications is rapidly approaching. Something pharmacy professionals should consider is the pharmacy’s process for documenting assessments and developing treatment plans for individuals. These expectations are outlined in the guidance document:

Pharmacists must document details of the assessment in the patient record of care and develop a written treatment plan for individuals using long term opioid therapy or for those determined to be at high risk of misuse or addiction.

What must be documented?

Standard 18 and Appendix A of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians provides direction on this but, from a more pragmatic point of view, think about what information you would like to see when you check a patient’s profile. When you are assessing opioid therapy, information such as previous requests for early refills, refusals to fill, communications with the prescriber, drug-related problems, and notes on initial assessment and progress can be invaluable in making treatment decisions.

A great documentation resource on the ACP website is the prescribed activity: Documenting Patient Care on the ACP Continuing Professional Development Portal. RxA offers an online course Care Plans in Alberta: Developing Your Patient Care Process that provides valuable information not only on creating care plans, but on general documentation as well.

Who requires a written treatment plan?

All opioid prescriptions must be assessed and the assessment documented as noted above. In addition, individuals using long term opioid therapy or those using acute opioid therapy that you determine to be at high risk of addiction or misuse, require a written treatment plan. Thus, an opioid naïve patient receiving a small amount of an opioid medication for an acute condition like a dental extraction may not require a full written treatment plan, unless your assessment identifies concerns with addiction or misuse.

What does a treatment plan look like?

A treatment plan does not necessarily need to be long and complex. It can be as simple as a DAP note and, at minimum:

  • must identify the indication for the opioid;
  • must establish baseline data and identify parameters to monitor such as: pain and function, drug related problems, adherence and signs of misuse or addiction;
  • must specify appropriate timeframes for monitoring and follow up and identify who will conduct the reassessment;
  • must ensure that a documented record of care is created that includes a record of all collaborations, interventions and assessments performed by the pharmacist. This record should be created in a way that is easily retrievable and is consistent among the pharmacy team members.

Tip: If a treatment/care plan has already been completed by the prescriber or another healthcare professional, you can just adapt it for your own use. Ensure it has all the information you require and modify as necessary. This approach encourages both consistency and collaboration.

How do I document this?

Many pharmacies already use a standardized worksheet as the basis for assessment and documentation of injections. Consider adopting a similar process using worksheets specific to opioid therapy. There are many validated tools available for pharmacists to use such as:

These documents or ones like them can be used alone or in combination as required to fit the needs of your pharmacy.

Tip: Ensure you allow yourself enough time to assess and document prescriptions for patients using opioid medications, especially when you are first developing your process.

Pharmacy professionals practice in different practice environments with varying software systems. This makes a one-size-fits-all approach difficult and every pharmacy team must decide for themselves what a treatment plan should look like for their pharmacy. When you review your current processes, you may find that you are already doing much of this work already.

Tip: Many of these individuals may qualify for, or have an existing formalized care plan in place already. For these patients, the opioid assessment and documentation can easily be integrated into this process.

In developing the treatment plan, the pharmacy team should consider:

  • Where is the easiest place to document that will be consistent among all staff and readily retrievable at future encounters?
  • Are there existing systems in place that can be adapted to accommodate these plans?

Remember, the real goal here is not to simply meet a standard, but rather to develop processes for your practice that work for you and your patient to optimize therapy, prevent adverse drug events, and minimize harm.

To further help integrate these new guidelines into practice, ACP will be adding links to tools, articles, and other resources on our website to provide you with the support you need. Watch for an announcement on this in the coming weeks!

 Read the guidance

Originally published in the September 13, 2017, issue of The Link


Related articles

Aliaksandr Savin takes home ACP's Leadership Development Award
September 13, 2017

Aliaksandr Savin remembers the day he got accepted to the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta. He was attending his brother’s convocation when he got the email everyone hopes for when they’re anxiously awaiting acceptance to a program – the one that starts with "congratulations."

“I was working on campus that summer, and I remember walking through the halls of the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) knowing that in just a few months I would be there as a pharmacy student,” Aliaks recalls. “It was an incredible feeling.”

Fast-forward to June of this year, when Aliaks was presented with ACP’s 2017 Leadership Development Award at the annual Celebration of Leadership event in Edmonton. Created to support the development of professionalism, leadership, and citizenship in pharmacy, the award provides up to $5,000 to advance a student’s leadership skills through participation in a leadership development opportunity such as a conference, course, or workshop.

“It’s very humbling to be chosen for the Leadership Development Award,” said Aliaks. “It’s more than just monetary. It provides you with the opportunity to pursue something of interest to you that will inspire your practice to be different.”

In addition to his current role as President of the Alberta Pharmacy Students Association (APSA), Aliaks has gained leadership experience through his volunteer work at the Misericordia Hospital and Campus Food Bank. He also organized APSA’s annual Mr. Pharmacy event in support of Movember Canada while in the role of Vice President External for APSA. To students who are looking to build their leadership, citizenship, and professionalism skills, Aliaks has some good advice to share.

“Step outside your comfort zone and see where it takes you. My first volunteer experience was with the Campus Food Bank. I got to work with a lot of vulnerable populations which was really eye-opening,” said Aliaks. “Seeing where these individuals come from and what they have to go through can definitely influence the care you provide.”

Now in his fourth year of the pharmacy program, Aliaks looks forward to using his award for a leadership development opportunity that will add value to his practice and inspire those around him.

“It would be interesting to find an opportunity that is unique in the sense that we haven’t had much exposure to it in Canada,” said Aliaks. “We’re fortunate to have the scope of practice we do in Alberta, and there’s a lot we can share with our peers around the world, but there’s a lot we can learn, too. I think it’s important to keep seeking out and sharing best practices so we can help our patients as much as possible.”

Are you interested in building your leadership capacity? Learn more about ACP’s Leadership Development Award and how to apply at https://pharmacists.ab.ca/acp-awards. Deadline to apply is March 1, 2018.

6 creative ways to earn CEUs you may not have thought of
September 13, 2017

It’s tempting to stay in a routine when it comes to earning your CEUs, but the practice of pharmacy in Alberta is evolving and growing. Practice is getting more complex, and patient expectations are rising.

The Continuing Competence Program is a great framework for keeping yourself ahead of the curve by investing in your personal and professional goals. Get your creativity flowing with a few examples of inspiring and purposeful activities that other pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have done to earn CEUs!

Take a cue from your patients

Your patients are a great source of ideas for CEUs. Do they ask you about a drug you aren’t familiar with? Or potential interactions with herbal supplements or homeopathic treatments they may be taking? Earn CEUs by researching potential interactions and turning your work into an implementation record.

Keep informed of the latest health and wellness trends

Your patients may be hearing a lot of health (mis)information as trends come and go. Learn more about the latest health, diet, and wellness trends (for example: sports and stress relief; fad diets) and look at the potential health implications or drug interactions that your patients and other pharmacists would need to be aware of. Make a poster presentation so that your colleagues can learn too.

Learn a new lab test

Is there a lab test that you are not as comfortable with as others? Research when it would be appropriate to request the lab test, how to order it, what to order, and how to interpret the lab results.

Become more familiar with a regulatory or practice issue

Research a regulatory or practice issue that interests you and remain informed on issues as they evolve. You might be interested in exploring background information found in past issues of The Link, or other sources like research journals.

Earn CEUs while networking and strengthening your inter-professional relationships

Attend a learning event, research talk, or seminar hosted by another health profession. In addition to learning about, or refining your knowledge of, other health professions, you can build and strengthen your inter-professional relationships at the same time.

Share your knowledge of pharmacy with other health professionals 

Generate a conversation with a physician or another health professional and see what they are interested in learning more about. You could then provide them with an in-service.

These are just a few examples of outside-the-box activities completed by fellow pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. As you work on your Continuing Competence Programs in 2017 and 2018, we encourage you to combine your creativity and professional judgement to think of new ways to build competence and confidence.

PrescribeIT™ national e-prescribing service launching soon
September 13, 2017

On August 30, 2017, Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) announced that PrescribeIT™, a national e-prescribe service, will be launching soon. Alberta is one of six provinces that has signed an agreement with Infoway. Therefore, PrescribeIT™ will be the accepted method for electronic prescribing in Alberta. As per previous communication electronic signatures outside of PrescribeIT are not acceptable.

Infoway has formed a working group to provide advice and feedback regarding implementation of PrescribeIT™ in Alberta. ACP is participating on the working group along with RxA, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Alberta Medical Association, and Alberta Health.

Alberta Health is working with Infoway to plan a limited production roll out (LPR) in Alberta and Ontario. A small number of Alberta physicians and pharmacies will be approached in the near future to be asked to participate in the LPR. Pending the evaluation of the LPR a larger roll out of the PrescribeIT™ service will occur.

A review of ACP Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians and Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies has been completed. We believe that pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacies will be able to comply with all standards in an environment where prescriptions are received via PrescribeIT™.

Read Infoway's announcement and look out for more updates on their website as they continue the roll-out of PrescribeIT™.

Nominations now open for the 2018 APEX Awards!
September 13, 2017

Do you know an outstanding pharmacist, pharmacy team, or friend of pharmacy? We bet you do!

Submit your nomination(s) to help recognize role models, celebrate great patient care, and raise the profile of pharmacy practice in Alberta! Award recipients and their nominators will be invited to our annual APEX Awards celebration on March 1, 2018, in Edmonton.

Have someone in mind? The process is simple. Check out the award categories to see if they fit the criteria, find yourself a seconder, and start working on a compelling nomination letter! Make sure you submit your nomination online by November 16, 2017.

For award categories, submission details, and profiles of past APEX recipients, please visit: https://pharmacists.ab.ca/apex-awards 

Good luck! 

Join the Change Day movement!
September 13, 2017
One thing. Anything. It begins with you.

Have you heard of Change Day? It's an annual campaign that invites Albertans to make a change that will improve their health or the health of others. It's fun, free, and has the potential to positively impact our health system. As a proud supporter of Change Day, we encourage you to make a pledge for change and inspire others to do the same!

What exactly is a pledge?

A pledge is basically a commitment to make a change that will impact your own health or the health of others (patients, family, friends, etc.). For example, you might pledge to eat healthier and exercise more, or spend the day in a wheelchair to understand what it's like, or simply smile more! It can be anything really – big or small. Need a little inspiration? Check out the Change Day website to see pledges others have made so far.

How can you participate?

It’s simple:

  1. Decide on a pledge (what will you commit to change?)
  2. Make your pledge official by posting it on the Change Day Alberta website.
  3. Share your pledge and inspire others!

Learn more about Change Day and how you can help spread the word: http://www.changedayab.ca/

 
CPhA takes official stance on cannabis
August 30, 2017

On July 1, 2018, the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis for recreational use will be legalized in Canada. Provincial governments and health care organizations across the country have expressed various concerns about the proposed legislation.

ACP Council made its position clear in April, passing a motion to support policies that prohibit the sale of cannabis for recreational use from pharmacies. Council indicated concerns about the health implications of using cannabis recreationally, particularly amongst individuals younger than 25.

Council also passed a motion recommending that distribution sites for non-medical cannabis must not be permitted to use terms such as “dispensary” or pharmacy-related symbols such as the green cross, which could lead the public to believe the distribution site is a pharmacy or has professional oversight from pharmacy practitioners.

As for the possibility of pharmacists being included in the management and distribution of medical cannabis, ACP believes more research is required.

“Currently, medical cannabis is not subject to the same controls and standardization required of prescription drugs dispensed from pharmacies,” said Greg Eberhart, ACP Registrar. “Once we can assure that cannabis produced for medical purposes has been standardized with quality controls that are at least as consistent as those for prescription drugs, and once better evidence is available about its efficacy to support pharmacists and other health professionals to make more informed decisions and provide more consistent advice about its proper use, then and only then should cannabis for medical use be considered for distribution through Alberta pharmacies.”

Now, the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is weighing in on the issue. The CPhA presented a brief to the Standing Committee on Health (HESA) with recommendations regarding the legalization of cannabis.

The brief included a list of six recommendations to HESA that the association believes should be part of the legislative framework when it comes to the legalization of cannabis. The recommendations were developed, in part, due to a growing concern among pharmacists across Canada about the lack of clinical oversight in the distribution of medical cannabis. The CPhA recommends the federal government to:

  • Ensure a distinction between recreational and medical cannabis.
  • Enhance and support increased research into medical cannabis to support safer, more effective prescribing and methods of administration, e.g. non-smokeable products.
  • Restrict the use of terms such as ‘dispensary’ or pharmacy-related symbols such as a green cross for the recreational distribution of cannabis.
  • Support and include pharmacists in the management and distribution of medical cannabis.
  • Establish pricing for recreational cannabis that would not encourage patient diversion from the medical cannabis stream.
  • Regulate recreational cannabis distribution through the lens of health promotion.

The CPhA believes pharmacists have a unique perspective on the legalization of cannabis and is asking the federal government not to overlook how the legislation could impact patients who rely on the medical cannabis system.

Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, passed 2nd reading in the House of Commons on June 8. HESA is now reviewing the legislation and is expected to conduct hearings beginning in September.

Exercising conscientious objection
August 30, 2017

The introduction of new public policies for Medical Assistance in Dying and access to Mifegymiso® may present moral dilemmas for some pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

ACP’s Code of Ethics provides guidance to registrants about what to do if they have a moral dilemma and wish to exercise conscientious objection.

Exercising conscientious objection proactively and respectfully  

Conscientious objections by pharmacists or pharmacy technicians must not impede the right of individuals to receive unbiased information, including where to access legally permissible and available health services. Conscientious objection should be addressed proactively and respectfully so as to not disrupt access to care, nor to disrupt pharmacy team behaviours and relationships.

If a pharmacist or pharmacy technician wishes to exercise conscientious objection, they should:

  • provide a statement in writing to their supervisor in advance of the possibility of receiving a prescription for a drug or request for a service that they have moral objection to, and
  • familiarize themselves with pharmacists or pharmacy technicians, as the case may be, to whom they may guide an individual or other health professional seeking the specific service that they object to.

In this way, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can best prepare themselves and their team should they receive a prescription for a service that they morally object to.

Assessing individuals using opioid medications: what you need to know
August 30, 2017

As you prepare to implement the Guidance for Assessment and Monitoring: Individuals using Opioid Medications which comes into effect October 1, 2017, it’s important to review and develop your pharmacy’s process for assessing patients. To do this, you’ll need to be familiar with the expectations for assessment outlined in the guidance document:

Pharmacists must complete a thorough assessment of each individual who is prescribed opioid medications or sold an exempted codeine product.

This assessment must include a review of the Electronic Health Record (Netcare) every time a prescription for an opioid medication is dispensed or sold.

For general information on assessment, you can refer to the ACP Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians. Standards 3, 4, 5 & 6 provide pharmacists with the expectations of an assessment and what to do if a drug related problem is identified.

Many pharmacists use the ACP Chat Check and Chart tool to frame their assessment processes. The ‘check’ portion of the tool involves four questions to assess whether a prescription is indicated, effective, safe, and if the patient is adherent to therapy. The opioid guidance document provides additional interpretation for each of these four questions within the context of opioid therapy.

Tip: A good first step is to familiarize yourself with the additional interpretation for each of the ‘check’ questions and discuss among team members how to best incorporate these additional elements into your practice.

Indication

As with any assessment, start with indication and determine why this individual was prescribed an opioid. Determine if the condition is acute or chronic and if they have used an opioid in the last 180 days or are they opioid naïve. For some indications, an opioid may not be optimal therapy. Consider if non-opioid medications and/or non-drug measures may be more effective and collaborate with the prescriber if required.

Effectiveness

The 2017 Canadian Guideline for Safe and Effective Use of Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain recommend that patients who are opioid naïve do not receive more than 50 oral morphine equivalents (OME) daily. Similarly, patients with chronic pain should not routinely take more than 90 OME daily. Remember, if your patient is prescribed doses outside of this range, it does not mean the pharmacist should automatically refuse to fill. Rather, this presents an opportunity for collaboration with the prescriber. To help the pharmacist assess pain control, there are tools available such as the Brief Pain Inventory and PEG inventory. Consider implementing these or similar tools into practice to help simplify and standardize your process.

Tip: Many pharmacies already use a standardized worksheet as the basis for assessment and documentation of injections. Consider adopting a similar process using tools specific to opioid therapy. These documents can be used in their current state or modified as required to fit the needs of your pharmacy.

Safety

Potential for misuse is an especially important safety consideration that must be assessed for each individual using opioid medications. Tools like the CAGE assessment and the Opioid Risk Tool can aid pharmacists in an assessment of the risk of addiction.

Adherence

Opioid therapy presents pharmacy professionals with additional challenges due to the complex nature of pain management and the interplay with addiction and misuse. Because of this, pharmacists must evaluate information on Netcare or an alternative source every time an opioid medication is dispensed or an exempted codeine product is sold. This requirement aligns with the direction the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta provides to physicians in Prescribing: Drugs With Potential For Misuse Or Diversion.

Many pharmacies already review Netcare regularly in this way with little disruption to workflow. For other pharmacies, a first step may be to consider current workflow and determine where it would be most effective to incorporate a check of Netcare.

If the patient information is not available on Netcare, other resources include other pharmacies and the triplicate program. Pharmacists can contact the TPP at 1-800-561-3899 ext. 4939 or TPPInfo@cpsa.ab.ca.

Tip: If you have pharmacy assistants or technicians in your pharmacy, you may find it helpful to ensure they have Netcare access to facilitate pharmacists’ review.

Patient assessment is already a well-established, integral part of your pharmacy practice. The opioid guidance document is simply intended to provide direction and additional considerations to help optimize this process for patients using opioid medications. Pharmacy teams should take time over the next few weeks to examine how they currently assess these individuals and determine if any enhancements need to be made to their systems.

Once you’ve successfully assessed your patient, you’ll need to document this. Watch for tips on how to efficiently document in the next issue of the Link. 

 Read the guidance

Originally published in the August 30, 2017, issue of The Link


Related articles

Guidelines for Medication and Vaccine Injection Safety now available
August 30, 2017

Proper aseptic technique in conjunction with infection prevention practices for handling and administering injections can prevent the transmission of blood borne viruses and other pathogens to patients during routine health care procedures.

ACP has collaborated with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) and the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) to create Guidelines for Medication and Vaccine Injection Safety. The guidelines, approved by ACP Council, complement the Guidelines for Hand Hygiene which was also developed in conjunction with CPSA and CARNA.

Read the full guidelines

Overview

The medication and vaccine safety document includes six guidelines, each of which include further direction for practice:

  • Medications are stored, handled and used safely.
  • Vaccines are stored, handled, and used according to provincial policy and national guidelines.
  • Injections and other sterile preparations are prepared safely.
  • Injections and other sterile preparations are administered safely.
  • Medical sharps are stored, handled, used, and disposed safely.
  • If hazardous drugs are administered in the practice setting, they are stored, handled, and used safely.

“Most of what is included was already considered best practice,” said Dale Cooney, ACP’s Deputy Registrar. “The problem was they were never clearly outlined in one place. Now, pharmacists have easy access to a complete set of guidelines that apply to other professions as well. It’s important that these products be prepared the same way, no matter who the professional is.”

The guidelines provide direction for the preparation and administration of injections in the practice setting—simple preparations, drawn up, or prepared for imminent administration. Criteria to determine what can be prepared in the practice setting is outlined in section 3(f).

3 (f) – Sterile preparations prepared in the practice setting:

  • Do not involve preparation that requires more than three sterile units/vials/containers.
  • Do not require more than two entries into any one container, package or administration container/device.
  • Do not require more than one hour of preparation time.
  • Are under continuous supervision if the finished preparation is not immediately administered.
  • Are prepared as close as possible to the time of administration.
  • Unless immediately and completely administered by the person who prepared it, or immediate and complete administration is witnessed by the preparer, the preparation bears a label listing: patient identification information, names, and amounts of all ingredients, name, or initial of the preparer, and beyond-use time or date.

Preparations that do not meet these criteria must be prepared according to the Standards for Pharmacy Compounding of Non-Hazardous Sterile Preparations or the Standards for Compounding of Hazardous Sterile Preparations. The guidelines also specify that preparations that don’t meet the criteria must come from reputable sources such as a manufacturer or a pharmacy that meets the Alberta College of Pharmacists’ requirements for sterile compounding.

The Guidelines for Medication and Vaccine Injection Safety also provide answers to questions pharmacists routinely pose to ACP. For instance, it clears up confusion around the beyond-use-date for multi-dose vials. The guideline requires that multi-dose vials be discarded 28 days after opening, or sooner if there are visible signs of contamination or if the manufacturer directs otherwise.

“It’s an issue of sterility versus stability,” Dale added. “After 28 days, the drug may still be stable, but we don’t know if it’s still sterile. There is a chance the vial could be contaminated. That’s a chance we shouldn’t take.”

ACP supports AMA in effort to promote non-drug pain therapy
August 24, 2017

ACP Council is supporting a request from the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) to promote improved access to non-drug alternatives for pain management. The AMA made the request of ACP and other health care organizations as one way to address the opioid crisis.

Both the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) and ACP have introduced new guidelines for prescribing and dispensing opioid medications. The AMA’s request is aimed at preventing chronic pain conditions.

“We all recognize that some people with significant injuries will go on to require long-term opioids or analgesics no matter what we do,” said Dr. Lyle Mittelsteadt, AMA’s Assistant Executive Director, Professional Affairs. “But we also feel there is a significant number of people, with early intervention, who can be rehabilitated to the point where they wouldn’t require any form of long-term therapy.”

The AMA and ACP both hope that improved access to therapies and services that have evidence-based support can help prevent patients from requiring long-term opioid therapy, and that those who develop chronic pain might have access to treatments other than opioids.

“Drugs are not the only answer,” said Greg Eberhart, ACP Registrar. “Where possible, drugs should be used as a secondary intervention. If indicated, and again, where possible, drugs should be used as a complementary alternative to other treatments and lifestyle changes to manage pain.”

“Physicians have found there are groups of patients who respond very well to interventions such as physiotherapy, chiropractic treatments, and other kinds of rehabilitation therapy,” added Dr. Mittelsteadt. “It can help mobilize them, reduce pain quicker, and get them back to normal functional activities.” 

The AMA and ACP would also like to see improved access to mental health services, as chronic pain can have a significant effect on an individual’s mental health.

“If you’re used to being active and physically robust, and an injury affects you where you’re not able to be as active, there’s an impact on your mental health,” said Dr. Mittelsteadt. “If you’re depressed, upset, or anxious because of that, it can affect your recovery and your ability to motivate yourself to become active again. That’s not true of every patient, but it does have an impact on some.”

People suffering from mental illness often suffer physical pain as well. Dr. Mittelsteadt believes improved access to mental health care could help some patients to the point where they won’t need opioids for pain. To that end, ACP has agreed to work with the AMA to advocate for improved access for Albertans to mental health supports and rehabilitation services and therapies, some of which can be cost prohibitive for many.

“For many patients, cost is a factor that stops them from accessing these types of care, whether they be rehabilitative services or mental health care,” said Dr. Mittelsteadt. “We’d like to see better coverage and better access to those kinds of services for all Albertans. We’re appreciative of the support of pharmacy in this endeavor and are always glad to work with other health care stakeholders in moving these initiatives forward in order to help our mutual patients.”

Why pharmacist assessment is critical to managing the opioid crisis
August 21, 2017

The new ACP opioid guidelines for pharmacy professionals that come into effect October 1, 2017, may mean some big changes to the way that some pharmacists practice.

Before considering how these changes are to be made, it’s important to step back and explore why these changes need to happen.

The ongoing opioid crisis has a huge cost to Albertans, both in healthcare resources and human suffering. As highly accessible healthcare professionals, pharmacists are well positioned to make an impact and our guiding principles, the standards or practice, and the code of ethics require us to do what we can.

Alberta Health publishes surveillance reports every quarter on opioids and substances of misuse. From this data, pharmacists can gain insight on how frequently they encounter individuals who are most at risk.

Accessibility

Between January 1, 2016, and March 31, 2017, 476 individuals in Alberta were reported to have died from an apparent overdose related to fentanyl. An additional 196 individuals died from an apparent overdose related to an opioid other than fentanyl.

In the 30 days prior to their fentanyl related death due to overdose:

  • three per cent of these 476 individuals received a pain related health service,
  • 10 per cent had a mental health related service,
  • 10 per cent of patients visited an emergency department (ED) regarding an opioid/substance of misuse, and
  • 14 per cent obtained a substance abuse related health service.

During this same time, 20 per cent of these individuals obtained an opioid from a community pharmacy and 24 per cent had an antidepressant/anxiolytic dispensed at a community pharmacy.

“You may not believe pharmacists play a large role when it comes to fentanyl related overdose but the data suggests otherwise,” said ACP Compliance Officer Monty Stanowich. “Individuals who overdose on fentanyl are accessing pharmacy services more frequently than other healthcare professionals.”

When you look at data for death due to an apparent overdose related to an opioid other than fentanyl, the potential role for pharmacists to intervene is even more evident. In the 30 days prior to death:

  • only six per cent of these 196 individuals visited an emergency department (ED) regarding an opioid/substance of misuse,
  • eight per cent received a pain related health service,
  • 11 per cent obtained a substance abuse related health service and
  • 11 per cent had a mental health related service.

In contrast, during this time, 51 per cent of these individuals had an antidepressant/anxiolytic dispensed from a community pharmacy and 62 per cent had an opioid dispensed from a community pharmacy. Clearly, pharmacists are among the healthcare professionals who have the most access to these individuals at their most vulnerable time.

Netcare

Another area where pharmacists may have an impact is by checking Netcare.

For the period of Jan 1, 2016, to Dec 31, 2016, 23 per cent of patients who died from an apparent overdose to fentanyl had an opioid dispensed from three or more pharmacies in the year prior, and 37 per cent had opioids prescribed from three or more practitioners.

These numbers are increased to 34 per cent and 39 per cent respectively for patients who died from an apparent overdose to an opioid other than fentanyl. As well, for the non-fentanyl deaths during this time, 26 per cent of individuals had used an oral morphine equivalent (OME) ≥90mg per day and 13 per cent had used ≥200mg per day.

“All the above statistics were taken from Netcare,” said Monty. “Pharmacists have access to this data when providing pharmacy services and this information can help when conducting an assessment and developing a treatment plan.”

Demographics

It is also important to note where these apparent overdoses resulting in death are occurring.

A perception exists that deaths occur in the inner city of large population centres. Indeed, the largest numbers, from January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2016, do occur in Edmonton and Calgary, but when we examine the rates per 100,000 people, it becomes evident that this issue exists in all the zones and cities in Alberta. Cities such as Red Deer, Medicine Hat, and Grand Prairie report a higher rate of death in some measures than either large city.

Within Edmonton itself, 71 per cent of apparent fatal overdoses occurred in individuals residing outside the central urban core. In Calgary, this number is higher yet at 81 per cent. 

Thus, the scope of the problem is geographically widespread and affects people of all socio-economic circumstances and it must be the concern of every pharmacist.

Summary

The ACP guidance document for assessment and monitoring of individuals using opioid medications was created with several goals in mind:

  • Ensuring that patients with acute pain are treated with the safest, most effective treatment.
  • Preventing individuals using short-term opioid therapy from becoming long-term users.
  • Identifying patients who are at risk and appropriately managing their care to prevent drug related adverse effects and misuse.
  • Identifying patients who suffer from addiction and/or misuse and ensuring they are accessing the care they require, while employing strategies for harm reduction.

This document is part of a broader strategy that ACP is undertaking in association with government, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and other stakeholders to ensure Albertans receive the best possible healthcare with regards to opioids, pain, and addiction. Alberta pharmacists already play a large role in managing overdoses by providing Naloxone kits to at risk individuals. The requirements outlined in the Guidance Document for Assessment and Monitoring of Individuals using Opioid Medications are the next logical step, shifting the focus of the pharmacist to a more proactive, preventative role in the management of the health of these individuals. While what we do may not prevent every overdose, it will surely have a positive impact on the lives and health of many Albertans.

 Read the guidance

Originally published in the August 16, 2017, issue of The Link


Related articles

Empathy and care: Moving good practice to excellent practice
August 17, 2017

 

When Manju Nagra walks into the Magrath Save-On-Foods pharmacy in Edmonton each day—as she has for the last 10 years—she does so with a smile on her face. Why? Because Manju sees those who visit the pharmacy as not just her patients, but as people.

“I truly love my patients,” said Manju, a graduate of the University of Alberta, adding that most of her patients are regular visitors to the pharmacy, and she knows virtually all of them on a first-name basis. She loves the fact they put so much trust in her.

“A lot of them phone us to get another opinion after seeing their doctor,” she said. “You can make a difference. And we have a good relationship with our physicians. A lot of doctors call us for our suggestions. They refer patients to us. That is really rewarding.”

Manju believes people trust her because she genuinely cares about everyone who approaches the pharmacy counter.

“People don’t come to see me because they’re feeling well,” she said. “If I can give them that extra compassion and empathy, and just listen, that makes a big difference. Most people would be somewhere else if they could—they don’t come to the pharmacy by choice. If you don’t care about them, it gives them one extra stress they don’t need.”

A recent experience validated Manju’s approach to patient care—don’t just appear empathetic. Be empathetic.

“My grandmother was sick in February,” she said. “After spending some time in the hospital, you realize what you like in a professional and what you don’t like. We did have some negative experiences in some units. It reinforced the idea that this isn’t how I want to practice. Extra support and compassion is helpful, compared to not caring.”

Manju believes her instinct to care about others comes from growing up with her grandparents. It’s in her nature. She also believes that truly caring about others is something that can’t be taught.

“I don’t know how you can teach someone to have emotions or feelings,” said Manju. “You can teach someone to say the right things, but it doesn’t quite have the same effect if it’s not genuine.”

There is a downside to caring. Once you become close to someone, you can care too much, which makes the hard times even harder.

“I cry a lot when patients pass away,” she said. “I’ve probably been to 15 funerals of patients. Sometimes you get too attached. But it’s better than not being attached at all.”

Manju goes through the same struggles as other pharmacy professionals—busy workflow, pushback from health professionals who are hesitant about the pharmacist’s role—and does her best to work through them. Once, she was contacted by a physician who questioned her adaptation of a prescription. She explained why she made the change and noted that she would follow up with the patient in three, seven, and 10 days. Manju’s explanation put the physician at ease.

“Good communication is so important,” she said. “Many health care professionals aren’t familiar with what the boundaries are for pharmacists, so every now and then we need to explain that we only prescribe or adapt within our scope of practice. If I’m unsure, I’ll call a colleague and get a second opinion.”

As new challenges arise, Manju believes they can all be dealt with by putting the patient first.

“Every little thing you do could mean the world for the person in front of you.”

Prescribers with the same name
August 16, 2017

In December 2016, we published a story about two Edmonton area physicians who share the exact same first, last, and middle name. One is an emergency room physician, the other is a general practitioner, and both have been contacted about prescriptions they did not write. This kind of mix-up causes inaccurate patient records and has the potential to disrupt patient care.

Since publishing the story about two physicians named Dr. Navdeep Singh Dhaliwal, the Triplicate Prescription Program has reported that 17 additional pharmacies have created patient records with the incorrect Dr. Navdeep Singh Dhaliwal associated with a prescription.

We remind you to be conscious that prescribers with identical names do exist, and may even practice in the same city or town. Please ensure you correctly identify the prescriber, and determine whether they are legally authorized to prescribe the drug or blood product listed on the prescription. The records that you create impact continuity of care and the decisions other health professionals make. You are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of all records you create.

Read more about the two prescribers mentioned above in the December 14, 2016, issue of The Link and visit the Forgery Alerts section of our website for details on what they are authorized to prescribe.

New TPP Program Guide available online
August 9, 2017

The Alberta Triplicate Prescription Program (TPP) has developed a new guide to help pharmacists and other health professionals navigate the program. The new Program Guide replaces the previous “Information for the Prescriber and the Dispenser,” and can be accessed via the TPP website.

What’s new?

The guide features a new section outlining your responsibilities as a pharmacist and tips for ensuring data integrity. The triplicate program relies heavily on Pharmaceutical Information Network (PIN) data, especially for medications that don’t require a triplicate but are still monitored through the program. By maintaining accurate data, you’re helping to improve patient care by preventing medication misuse and abuse. Your contributions are appreciated and are integral to the success of Alberta’s triplicate program.

Together, the TPP guide and website contain helpful resources including a new veterinary-specific medication list and detailed information on how to use the TPP prescription form.

One important change to note is the fact that TPP no longer requires all triplicates to be mailed in. Effective July 1, 2017, you only need to send the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) a copy of the triplicate form for compounds, veterinary use, office use, and prescriptions from the Yukon. You can find more information on this change in the June 21, 2017, issue of The Link.

Pharmacy Use Only section

We have received questions about whether the “Pharmacy Use Only” section of the triplicate needs to be filled out if a copy is not being sent to CPSA. The pharmacy information including date, Rx number, DIN, quantity, and dispensing pharmacist must be recorded on the pharmacy transaction record. Therefore, if the transaction record is filed with the TPP prescription, the pharmacy use only section does not need to be completed. NOTE: a “received by” signature is still required.

To learn more about TPP, please visit http://www.cpsa.ca/triplicate-prescription-program-tpp/

ACP office closed for Heritage Day
August 4, 2017

Our office will be closed on Monday, August 7, 2017, for Heritage Day.  We will reopen at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 8, 2017.

The do’s and don’ts of appropriate prescribing
August 3, 2017

What is the difference between adapting a prescription, and when an adaptation would require additional prescribing authorization? 
 

ACP pharmacy practice consultants get the opportunity to see a lot of good work happening when they visit pharmacies across Alberta. But, from time to time, they see some pharmacists who are a bit confused by the differentiation between adapting a prescription, and when an adaptation would require additional prescribing authorization. For pharmacists without additional prescribing authorization, adapting pre-existing prescriptions simply isn’t within their scope of practice.

“In general, pharmacists are doing what they believe is in the best interest of the patient,” said ACP pharmacy practice consultant Chantal Lambert. “Unfortunately, sometimes pharmacists without additional prescribing authorization step beyond what the scope of a renewal or adaptation is.”

Without additional prescribing authorization, pharmacists can renew prescriptions as they were originally written and are currently being taken, or adapt new prescriptions when they are being filled for the first time. Any licensed pharmacist in Alberta can perform these functions.

Examples

Some examples of unauthorized renewals or adaptations seen in pharmacies include:

  • Adjustment of instructions for a renewal based on the patient’s current dosage (for example, a patient is verbally authorized by their physician to titrate the dosage upwards and is now taking a larger dose than originally prescribed)
  • Renewal of an inactive prescription for a different dose of medication due to tolerance issues or request of a patient (for example, renewing the old lower dosage prescription of antidepressants because the patient is having difficulty tolerating new dose and the patient requests the old dose)
  • Renewal of a medication that hasn’t been taken for an extended period of time (for example, renewing allergy eye drops that the patient hasn’t used in three years)
  • Adapting a prescription after initial fill to an alternate due to tolerance issues (for example, switching to a different antibiotic as the original prescribed is causing nausea and vomiting)

All of the examples above would be considered managing ongoing patient care or initial access prescribing and can only be performed by a pharmacist with additional prescribing authorization.

For a refresher on the standards of practice for adapting a prescription, review standards 11 and 12 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians.

Medical Assistance in Dying Medication Protocol Updated
August 3, 2017

The Medical Assistance in Dying Medication Protocol has been enhanced by:

  • Clarifying the role of pharmacists when verifying that the necessary assessments have been completed;
  • Changing the oral protocol drug formulation; and,
  • Adding additional information to support pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and other team members in coordinating access to consumables used to support assisted dying interventions.

Two additional documents have been posted in the password-protected (for registrants only) area of our website to support pharmacy team members involved in interventions:

  • Medication Administration Record – to be completed by health professionals attending an intervention; and,
  • Medication Inventory Tracking Sheet – to be completed by pharmacy team at time of dispensing and when unused medications are returned to the pharmacy.
Background

In June of 2016, the federal government approved legislation legalizing Medical Assistance in Dying. As of June 30, 2017, there were 164 assisted dying interventions conducted in Alberta; 115 in AHS facilities and 49 in the community. The injectable protocol has been used in all Alberta-based interventions. In all instances, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who have taken the initiative to prepare themselves (and their teams) to support the wishes of individuals suffering at the end stages of life, are commended for doing so in a professional and dignified manner.

Alberta continues to lead Canada in our approach to assisted dying. This is largely due to strong leadership from within AHS, and its commitment to partnering with ACP, CARNA, CPSA, and Alberta Health, amongst others. Every experience is documented and evaluated, and that has allowed continuous learning and improvement to occur.

When receiving a prescription protocol for assisted dying, pharmacists are to verify with the providing practitioner that all assessments have been completed and that the patient has been deemed to satisfy all of the qualifying criteria identified in the June 30, 2017, Medical Assistance in Dying Medication Protocol. Review of documentation is not required by the pharmacist. Verification occurs when the pharmacist asks the providing practitioner whether each criterion has been met and an affirmative response is received for each criterion. The pharmacist shall document verification by initialing beside each criterion.

Chloral hydrate was a significant ingredient in the original oral protocol. It has toxic properties that presented potential risk to individuals compounding it, and was very unpalatable due to its potential to burn. Medical Assistance in Dying partners have identified a new protocol from Washington State that does not include chloral hydrate.

Please review the new Medical Assistance in Dying Medication Protocol to familiarize yourself with these changes and the new information provided.

ACP restructures as Deputy Registrar Dale Cooney pursues new personal opportunities
August 2, 2017

It is with regret that we announce Deputy Registrar Dale Cooney is moving on from ACP effective September 29, 2017. Dale has been a key member of our leadership team for 13 years, and has contributed to many of the successes that our college and profession have achieved during this period. As a friend and colleague, we will miss him, and at the same time wish him the best in his new journey.

Included in our accomplishments that Dale has significantly contributed to are the development of our current Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians and the Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies, the bridging and eventual regulation of pharmacy technicians, oversight of two versions of our competence program, and most recently the review of our registration policies and processes. We know there are many more, but these are examples that touch us every day. 

“The first couple of years of implementation of our standards of practice was a big, big change,” Dale said. “There was a lot we had to do. The fact that I could see the work that I was doing here impacting frontline practice was a highlight. It’s exciting to see it come off the page and into practice. Lots of people are really making the best of it for their patients.”

With years of anticipation, Dale said it was a bit surreal to see the expanded scope become reality in 2007.

“Sometimes it was hard to believe that it would actually happen,” he said. “Even when I graduated pharmacy school 30 years ago, we were talking about this kind of practice.”

Dale says he will miss the people at ACP and being part of creating policy both provincially and nationally. Still, he believes the time is right to focus on what’s been an evolving passion—executive coaching.

“I’m building an executive coaching practice and will do some consulting to support that work,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to make a difference for people by helping them define their goals and develop action plans to work towards them. I’ll work with individuals and organizations. I hope to work with people who are entering leadership, and people who are already in executive positions who are looking for a non-biased sounding board to help them work through issues."

Building a strong administrative team for the future

The pending vacancy of the Deputy Registrar’s position has invited opportunity to review our past successes and the emerging needs of ACP’s administrative team. The size and demography of our registrant base has rapidly changed, pharmacy practice has changed (as has our approach to supporting it), and more recently the public policies important to pharmacy practice have grown (i.e. e-Health, MAID, opioid crisis, legalization of cannabis). The following five principles were identified as important to building our team:

  • Capacity – we require sufficient human resources to fulfill the growing business of the college. Not only has the number of our registrants and pharmacies increased, but the issues and number of required relationships have increased.
  • Flexibility – historically we have operated with a relatively lean administration, based on the core programs we administer. Flexibility is important to being more adaptable to changing issues and changing needs throughout the year.
  • Resilience/Redundancy – we need to remain efficient, however we can benefit from more redundancy to ensure continuity in the event of vacation, illness, or changing workload.
  • Succession – by cross-training at all levels (particularly at the Director level and above) ACP will be able to continue to be successful in the event that a key individual departs.
  • Sustainability – our HR plan needs to be based on our business goals and responsibilities, and must ensure the sustainability of the organization both functionally and financially.

With these five principles in mind, two complementary business portfolios will be established; balancing leadership responsibilities across ACP programs, while accommodating improved capacity, flexibility, and resilience in addressing other internal and external business needs.

Each portfolio will be led by a Deputy Registrar. We have engaged Pekarsky & Co. to conduct a national search to find the best two candidates for these positions. The position descriptions and information about applying will be released through a separate email to registrants tomorrow (Thursday, August 3, 2017).

Originally published in The Link - August 2, 2017


Related: 

ACP seeks two Deputy Registrars 

Topical minoxidil granted unscheduled status
August 2, 2017

Effective July 20, 2017, minoxidil, when sold in preparations for topical use in adults in concentrations of 5% or less, has been granted unscheduled status. Minoxidil is a medication used to treat hair loss.

The National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) Executive Committee approved the Interim Recommendation, made by the National Drug Scheduling Advisory Committee, following a 30-day review period. The National Drug Schedules will be revised to reflect this change.

Health Product InfoWatch: July 2017
July 28, 2017

The Health Product InfoWatch is a monthly publication intended primarily for healthcare professionals. It provides clinically relevant safety information on pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and natural health products.

The goal of the Health Product InfoWatch is to raise awareness and to provide clinically relevant information to healthcare professionals concerning marketed health products and their safety. In some cases, information is intended to stimulate reporting of similar adverse reactions. Each publication includes a monthly recap of health product advisories and summary safety reviews, as well as a growing selection of new health product safety information.

July 2017 issue:

Announcement: Consultation – New measures to inform Canadians of the risks of prescription opioids
Announcement: Government of Canada enables new access to drugs in urgent public health situations
Monthly recap
New information:

Hearing notice: Kyle Kostyk
July 27, 2017
Public Hearing Notice
Hearing status:         Scheduled
Registrant: Kyle Kostyk
Charge: Unprofessional Conduct
Date: October 30, 2017
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location:

Alberta College of Pharmacists
1100-8215 112 Street NW
Edmonton, AB

In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.

To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre registering is required.

Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.

Media inquiries are to be directed to Barry Strader, Communications Director at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca

Feedback from audit of CCP for pharmacy technicians and upcoming changes for 2018
July 25, 2017

The pilot project for the Continuing Competence Program (CCP) for pharmacy technicians is officially complete!

In the first quarter of 2017, six technicians audited 121 portfolios; noting their observations. As the pilot was intended only to provide general feedback for all pharmacy technicians and the Competence Committee, the individual audit results will not be shared with pharmacy technicians. 

“Overall, our assessors reported positive results and thought the portfolios were well done,” said Pam Timanson, ACP Competence Director. “They felt that pharmacy technicians understood the program requirements and were quite impressed with what they observed. It was clear that technicians were thinking about the competence program early on in terms of what to learn and what to implement. This was wonderful to see!”

In the 2016 learning cycle:

  • Pharmacy technicians submitted approximately 16,000 learning records.
  • Seventy per cent of the learning activities reported were accredited.
  • The self-study program, reading, and live group programs (e.g., workshops, courses, conferences) were the most popular.
  • Pharmacy technicians were generally completing the same activities (e.g., glucose meters, asthma devices, sterile compounding, process improvement, flu clinics, and destruction of narcotics).
  • Most of the learning resulted in acquiring new knowledge/skills.

To prepare for the official audit process beginning in early 2018, assessors advise pharmacy technicians to include more detail when reporting and explaining the steps taken to achieve an implementation objective. It’s also important to ensure your learning activity aligns with your implementation objective.

“Consider how the learning activity you have chosen aligns with your implementation objective and clearly explain that in your implementation record,” Pam recommended. “The more information a pharmacy technician assessor has from you, the easier it is to follow your learning path.”

Change to 2018 learning cycle: peer verification form discontinued

One of the most notable changes the assessors recommended was to discontinue the peer verification form in the 2018 learning cycle. Assessors indicated this form is not being used as it was originally intended, so the Competence Committee suggested it be removed. The peer verification form will continue to be available for the rest of the 2017 learning cycle, but will be discontinued for 2018.

Planning to use the peer verification form in 2017? Here’s what you need to know…

If you plan to use the peer verification form for the 2017 learning cycle, please use it as intended. This form may only be used as supporting documentation if your learning objective involves performing a newly acquired or reinforced skill or technique and demonstrating competence to a peer. The use of this form must be limited to skills-based objectives and when there is not stronger evidence (e.g., a patient’s record of care) available that would directly showcase your achievement.

What is required of the peer who verifies your skill, technique, or competence?

According to the CCP technician rules the peer must be:

  1. on the clinical pharmacist or pharmacy technician register;
  2. be authorized to perform the skill/technique noted in the implementation objective; and
  3. not be in a close personal relationship with the pharmacy technician.

The peer must verify or validate that the pharmacy technician has achieved his/her implementation objective by demonstrating competence when performing a newly acquired/reinforced skill or technique.

When is the peer verification form applicable?

Here are some examples of when you might use the form:

  • compounding a non-sterile product;
  • aseptic technique (hand hygiene, garbing, sterile environment);
  • handling hazardous drugs;
  • preparing an IV admixture;
  • manufacturing;
  • preparing antineoplastic medications; and
  • product release (100 final checks)

For a list of resources including the CCP Tutorial and Pharmacy Technician CCP rules, visit the Competence section of ACP’s website.

 
Pharmacy leaders encouraged to apply for Fellowship in Health System Improvement
July 20, 2017

The University of Alberta’s School of Public Health is once again offering a Fellowship in Health System Improvement to take place over six weekends starting in September.

The professional development program is intended to increase your knowledge of health and health system performance, enhance your leadership skills, build your understanding of international health systems, and develop your ability to lead transformative change. The fellowship is aimed at current leaders or senior managers in health systems across Canada.

“Schools of public health are expected to have a role in improving the health system,” said Don Philippon, Program Director and Professor Emeritus. “We look at the health system very broadly, not just the care system. We look at all the determinants of health in a society, and that goes far beyond the traditional health care system as we know it.”

Don said there is a critical need in Canada for leaders who can bring about transformative change in the health system, not just tweaking at the edges, which is where most change seems to occur. That’s why the fellowship program takes a close look at health systems in other countries, specifically the U.K., Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand.

“Other countries are doing more radical things, more fundamental things, and making more dramatic change,” said Don, a former Deputy Minister of Health in Alberta. “We need a bolder approach to change in Canada. We look at the underlying ways of how our system is organized and how we can change it to have different outcomes both from a care standpoint and a population health standpoint.”

The program brings in an impressive roster of guest speakers. Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell, former Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow, former federal Minister of Health Anne McLellan and former Alberta Minister of Health and Wellness Fred Horne all spoke at last year’s events.

Pharmacists encouaged to apply

Cheryl Sadowski, Professor with the Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta, is one of three pharmacists who participated in last year’s fellowship. Cheryl said the experience made her appreciate how broad the health system is and how we need people with other expertise, not just clinicians, to make it better.

And she felt it was important for pharmacists to be at the table.

“The way we work with teams and move between the publicly funded system and the private aspect in terms of delivery in community pharmacies gives pharmacists an advantage in challenging the health system and providing leadership to bring about change,” Cheryl said. “Because of our training and background, pharmacists understand how business ideas could help solve problems or address needs in the health system.”

Don hopes more pharmacists apply to take part in the fellowship this year, adding their input is crucial in the pursuit of meaningful change to the health system.

“Pharmacists are not involved as much as they could be in designing the system and yet they’re probably the most accessible health professionals people have to go to,” he said. “Pharmacists can play a much greater role in the overall system design and their knowledge is critical to do that.”

For more information on the Fellowship in Health System Improvement and how to apply, click here.

Establishing professional relationships: exploring a new guideline for opioid medications
July 20, 2017

The new ACP opioid guidelines for pharmacy professionals come into effect October 1, 2017. To prepare, pharmacists should review the five key areas from the guidelines against their current practices and identify gaps or areas for improvement. 

Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a closer look at each of the five key areas, starting with:

Pharmacists must establish and maintain a professional relationship with each individual using opioid medications.

Opioid therapy management presents challenges for pharmacists due to the complex nature of the underlying conditions and the risks of addiction. Critical to the success of patient assessment is building and maintaining a professional relationship with your patients (or their caregivers). What does this look like? The first step is to speak with your patients, their agent, or caregiver directly. Pharmacy technicians play a vital role in the dispensing process, but only a pharmacist can assess the patient. 

Tip: You can use ACP’s Chat Check and Chart – Vital to Patient Care tool card to learn more about how to connect with your patients.

The pharmacist MUST identify the health priorities of the individual and work with them to set realistic expectations for pain management.

It’s critical that the pharmacist understands what the patient knows about their medication and their condition to help them manage their expectations. Ask open-ended questions about what they are using the medication for and what they hope to gain from its use.

The pharmacist must work to build and maintain rapport with individuals and avoid assumptions or stereotypes.

“Gaining the trust of your patients is essential to assessing their health needs and your ability to monitor therapy at future visits,” advises Monty Stanowich, ACP Compliance Officer. “This means being honest and forthright with these patients and avoid judging them based on appearance or mannerisms. These individuals come from all walks of life and anyone using an opioid may develop a dependency to the drug. Remember that this is a well-known risk of these medications and does not represent a character flaw of the patient.”

The pharmacist must help individuals to understand that opioid medications are not a cure for their condition. Let individuals know to expect a mild to moderate reduction in pain and increase in function.

It’s important to emphasize that opioid medications help to treat pain and are never a “cure” for anything.

  • For acute or short-term pain, advise your patients that the medication should be used conservatively and they must never exceed the dose or duration indicated by the prescriber. If they find the dose they are using is insufficient, you should collaborate with their prescriber and/or refer the patient.
  • For chronic pain, patients should be told to expect a mild to moderate decrease in chronic pain and increase in function. Clinically meaningful improvement has been defined as a 30 per cent improvement in scores for both pain and function.[1] Connect with individuals at the onset of their treatment to establish baseline data and then continually re-evaluate as treatment progresses.
The pharmacist must make individuals aware of the risks of opioids including tolerance, dependence, overdose, addiction, and adverse effects such as sedation which can affect their quality of life. Ensure that individuals fully understand the risks and benefits of using opioids.

“Opioids carry a significant risk for harm. Ensure that individuals prescribed opioids understand that the benefits of pain relief and improved function need to be balanced against their risk of developing tolerance, dependence, and addiction,” Monty adds. “This risk is individualized. There are simple tools you can use such as the Cage assessment and Opioid Risk Tool that aid in predicting the relative risk of developing these drug related problems.”

Watch for more articles on the remaining four key areas in upcoming weeks.

 Read the guidance

Originally published in the July 20, 2017, issue of The Link
 

Footnotes:
PEBC assessors needed for upcoming Calgary exam
July 20, 2017

The Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) is looking for assessors for the Pharmacy Technician OSPE exam in Calgary on Sunday, September 10, 2017.                      

If you haven’t participated in a PEBC exam in the past 12 months, or just want a refresher, an Assessor Orientation session will be held on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. (location TBD).

Interested? Complete the application form applicable to your profession by the Monday, July 31, 2017, deadline: 

If you experience issues with either online form, please email pebc.calgary@gmail.comfor technical support.

If you are selected to be an assessor for the September 10, 2017, OSPE exam, you will receive an email confirming your participation as an assessor or stand-by about three weeks before the exam date. Please note that only selected applicants will receive an email

Nurse Practitioners now authorized to prescribe Suboxone®
July 20, 2017

Alberta nurse practitioners (NPs) can now prescribe buprenorphine-naloxone (Suboxone®) to patients to treat an addiction to opioids.

Many NPs work with marginalized populations who may have reduced access to services. Additional authorized prescribers will contribute to the implementation of provincial harm-reduction strategies and provide more access to options for Albertans addicted to narcotics.

As a reminder, you can find a list of NPs and their individual prescriber IDs in the Prescriber List section of ACP’s website.

To view the full announcement, visit the CARNA website.

New Pharmacy Technician FAQs available
July 19, 2017

Please visit our Practice Materials & Tools section for a new printable resource, Pharmacy Technician FAQs

This new resource addresses frequent technician-related questions received from both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians such as: 

  • Can a pharmacy technician perform the final checks for compliance packs? 
  • Can a pharmacy technician witness the ingestion of methadone or buprenorphine/naloxone?
  • Can a pharmacy technician receive a verbal order? 
  • and more 

 

 View and download the PDF

Reflections from ACP's 4th annual Leadership Forum
July 12, 2017

In today’s ever-changing world, leadership skills are more important than ever.

At ACP's fourth annual Leadership Forum, held June 21-23 in Edmonton, pharmacist and pharmacy technician attendees were introduced to thought processes and skills to help them lead in a world of constant change – skills that ACP Council past president Taciana Pereira says are applicable in all areas of life. 

“As a profession, it is important to develop and nurture leaders. The ability to be a leader is in all of us,” said Taciana Pereira, Council Past-President. “The forum provides an opportunity for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to develop these leadership skills to benefit their own careers, to the communities where they practice or work, and for the pharmacy professions in Alberta.”

Learning with peers

Forum attendees were asked to complete a self-assessment on their personal strengths and values prior to the event. These insights helped form the basis for the forum’s on-site learning activities and group discussions. It was this peer-to-peer interaction that Jody Read, pharmacy technician and Technical Practice Lead with AHS, and others found motivating.

“Meeting and talking to peers across the province and finding out what they’re doing and how they’re doing things is always of interest to me,” said Jody. “I did love the fact that it was a smaller group of people in that room. Even though there were 25 people, it felt very one-on-one at times.”

Fayaz Rajabali, pharmacist, associate owner with Shoppers Drug Mart, and newly-elected ACP Councillor, agrees.

“The funny thing was that we all had different issues, but a lot of the common denominators were the same, and that was interesting for me to find out that a lot of it came down to simple things like communication, and execution, and buy-in.”

Committing to action

Participants were also asked to bring a leadership challenge or project they are currently facing or considering, and would commit to addressing beyond the forum.

“Pharmacy technicians are a very important part of the pharmacy team. That was part of my leadership challenge,” said Jody. “As a pharmacy technician leader, I find it compelling that a lot of technicians may say, ‘Oh, I’m just a pharmacy technician.’ We’re not just pharmacy technicians.”

For Fayaz, receiving guidance on how to move from learning into action was valuable.

“I’m a very practical person. Sometimes I go to these types of sessions and I don’t know if this is going to be, frankly, a waste of time or ‘kumbaya.’ But this session was interesting to learn about different strategies, how you facilitate or execute your leadership in your environment, and how to translate that into action,” said Fayaz. “One thing I was really impressed with was that the moderator said he would call us afterwards. This really holds you accountable.”

Circling back to the patient

Fayaz said one big takeaway he had was how pharmacy professionals can use leadership skills to make a difference in patient care.

“Pharmacists go to a lot of technical sessions in regards to practice, but there’s more to it. A lot of what was learned was about the patient,” he said. “We get hung up within the four walls of our mind, and we disconnect, but I thought the forum helped us focus on who is impacted.”

Jody echoed a similar sentiment.

“The more that we learn, and the more that we strive to be leaders, the more that we are going to help our team, and in turn – help our patients.”

New guidelines for dispensing Mifegymiso®
July 12, 2017

ACP Council approved guidelines for dispensing Mifegymiso® in Alberta at its June 2017 meeting.

Among the guidelines is a restriction that pharmacists must not prescribe Mifegymiso. This restriction applies to both adapting prescriptions and prescribing with additional prescribing authorization. Those who choose not to dispense Mifegymiso due to moral objection should refer to ACP’s Code of Ethics and the section on conscientious objection in the guideline. 

 View guidelines

Nese Yuksel, Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta, has prepared the following information document. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who plan to dispense Mifegymiso are strongly encouraged to review this article and complete the on-line training program. 

Mifegymiso® : Information for Pharmacists

Nese Yuksel, BScPharm, PharmD
Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Mifegymiso®, a combination product of mifepristone and misoprostol, was approved by Health Canada in 2015 for early medical abortion, and became available in Canada in January, 2017. Mifepristone is currently available in over 60 countries. Effective immediately, Alberta pharmacists can dispense Mifegymiso® directly to patients in accordance to the ACP’s Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians. As per ACP’s guidelines, pharmacists must not prescribe Mifegymiso®. 

What is Mifegymiso®?

Mifepristone is a potent progesterone receptor antagonist; it blocks progesterone receptors directly in the uterus and prevents the endometrium from supporting an embryo, causing endometrial degeneration and uterine contractility. Misoprostol is a synthetic prostaglandin analogue and will cause cervical ripening and uterine contractions. In Canada, Mifegymiso® is indicated for a medical termination of an intra-uterine pregnancy up to 49 days gestation (from the first day of the last menstrual period). However, it is considered to be effective up to 70 days gestation.

How is Mifegymiso® taken?

The mifepristone tablet is taken orally, while the misoprostol tablets are administered buccally. On day one, the mifepristone 200 mg tablet is taken orally with water. The woman can take this dose at home. It is no longer required that the woman needs to ingest the mifepristone dose in the presence of a prescriber. On day two or three (about 24 – 48 hours after taking the mifepristone), two tablets of misoprostol 200 μg are placed on EACH side of the mouth between the cheeks and gums (total of 4 tablets or 800 μg). The tablets are left in place for 30 minutes and then the remaining fragments can be swallowed with a glass of water. Women should be advised to rest for a few hours after taking the misoprostol. On days seven to 14, women must follow-up with their physician to confirm that the abortion has been successful.

What should the woman expect after taking Mifegymiso®?

The pregnancy is passed from the uterus within two to 24 hours after taking Mifegymiso®. The woman should expect cramping, abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding that will be heavier than their usual period that can last two to four hours. However, women should be advised that if they experience heavy bleeding (defined as soaking two thick sanitary pads every two hours) or have significant abdominal pain, they should contact their health care provider right away. Other common side effects include nausea/vomiting, breast tenderness, hot flushes/chills, dizziness/fainting, diarrhea and fatigue. Most of these side effects will slowly go away over a few days. Women should seek additional help if they feel ill with severe nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, or a high fever.

What are the requirements to dispense Mifegymiso®?

Though training is no longer mandated by Health Canada, pharmacists who will be dispensing Mifegymiso® are encouraged to take the Medical Abortion Training Program available as an online course through the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Pharmacists are not required to dispense Mifegymiso®, especially if it is against their moral beliefs. However, they should assist the woman in finding another pharmacist who will dispense the product. It is very important that the woman be referred in the appropriate time frame.

When can women start using other contraception after taking Mifegymiso®?

The return to ovulation once the Mifegymiso® has been taken is relatively quick (as quickly as eight days). Women can start using a hormonal contraceptive soon after the misoprostol dose. For intrauterine devices, the woman should wait until the abortion has been confirmed.

References:

Costescu D et al. Medical Abortion. Clinical Practice Guidelines. J Obstet Gyaecol Can. 2016 June;38(4):366-389.
Soon JA, Costescu D, Guilbert E. Medications used in evidence-based regimens for medical abortion: An overview. J Obstet Gynaecol Can 2016;38(7):636-45.
Dispensing Mifegymiso®: Guidance for Pharmacy Professionals Who Are Dispensing Mifegymiso®. Ontario College of Pharmacists. May 19, 2017.
Important Information on Mifegymiso® (mifepristone and misoprostol tablets) Canadian Distribution and Administration Program. Celopharma Inc. May 18, 2017.
Mifegymiso® Product Monograph Including Patient Medication Information. Celopharmac Inc. Date of Revision: October 21, 2016. https://pdf.hres.ca/dpd_pm/00036826.PDF. Last accessed June 27, 2017.

June 2017 Health Product InfoWatch
July 10, 2017

The Health Product InfoWatch is a monthly publication intended primarily for healthcare professionals. It provides clinically relevant safety information on pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and natural health products.

The goal of the Health Product InfoWatch is to raise awareness and to provide clinically relevant information to healthcare professionals concerning marketed health products and their safety. In some cases, information is intended to stimulate reporting of similar adverse reactions. Each publication includes a monthly recap of health product advisories and summary safety reviews, as well as a growing selection of new health product safety information.

June 2017 issue:

Introducing Brad Couldwell: ACP's newest Council president
July 7, 2017

It was one of the pinnacle moments of his professional career and, as it turns out, one of the most emotional.

Calgary community pharmacist Brad Couldwell was installed as president of ACP Council three weeks to the day after his daughter, Grace, was diagnosed with leukemia. As Brad addressed the gathering at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald in Edmonton, the emotions hit him, particularly as he talked about his experience in the health care system as the parent of a sick child. 

“At one point, I was barely keeping it together,” said Brad. “I was looking down at my notes and was barely able to see the words because of the tears in my eyes. At one point, a tear dropped directly from the centre of my eye onto the sheet of paper. I was then able to see more clearly. It was like a release to move forward with the rest of my message.”

An important message it was. Brad encouraged pharmacy technicians and pharmacists to appreciate the position they have in providing care.

“To be involved with the people in our community who come to us every day, no matter what practice setting we’re in, is truly a gift,” he said. “These people are opening the door and saying, ‘Come in. Here I am.’ That gift as a pharmacist, for me, is precious. We need to treat it that way. When pharmacists and pharmacy technicians make a strong connection to the person in front of them, it changes that person’s ability to move forward in their health journey. We need to focus on that gift and enhance it.”

Another focus for Brad will be to explore ways to achieve ACP’s strategic goals, by concentrating on local issues, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach.

“It’s easy for us as Council to focus on complex solutions to global challenges,” he said. “The more time I’ve spent with Council and listening to those with more experience, the more I believe it should be about providing simple solutions to local problems. We need to continue to focus on individual communities. We need to empower individual practitioners to find local solutions so they are able to improve the health of their communities.”

Outgoing president Taciana Pereira believes Brad’s commitment to pharmacy practice comes from his passion.

“Brad is all-in,” said Taciana. “When Brad debates issues in Council, you can hear the passion in his voice. He’s always focused on what’s best for our professions and how we can keep moving forward. He challenges Council members to think about how we can best meet our communities’ needs.”

Encouraging fellow Council members to push ideas that are relevant to their own districts and bring their own unique perspectives to each agenda item, says Brad, will help find those local solutions.

“It’s so often about the search of what’s best for everyone,” said Brad. “I’m firmly convinced now that search lies within the individual practitioner in their own unique environment. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have the solutions. We need them to continually pursue what’s the best fit for their community.”

Brad officially began his one-year term on July 1. He’ll preside over his first Council meeting as president in October.

What's in a name? ACP may soon stand for: Alberta College of Pharmacy
July 6, 2017

As you may have seen on ACP’s social media feeds, ACP Council will pursue changing the college’s name from the Alberta College of Pharmacists to the Alberta College of Pharmacy.

“The biggest reason for the name change is to be more reflective of our mandate and the practice of pharmacy,” said ACP Council past president Taciana Pereira. “The college regulates more than pharmacists. We also have pharmacy technicians, and we regulate and license pharmacies. The new name would provide some clarity to the public and would be more inclusive for all of our registrants.”

ACP invited registrants and the public to participate in an online survey, regional meetings, and webinars to have their say on the topic. While some participants felt the name should stay the same, most supported a change.

“From the change side, it was about being inclusive and recognizing that we’re about more than pharmacists,” said Taciana. “One of the concerns that came out of the survey was about the cost of a name change. But expenses relating to a name change won’t impact registrant fees or impact our ability to address our other priorities. We also learned there is a connection with the brand that we’ve created with the college. That’s important because we found a balance in choosing ‘pharmacy’ and being able to maintain our logo and initials.”

ACP’s current logo was created in 2011 and will remain intact, other than changing “pharmacists” to “pharmacy.” The logo carries with it some deep significance. What appears as ϕ in the logo is actually the lower case for the Greek letter “phi” which is the first letter in the Greek words for pharmacy and pharmacist.

While the logo and initials won’t change, Taciana says changing the college’s name is a step in the right direction in helping ACP reach its strategic goal of integrating pharmacy technicians into pharmacy practice.

“Our current name is exclusive,” she said. “Choosing not to change the name might have impeded our progress to achieve our goal.”

ACP supports a name change and will be recommending it to government. However, for the new name to take effect, an amendment to schedule 19 of the Health Professions Act is required.

“Changing the college’s name is about a sense of identity,” said Taciana. “It stands for our professions, including pharmacy technicians. Hopefully, they’ll be able to make a stronger connection with a college that represents all of its registrants.”

New guidelines for patients using opioid medications
July 6, 2017

In reaction to the ongoing opioid crisis, ACP is providing support and direction to pharmacists for assessing patients who use opioid medications.

The ACP Standards of Practice provide the framework for assessment and documentation, however due to the complex issues surrounding the use of opioids, additional clarification is needed.

These medications potentially pose a significant hazard to patients and to the public and, in addition to pain management, pharmacists must be prepared to deal with the possibility of addiction, misuse, and drug diversion.  

As well, recent changes to the Canadian Guidelines for Opioids for Non-Cancer Pain and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta standards for Prescribing Drugs with the Potential for Misuse or Diversion will affect how pharmacy professionals practice.

Summary of guideline requirements

To support the practice of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, ACP Council has approved a guidance document that outlines the following five key requirements:

  1. Pharmacists must establish and maintain a professional relationship with each individual using opioid medications.
  2. Pharmacists must complete a thorough assessment of each individual who is prescribed opioid medications or sold an exempted codeine product. This assessment must include a review of the Electronic Health Record (Netcare) every time a prescription for an opioid medication is dispensed or sold.
  3. Pharmacists must document details of the assessment in the patient record of care and develop a written treatment plan for individuals using long-term opioid therapy or for those determined to be at high risk of misuse or addiction.
  4. Pharmacists must collaborate with the prescriber and other healthcare professionals involved in the care of individuals using opioid medications.
  5. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must monitor individuals for the signs of opioid misuse, diversion or addiction and take appropriate action.

The guidelines will become requirements of all pharmacy professionals starting October 1, 2017.

First Steps

Strong pharmacy practice comes from a strong knowledge base. The document, Guidance for Assessment and Monitoring: Individuals Using Opioid Medications, will provide you with a wealth of information including links to tools, guidelines and resources for your practice.

“We know a lot of pharmacy professionals are already practicing this way,” said ACP Deputy Registrar Dale Cooney. “For others, implementation of these guidelines may seem challenging. A good first step is to focus on one area at a time and develop workflows and strategies for your pharmacy team. Pharmacists have a responsibility to assess and monitor all patients taking opioid medications.”

Over the next few weeks, ACP will publish a series of articles in The Link to help you navigate the new guidelines and provide tips to aid with implementation.
 

 Read the guidance

 

Originally published in the July 6, 2017, issue of The Link


Related articles

Preceptors play a huge role as SPT transition deadline approaches
July 5, 2017

Pharmacy interns who are completing ACP’s original paper-based Structured Practical Training (SPT) program have until July 31, 2017, to complete their requirements and must submit their evaluation and completion forms to ACP by August 31, 2017. The option to complete the paper-based program is only available to interns who registered with ACP before February 1, 2017.

Preceptors who have interns working through the paper-based SPT program are encouraged to complete their intern evaluations in a timely fashion, and remember the responsibilities that go along with being preceptors.

“Preceptors play an important role in the overall education and evaluation of pharmacy interns,” said Debbie Lee, ACP’s Registration Director. “The SPT program is about more than just the interns putting in the hours. Preceptors need to ensure that interns can demonstrate the competencies required to be a practicing pharmacist before giving them a passing grade. Assessing the interns’ readiness to practice is vital.”

Acting as both mentors and instructors, preceptors provide the gateway for interns to become licensed pharmacists.

“The SPT programs, both the original paper-based program and the new online program, are intended to set a minimum expectation for pharmacists entering the profession,” said Debbie. “It’s important for preceptors to know what those expectations are and provide consistent instruction and evaluation.”

Debbie says preceptors should also take note of the professionalism demonstrated by their interns during their internship.

“Accountability, honesty and integrity are key components to professionalism and our Code of Ethics,” she said. “To retain the high level of trust and respect that is given to pharmacy professionals, by patients, the public, and other health professionals, all pharmacy professionals must be both competent and professional in all they do.”

As a reminder, making a false declaration on an assessment of an intern could be interpreted as unprofessional conduct and referred to ACP’s complaints director. If an intern can’t demonstrate they are ready to practice, it’s the preceptor’s responsibility to hold them back. Interns who fail to complete the paper-based SPT program by the deadline will need to complete the new online SPT program. The new program features an objective approach to assessing an intern’s readiness to practice, providing a more consistent SPT experience for interns and preceptors alike.

For more information about the SPT program and/or precepting, click here or contact ACP.

Council meeting highlights - June 21, 2017
July 5, 2017

Following are highlights from Council’s deliberations on June 21, 2017. For more comprehensive discussions about these topics, please check this and future editions of the Link. 

Advertising of Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 Drugs

Council has reviewed ACP’s policies respecting the advertising and promotion of Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 drugs. The following guidance takes into consideration that Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 drugs have risk profiles that are different from unscheduled drugs and, therefore, pharmacist oversight and intervention are required as outlined in ACP’s Standards of Practice for Pharmcists and Pharmacy Technicians. Therefore, sales must not be transacted over the internet through any website, application, or social media solution.

Restrictions on Advertising Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 Drugs

  • Any Schedule 2 or Schedule 3 drug that is advertised using any medium must be specifically identified as a Schedule 2 or a Schedule 3 drug and be advertised in a separate section of the advertisement from unscheduled products.
  • No representation may be made regarding Schedule 2 or Schedule 3 drugs other than with respect to the name, price, and quantity of the drugs.
  • Additional notification required:
    • In the case of Schedule 2 drugs, the advertisement must state that “these drugs must be stored and sold in the dispensary of a licensed pharmacy under the direct supervision of a pharmacist.”
    • In the case of Schedule 3 drugs, the advertisement must state that “these drugs must be stored, provided for sale, and sold only in the prescription department of a licensed pharmacy.”
    • The “additional information” must be included in the same section of the advertisement in which the Schedule 2 or Schedule 3 drug is advertised and must be set out in the same font or size as the description of the Schedule 2 of Schedule 3 drugs.

Council highlights:

  • Opiate Reduction Strategy – Council approved new guidelines for pharmacists when dispensing opiates. The guidelines address five requirements that are consistent with existing standards. Starting with this edition of THE LINK, we will communicate with registrants to support implementation of the new requirements on October 1, 2017.
  • Access to Non-Drug Alternatives to Pain Management – Council has supported a request from the Alberta Medical Association to promote improved access to non-drug alternatives for pain management. Complementary non-drug alternatives may assist in minimizing the need for drugs by some individuals.
  • Mifegymiso ®– Council approved new guidelines to support pharmacists when dispensing Mifegymiso®. Our guidance is informed by, and consistent with, what has been provided by the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. Pharmacists must not prescribe Mifegymiso®, as a requisite to prescribing is being able to interpret ultrasound results.
  • Point of Care Testing – Council reviewed and provided input to the framework for Point of Care testing being developed by ACP in partnership with RxA. The framework is being informed through round-table discussion with pharmacists, the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, CARNA, CPSA, and AHS. ACP will use the framework as a foundation for developing standards of practice and providing further guidance to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who use, instruct the use of, or sell POCT technologies in their practices.
  • Role Statements – Council has approved modernized “model” role statements for pharmacy technicians and pharmacists. These were informed through engagement with registrants over the past 18 months, as well as with other pharmacy regulatory organizations and regulators of other health professions in Alberta. ACP will use the model statements to assist in communicating expectations of pharmacy technicians and pharmacists with the public and other stakeholders. They will also be used to support updating of current role statements in section 19 of the Health Professions Act.
  • Change Name of ACP – Council has supported a proposal to change the name of the Alberta College of Pharmacists to the Alberta College of Pharmacy. Council supported this change, believing that it may be more inclusive and better reflect the scope of responsibilities that the college holds. To come into effect, government support is required through legislative amendments to Schedule 19 of the Health Professions Act.
  • Compounding and Repackaging Agreement with Saskatchewan – Council approved a model Compounding and Repackaging Agreement for pharmacies wishing to provide compounding and repackaging services to pharmacies in Saskatchewan. Since approving in principal, comments have been received from the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals. ACP will work with them to finalize the model agreement over the summer.
2016-2017 Annual Report now available online
June 26, 2017

ACP is pleased to share our 2016-2017 Annual Report, Ripples of change in the care of Albertans. Our report highlights what was an extraordinary year for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in Alberta.

During the year, ACP supported our registrants through many complex changes in the provision of health care including the decriminalization of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), distribution of Alberta’s Take Home Naloxone kits in the wake of the opioid crisis, and provision of pharmacy services for those displaced by the Fort McMurray wildfire.

In our annual report, you’ll see inspiring stories from Alberta pharmacy professionals making a real difference in their communities.

You’ll read about a hospital pharmacist in Edmonton who assisted a 58-year-old patient with terminal cancer make a comfortable transition out of palliative care to live out her remaining days at home.

You’ll learn about a Red Deer hospital pharmacist who helped a patient with acute bipolar depression avoid a trip to the ICU, or worse, by ordering lab tests and altering medications in the nick of time.

And you’ll discover a Calgary community pharmacist who, in just three months, enabled a diabetes patient to lose 10 kilograms, reduce his waistline by 15 centimetres, significantly drop his insulin requirement, and increase his mobility.

These are just a few examples of  the value Alberta pharmacy teams offer. We invite you to read our annual report; and reflect through the stories of pharmacy professionals, the individuals they serve, and how pharmacy teams are making a difference in their communities. 

 

 Read 2016-2017 Annual Report

Raising the bar on assessments
June 26, 2017

Appropriate assessments are the foundation of clinical care in pharmacy. In fact, having pharmacists provide appropriate assessments at each patient encounter is one ACP Council’s five strategic goals.

So how do we make this happen? 

Gathering data

“You need to gather sufficient information about the patient to assess and make clinical decisions effectively,” said Tim Fluet, one of the ACP practice consultants who visit Alberta pharmacies to inspect and provide support. “The quality of the assessment is really dependent on the data gathered.”

Having a connection with the patient is vital to gathering information.

“Engage with them whenever you can, get their feedback, and ask questions,” noted Tim. “Make yourself accessible to your patients as much as you can.”

Referencing Netcare is also crucial to providing patient assessments. Pharmacists should gather Netcare information throughout the day to assess for efficacy, adherence, and safety.

Utilize technicians, work flow

Technicians can also contribute by gathering information for the pharmacist, as long as pharmacists evaluate the information gathered to ensure that it’s comprehensive and use the information to assess the patient.

“That’s something I’m seeing in practice more often now—technicians playing a bigger role in gathering data to assist pharmacists with their assessments,” Tim said.

To get into a good assessment routine, Tim recommends a systematic process. Templates or assessment forms are often used to ensure enough information is gathered in a consistent way. Many software applications also facilitate this process. Have discussions with your pharmacy team to develop processes that works best in your pharmacy.

“It’s really important for the licensee and pharmacy team to work together to establish a high level of assessment quality,” he said. “It can be a challenge in a busy work environment, but you really owe it to your patients to provide the best care possible.”

Progress for Albertans

Tim also said the practice consultants are seeing some good progress when it comes to assessments, but there is still work to be done. It wasn’t long ago that asking the indication for a new prescription would have seemed excessive. Now it’s become a normal expectation for pharmacists and their patients.

“If you go back a few years our focus was on counselling,” he said. “We discussed potential side effects and how to take the medication. Now we’re making clinical decisions to improve patient care. That’s a huge step.”

Pharmacists are also getting better at putting the patient first by taking the time to listen and finding out what matters to them.

“It used to be, ‘I know what’s best for you,’” Tim said. “Now, it’s, ‘What would you like me to help you with?’”

Mike Bain and the Castor Pharmacy Museum
June 23, 2017

On Wednedsay, June 21, retired pharmacist Mike Bain was presented with the Alberta College of Pharmacists Honorary Life Membership award for his work in creating and curating the Castor Pharmacy Museum. The museum features original cabinetry, products and items found in Alberta pharmacies dating back to the late 1800s. It is a must-see for pharmacists and history buffs alike and is a true Alberta hidden gem. 

For more on Mike and the museum, please check out our video.


The museum is located at 5010 - 50 Avenue in Castor, Alberta. For information, call 403-882-3356.

Hearing notice: Valaykumar Rajgor
June 22, 2017
Hearing status Scheduled
Registrant Valaykumar Rajgor
Charge Unprofessional Conduct
Date September 12, 2017
Time 9:30 a.m.
Location

Alberta College of Pharmacists
1100 - 8215 112 Street NW
Edmonton, AB

 

In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.

To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre-registering is required.

Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.

Media inquiries are to be directed to Barry Strader, Communications Director, at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca

Sodium bicarbonate injectable shortage
June 21, 2017

There is currently a global shortage of sodium bicarbonate 8.4% (1mmol/mL) 50 mL vials for injection manufactured by Pfizer, which has left AHS with critical stock levels. This shortage has no confirmed end date.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) is working to preserve current stock, and restrict its use. Throughout the ongoing shortage, sodium bicarbonate will be reserved for patients in critical care and emergency, where alternatives are not available.

AHS is looking to purchase sodium bicarbonate 8.4% (1 mmol/mL) 50 mL vials from community pharmacies for emergency situations. Community pharmacies willing to sell their excess vials can contact Tracey Simpson, AHS Pharmacy Director of Procurement and Inventory at 780-735-0791 or Tracey.Simpson@ahs.ca.

Community pharmacies seeking alternate recipes for proton pump inhibitor (PPI) oral suspensions (e.g. omeprazole) in light of the sodium bicarbonate injection shortage are asked to call the PADIS Drug Information Line at 1-800-332-1414 (option 3 for Drug Information) or email to padis.info@ahs.ca  

Collaboration is important when caring for pediatric diabetes patients
June 21, 2017

The Pediatric Diabetes Clinic at the Alberta Children’s Hospital wants to remind you that most pediatric diabetes patients in the province are actively followed in a diabetes clinic. This means they have been thoroughly assessed and receive ongoing education to help them manage their diabetes.

“If your patient is being followed by a diabetes centre, you can be confident they are receiving ongoing care,” said Allison Husband, Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), Alberta Children’s Hospital. “Most children with type 1 diabetes either have a pediatric endocrinologist or will be followed by a diabetes centre with pediatric expertise.”

That being said, pharmacists play an important role in caring for pediatric diabetes patients. Every visit to the pharmacy is an opportunity to ask questions and ensure patients are using their medications in a safe and effective way. Allison offers some sample questions to help guide your conversations with patients and their parents/caregivers:

  • Have you received instruction on how to use your pen or meter?
  • Are you confident in using your meter or insulin pen?
  • Do you have any questions about giving insulin injections?
  • Do you understand how your insulins work?
  • Do you know when and how to use your glucagon emergency kit? (if prescribed)
  • How often do you have low blood sugar? How are you treating your lows? Do you carry treatments? Do you wear a medical alert?

These questions will also help you assess if more education is needed and how you may be able to assist your patient.

Prior to making any changes to a diabetes prescription, it is best to consult the prescriber. Disposable insulin pens are convenient and commonly used by adults, however they are not appropriate for young children who are on small doses of insulin. For this reason, pediatric centres usually provide ½ unit insulin pens.

“Think twice when recommending a different blood glucose meter,” said Allison. “When a diabetes education centre dispenses a meter, the family has been instructed on how to use it, and a lab to meter comparison is done to ensure that it is within the acceptable 15% range.”

All health care professionals working with individuals with diabetes are familiar with the goal of “treat to target” to help prevent debilitating long-term complications. Diabetes Canada (formerly known as the Canadian Diabetes Association) has recommended target A1c values for the pediatric population.

“These targets are treatment goals, and for most patients and families, are challenging to achieve,” said Allison. “Most families are aware of their child’s A1c level. At each clinic visit, strategies are explored to help maintain or lower it.”

In some cases, a multi-disciplinary team that includes a social worker and psychologist is needed to identify and address the issues that may be impacting diabetes self-care.

“We are all working to empower patients and families to manage diabetes well,” said Allison. “And to this end, it is important not to give conflicting messages. If you have any recommendations, questions or concerns about a shared pediatric patient, contact his or her pediatric team. It takes a village to raise a child—especially one who lives with type 1 diabetes.”

New prescribed activity for pharmacists - 2017/18 CE cycle
June 21, 2017

One of ACP’s strategic goals is to have comprehensive patient care records that include continuous documentation of pharmacist assessments, treatment plans, record of care, and monitoring results. Accordingly, as the prescribed activity for the 2017/2018 CE cycle, pharmacists must complete an e-learning module on Documenting Patient Care.

This four-part module will review fundamental concepts of documenting patient care, focusing on the notes documented at routine patient encounters. This interactive module will provide you with tools to help you to document more effectively and routinely at your practice.

Get an early start on your annual Continuing Competence Program (CCP) and earn up to two non-accredited CEUs by completing this Documenting Patient Care module found in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal today.

Summary of CCP requirements for pharmacists

A new CE cycle started June 1, 2017. If you plan to renew your practice permit, you must complete the following Continuing Competence Program (CCP) requirements by May 31, 2018:

  1. Complete the Documenting Patient Care module – the four chapters are available in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal
  2. Complete learning activities – Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle (June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018) and document each activity on a Learning Record
  3. Put your learning to use – Implement a minimum of one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an Implementation Record (you only need to complete one record)

Access all program materials in the CCP portal. For more information on the program, please refer to CCP requirements, review the CCP tutorial, and/or contact a member of the competence department.

More info on the Documenting Patient Care module

The module consists of four chapters. Each chapter will take approximately 30 minutes and is intended to be completed in one sitting.

After completing this module, you should be able to:

1. Describe the importance and benefits of documenting patient care.

2. Outline the standards of practice and the requirements for assessment and documentation.

3. Document patient care using the DAP format and evaluate the effectiveness of your documented notes.

4. Determine strategies to implement what you’ve learned in this module to your practice.

To claim your non-accredited CEUs for completing this module, remember to document what you’ve learned on a Learning Record.

Changes to which TPP prescriptions need to be sent to CPSA - effective July 1, 2017
June 21, 2017

As of July 1, 2017, the only TPP prescriptions you will need to send to the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) are prescriptions for compounded medications, office use, veterinary, and prescriptions from the Yukon.

Information regarding all other TPP prescriptions is provided to CPSA from dispensing events that are uploaded to Netcare. Currently, TPP data clerks sort through around 600,000 prescriptions a year just to find the prescriptions for compounded medications, office use, veterinary, or out of province prescriptions.

“From an operational perspective, it doesn’t make sense to sort through all the TPP prescriptions when such a large percentage is available from Netcare,” said Dale Cooney, Chair of the TPP Committee and ACP’s Deputy Registrar. “Since TPP is funded by the province and partner organizations, it’s important to look for efficiencies where possible. Asking pharmacists to send only copies of prescriptions where information is not available from Netcare allows program resources to be directed to where they are most needed.”

Please continue to mail TPP prescriptions for compounded medications, office use, veterinary, and the Yukon in the envelopes provided on a weekly basis. As for the rest of the TPP prescriptions, you can simply keep both copies – including the one you would normally send to CPSA – on file at your pharmacy. Alberta physicians have been instructed to continue providing two copies to the patient, so that is what you should expect to receive. You may need to adjust your workflow slightly to accommodate this change.

For more information, please visit the TPP resource page found on the CPSA website.

Precepting pays off for award winners
June 21, 2017

To be a preceptor or not to be a preceptor. That is the question for many pharmacists in Alberta.

For Tony Nickonchuk and Amanda Visscher, there was never a question.

Both are dedicated preceptors and have been for some time. Earlier this month, both were recognized for their efforts—Tony as Institutional Preceptor of the Year and Amanda as Community Preceptor of the Year.

“It was a no-brainer,” said Amanda of her decision to become a preceptor six years ago. “I had amazing preceptors myself so I knew that was something I wanted to do. And it’s so much fun for me and the pharmacy team. We have lucked out and had amazing interns. I know some pharmacists are on the fence about putting in the extra work. For me, it was always yes.”

Tony, a pharmacist at the Peace River Community Health Centre, agrees.

“It’s our responsibility,” he said. “None of us are forced to do it, but if all of us had the attitude that someone else would to it, there wouldn’t be any preceptors. It’s harder and easier than you think. Part of what makes precepting at our site great is we just do our job and we bring the student along with us. We throw them into our role and say, ‘This is what I would do in this situation, now go do it.’ We give them those opportunities.”

Both Tony and Amanda were thrilled that their students nominated them for the awards, and that they won. Amanda, from Edmonton, had been nominated before. But this is her first win, one year after her husband, Craig McAlpine, won the very same honour.

“I had always received the recognition buttons, then he was nominated once and got the award,” she laughed. “He got to rub that in my face for the year. As soon as I was notified that I had finally got it, I called him up. He did what I did to him: he hung up on me, which I expected. So now we’re even, although I have more nominations, so I’m a little bit ahead!”

For Amanda and Tony, precepting has been rewarding on many levels.

“It’s more of a learning experience for me,” Amanda said. “Even though the students are here and doing their rotations, it’s almost selfish for me because I get to learn so much more from them to stay current. These students are mini-pharmacists. They’re able to do everything that you throw at them.”

Tony enjoys teaching the students how to search for answers to complex problems. In the process, he learns, too.

“Precepting makes me a better pharmacist,” he said. “I have to be on my game and make the students realize I know what I’m doing. It pushes you to create the practice you want so the student sees what you want them to see. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and keep doing what you’re doing. Having students pushes me to do that much better.”

For information on how to become a preceptor—and maybe win an award like Tony and Amanda—visit pharmacists.ab.ca/spt.

ACP office closed for Canada Day
June 14, 2017

Happy Canada Day!

Our office will be closed on Monday, July 3, 2017, in observance of Canada Day (July 1).  We will reopen at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 4, 2017.

Pharmacy licensee hours benchmark: FAQs
June 13, 2017

In the May 24 edition of the Link, we provided background information about why the registrar had set a benchmark requiring that pharmacy licensees be present at their pharmacy at least 30 hours per week or 75 per cent of the time that the pharmacy provides services, whichever is less.  

The following FAQs provide further insight about why the benchmark was established, how it will be administered, and what licensees should do if it is not possible to meet the benchmark.

1.    Why was the benchmark established? 

Section 5.01(1) (a) (iii) of The Pharmacy and Drug Act states: “The Registrar may issue a license referred to in section 5 to an applicant if the Registrar is satisfied that … the applicant … will personally manage, control and supervise the practice of pharmacy in the licensed pharmacy.” The Act, Regulations, and Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies outline further requirements and responsibilities of licensees.  

ACP’s pharmacy practice consultants have observed that some licensees have been frequently absent from their pharmacies. These inordinate absences have led to licensees not adequately fulfilling their responsibilities.  

2.    Why are pharmacy licensees important to pharmacy practice?

Pharmacy licensees are responsible for the management, supervision, and control of the practice of pharmacy at all licensed pharmacies. Therefore, they are responsible for the oversight of all practices at the pharmacy, providing leadership and mentoring that optimizes the performance of their pharmacy teams. This includes ensuring that policies, procedures, and systems are in place, and monitored, to provide safe, effective, and responsible pharmacy practice. 

ACP Council has identified the effectiveness of licensees as being a critical success factor to the acceptable and effective operation of pharmacies and the performance of pharmacy team members. ACP’s business plan identifies our intention to standardize rules for becoming a licensee. 

3.    Why was the benchmark of 30 hours established?

The legislation was developed on the premise that a licensee would be a clinical pharmacist, practicing at the pharmacy for which they hold a license, and who would be present for a regular and significant portion of the time that services are provided from the pharmacy. This presence is important to the oversight responsibilities of licensees. 

4.    What does it mean to be present?

To interpret the benchmark, being present means being in attendance at the pharmacy. It does not mean that the licensee must be engaged in patient care activities for the duration of this time, as time is required to fulfill their licensee responsibilities.  

5.    What does the benchmark of 30 hours mean?

The Licensee Undertaking and Application states, “Licensees must be in attendance in the pharmacy a minimum of 30 hours per week or 75 per cent of the pharmacy operating hours (whichever is less) except during licensee vacation.” Interpretation of the benchmark will also accommodate absence due to short term illness. Consistent with the answer to question 4, the benchmark will be interpreted to be at the pharmacy, not in the pharmacy. This interpretation more appropriately addresses the importance of being present, not necessarily always being engaged in patient care activities.  

6.    Does a licensee need to advise ACP every time they go on vacation?

No. This benchmark is meant to address the usual and customary presence of the licensee. To clarify, licensees are responsible to ensure that oversight is delegated to another clinical pharmacist when they are away. If the licensee is unable to be present at the pharmacy for an extraordinary period, the licensee should notify ACP of the clinical pharmacist appointed to provide oversight of the pharmacy in their absence. This interpretation should also apply when the licensee is unable to be present for successive lengthy periods of time. ACP has not set a benchmark for this; however, an example might be if the licensee was unable to be present incidentally due to vacation or illness for an extended period (i.e.: two months), they should advise ACP.

7.    What should I do if I am applying for or renewing a license and I determine that I cannot regularly be present at the pharmacy an average of 30 hours per week, or 75 per cent of the time that services are provided from it (whichever is less)?

If you cannot meet the benchmark described in the question, then you may:

  1. determine if there is another clinical pharmacist on your pharmacy team who has the interest and ability to fulfil the responsibilities of a licensee and have them apply for a pharmacy license; or,
  2. apply to the registrar and provide additional evidence about how you will fulfill the responsibilities of a licensee, when being present for a lesser period. This additional evidence will be used to adjudicate whether it is appropriate to issue a pharmacy license in your name, and whether any conditions should be prescribed. If this is the case, you should contact the registrar as soon as possible to discuss your situation.  Key questions to be addressed include, but may not be limited to:
    1. On average, approximately how many hours do you attend the pharmacy each week? (This may include practice hours in the dispensary and hours that you dedicate to management and other responsibilities.)
    2. What processes do you have in place to monitor, support, and evaluate the performance of your team members?
    3. What processes do you have in place to regularly evaluate systems and processes within your pharmacy to identify opportunities to mitigate risk and/or improve the quality of care provided?

If something goes wrong in your absence, what are your policies and procedures to deal with it?

We have experienced situations where a pharmacy is open for relatively short hours, and where professional services are provided by two clinical pharmacists, each practicing on a regular part-time basis (one being the licensee). Despite neither being present for an average of 30 hours per week, adequate information has been provided to allow the registrar to be satisfied that the licensee will be present regularly, and through supporting policies and procedures, able to provide the oversight necessary to meet the requirements of the Act. 

8.    I have been asked to indicate whether my pharmacy provides services to individuals who reside outside of Alberta. What does this mean? 

The Pharmacy and Drug Act was developed to govern the operation of licensed pharmacies in Alberta, to protect Albertans. We are interested in identifying pharmacies that regularly dispense drugs and/or provide professional advice to individuals residing/located in jurisdictions outside of Alberta. This does not include services provided to those who are in Alberta on an incidental basis for vacation or work. 

 

Compounding and repackaging pharmacies to cease serving pharmacies in British Columbia
June 12, 2017

Alberta pharmacies that hold a Compounding and Repackaging License are being asked not to provide services to pharmacies in British Columbia, pending further legal review of a Compounding and Repackaging Agreement between Alberta and BC.

In April, ACP Council approved, in principle, a model contract to facilitate compounding and repackaging services to be provided from Alberta to pharmacies licensed with the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia (CPBC). However, CPBC responded that section 13.1 of their bylaws states: 

13. (1) A community pharmacy may outsource prescription processing if (a) all locations involved in the outsourcing are community pharmacies, (b) all prescriptions dispensed are labeled and include an identifiable code that provides a complete audit trail for the dispensed drug, and (c) a notice is posted informing patients that the preparation of their prescription may be outsourced to another pharmacy. (2) The manager of an outsourcing community pharmacy must ensure that all applicable standards of practice are met in processing prescriptions at all locations involved in the outsourcing. (3) In this section, “community pharmacy” includes a hospital pharmacy.

The reference to “community pharmacies” is limited by definition, to pharmacies licensed in British Columbia.  This means that pharmacies in BC cannot outsource prescription preparation functions to pharmacies in other jurisdictions, including Alberta.  

CPBC has requested further legal review of the model contract in context with their bylaw, to determine if a solution is possible to move this agreement forward.

“Our legal counsel has advised that distinct model agreements are required to support compounding and repackaging services delivered to other jurisdictions,” said Greg Eberhart, ACP Registrar. “Therefore, until CPBC finds a legal solution to accommodate the proposed contract—which is required by Alberta’s Pharmacy and Drug Regulation—we’re asking compounding and repackaging pharmacies in Alberta to cease serving pharmacies licensed in BC.”

In April, Health Canada affirmed opportunity to further amend the contract required for serving community pharmacies licensed with ACP. Permission to compound and repackage controlled substances will be allowed by compounding and repackaging pharmacies, if they are registered with Health Canada as a licensed dealer. (Licensees of compounding and repackaging pharmacies will be notified and forwarded amended model contracts in June.)

Compounding and repackaging talks underway with Saskatchewan

In the meantime, ACP has begun discussions with the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals, and is working toward the possibility of facilitating compounding and repackaging services from Alberta into Saskatchewan. Council’s goal is to consider this in late June; however, this will depend on the colleges’ ability to achieve clarity and agreement on terminology between jurisdictions.

Updated Patient Concerns Management framework
June 9, 2017

Listening to and managing concerns is inevitable for any organization and the healthcare sector is no exception.

The recently updated Patient Concerns Management framework - now available on the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) website - provides guiding principles, a Patient Concerns Management Model, suggested process steps, and practical assistance to facilitate a consistent approach to patient concerns management and resolution processes throughout the province.

It can also be used to help pharmacy licensees assess current policies and procedures for responding to patient concerns.

ACP participated in updating this framework document and encourages all licensees, pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians to review and use the framework when responding to patient concerns and as part of the pharmacy’s quality improvement processes.

This framework can be used in conjunction with other resources such as the ReLATE/ReSPOND Tool Kit, the ACP/ISMP Quick Reference Guide.

 

 Read the framework

ACP celebrates Class of 2017 with annual Grad Breakfast
June 9, 2017

Practice with compassion.

That was the advice from keynote speaker Gina Giurguis to the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Class of 2017 at ACP’s annual Grad Breakfast in Edmonton on Thursday, June 8, 2017. 

Gina, a U of A alumna (Class of 2012) and clinical pharmacist in Calgary, told those about to enter the profession to truly care for their patients and listen to them.

“Each patient has a story that you may know nothing about,” she told the crowd of over 200 grads, family, and friends. “Let your patients be your driving force.”

She also encouraged new grads to embrace the full scope of practice pharmacists enjoy in Alberta, including applying for their additional prescribing authorization.

“Get out there and make a difference,” Gina said. “Don’t underestimate your influence.”

The Grad Breakfast was also a chance to celebrate outstanding achievement with several award presentations.

Helen Marin, who served as the Alberta Pharmacy Students’ Association president, took home the APSA Past President Award and the Value Drug Mart Leadership Award.

“It represents the support I’ve had so far, not only from family and friends, but from the pharmacists I’ve had interactions with,” said Helen. “They’ve been passionate about providing patient-centered care and it motivated me to be the best leader I can and to try to make a difference.”

Helen is passionate about leadership and feels the future of pharmacy depends on it.

“The right type of leadership drives change and positivity,” she said. “Leadership is needed in the profession to move it forward. Health care is going to keep evolving and we need to evolve with it. We need leaders for that.”

The Faculty also handed out its Preceptor of the Year Awards. Tony Nickonchuk from the Peace River Community Health Centre was named Institutional Preceptor of the Year, while Edmonton’s Amanda Visscher earned Community Preceptor of the Year honours. (More on the preceptor award winners in our next issue of the Link.)

And Jenna Buxton won the ACP Gold Medal for outstanding academic achievement.

Other highlights from the breakfast included Registrar Greg Eberhard leading the grads as they recited the ACP Code of Ethics. And ACP President Taciana Pereira encouraged the future pharmacists to seek out mentors and learn from their peers.

“Listen to people who see things in you that you may not see in yourself,” Taciana said. “This is your career and it starts now. Enjoy the journey.”

ACP Committee Appointments
June 9, 2017

Thank you to all the pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who have served and continue to serve on ACP committees. Your unique perspectives, ideas, and opinions are incredibly valuable to the college and to the advancement of pharmacy practice in Alberta.

We are pleased to announce the appointment and re-appointment of the following committee members. All appointments are for a 3 year term unless otherwise noted.

Competence Committee

  • Cheryl Harten – Chair (2 years)
  • Teresa Hennessey – Vice-chair (1 year)
  • Trevor Bills
  • Jill Hall
  • Nikky Olaosebikan

Hearing Tribunal Pool

  • First term
    • Mary Guenther
    • Sarah Gutenberg
    • Jennifer Teichroeb
    • Don Ridley
    • Anita McDonald
    • Tyler Watson
    • Peter Macek
       
  • Second term
    • Ahmed Rizwan
    • Christopher Heitland
    • Kevin Kowalchuk
    • Hugoi Leung
    • Judy Parrott
    • Teryn Wasileyko

Health Professions Act (HPA) Section 65 Review Committee:

  • Jim Johnston
  • Anita Warnick
May 2017 Health Product InfoWatch
June 1, 2017

The Health Product InfoWatch is a monthly publication intended primarily for healthcare professionals. It provides clinically relevant safety information on pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and natural health products.

The goal of the Health Product InfoWatch is to raise awareness and to provide clinically relevant information to healthcare professionals concerning marketed health products and their safety. In some cases, information is intended to stimulate reporting of similar adverse reactions. Each publication includes a monthly recap of health product advisories and summary safety reviews, as well as a growing selection of new health product safety information.

In this issue:

Pharmacy licence renewals - minimum hours for licensees
May 26, 2017

ACP’s Pharmacy Practice Consultants have noticed some licensees have been frequently absent from their pharmacies. In many cases, these absences have led to licensees not adequately fulfilling their responsibilities.  

As a reminder, the Pharmacy and Drug Act requires that “The Registrar be satisfied that…the applicant for a pharmacy licence will personally manage, control and supervise the practice of pharmacy in the licensed pharmacy…” The responsibilities of licensees are more explicitly addressed in the regulations and the Standards for the Operation of  Licensed Pharmacies.  

Effectiveness of licensees critical to success

“ACP Council has identified the effectiveness of licensees as being a critical success factor to the acceptable and effective operation of pharmacies and the performance of pharmacy team members,” said Greg Eberhart, Registrar. “ACP’s business plan identifies our intention to standardize rules for becoming a licensee. We’ll share more details on this in late 2017 and throughout 2018.”

In the interim, the Registrar has set a benchmark requiring licensees to be in attendance at the pharmacy for which they hold a licence for a minimum of 30 hours per week or 75 per cent of the hours that the pharmacy is open to the public, whichever is less. All applications for pharmacy licences will be assessed against the benchmark. This will help mitigate concern that licensees may not be able to fulfill their responsibilities in accordance with the Act and Regulations when they are significantly absent.

Meeting the benchmark 

In applying this benchmark reasonableness will be exercised, recognizing that licensees may have responsibilities that require them to be away from the pharmacy from time to time. Reasonableness will accommodate absence for vacation and illness, taking frequency, duration, and supporting policies and procedures into consideration (e.g. short term delegation of supervisory authority to another pharmacist).

If an application is received where a licensee/applicant is not able to meet the benchmark, the Registrar will consider the application, if supported by additional documentation demonstrating how the licensee/applicant will consistently fulfill their responsibilities under the Act to “…personally manage, control and supervise the practice of pharmacy in the licensed pharmacy…”

The Registrar may do one of the following: approve the application, approve the application with conditions, or decline the application. Should an application for a pharmacy licence be issued with conditions, or declined, the Registrar will provide reasons for the decision. In such cases, the applicant may appeal the decision to Council.

“Our goal is that pharmacy licensees will have a substantial presence, and in context with the requirements of the Act, provide leadership and the necessary support to their pharmacy team members,” said Greg Eberhart, Registrar. “This is all done so that pharmacy teams can excel in serving individuals depending on their care. That is why we are committed to developing our pharmacy licensee program."

Learning a lifelong journey for ACP's new competence director
May 26, 2017

For 11 years, Pam Timanson helped shape the minds of Edmonton high school students as a biology and chemistry teacher. Her favourite moments occurred when one of her students would really grasp what she was teaching.

“I think you’re almost as excited as the student is,” Pam said. “There’s a sense of pride in the student that they worked hard, they figured it out, and they finally got it. It’s a feel-good moment. The best part of working with the students though, was getting to know them and building those relationships.”

Pam will now apply that experience to continuing education as ACP’s new competence director. It’s her first foray into education for professionals since completing both her master’s degree in education at the University of Calgary and her doctorate in philosophy, specializing in educational administration and leadership at the University of Alberta. In earning her PhD, Pam researched how teachers learn from each other in the workplace.

“I was extremely fortunate to work in a couple of schools with teachers who were willing to work together as much as we could,” Pam said. “From those experiences, I learned the value of collaboration and came to really value that type of learning. When I did my master’s work on workplace and adult learning, I discovered that there wasn’t a lot of research done on teacher learning and, in particular, informal learning. I also learned that type of learning with teachers wasn’t as valued as going to professional development workshops or sessions. I wanted to explore that in greater detail.”

As she completed her PhD, Pam also led a module of a course for Pharm D students at the U of A, focusing on qualitative research and how it can be applied in pharmacy practice.

“I talked about the importance of gaining the perspectives of patients and other pharmacists,” she said. “A lot of students, once they got a sense of what it was, saw what you could do with the information that comes from interviews. It can really give a different perspective on what they’re trying to do.”

Pam also worked as a program consultant and performed a literature review for the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The review focused on various teaching methods used in post-secondary programs within pharmacy and other professional healthcare faculties. The literature review supported the revision of the Pharm D program curriculum, which was recently approved and is set for implementation in September 2018.

In other words, she’s no stranger to pharmacy.

“The part I found most exciting was coming into the pharmacy world from an outside perspective,” she said. “I find workplace and adult learning in professional practices very exciting. Being able to apply that theoretical basis to a real situation is a new challenge.”

As competence director, Pam hopes to support pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in evolving their careers so they can grow as professionals, and have a sense of pride in their work and their continued learning.

“I’d like them to be open to a variety of ways to learn,” Pam said. “When I was looking at the competence program, I was excited to see that we do acknowledge informal learning and collaboration with colleagues. That’s huge. I come from a world where that wasn’t as valued. To have that valued, that’s really wonderful."

Are your uploads going through? The importance of accurate information in Netcare: Part 2
May 26, 2017

If your pharmacy hasn’t batched data onto Netcare for 30 days, you can expect a call from the Professional Services division at Alberta Health. The Professional Services division works with Alberta Health’s Drug Domain Team, who is responsible for reviewing monthly Pharmacy Batch Submission Reports to ensure compliance with the ministry order.

Most of the time, pharmacy teams are unaware that something has gone wrong within their pharmacy software or its connection to Netcare.

“If you aren’t getting any rejection reports, there’s a chance your information isn’t being uploaded to Netcare at all,” says Jim Krempien, ACP Complaints Director. “A good way to test this is to look at a patient’s file you’ve recently updated and make sure the most current information is there.”

If you notice the information you recently added is missing, you should contact the Alberta Netcare help desk for health professionals at 1-877-931-1638.

Best Possible Medication History

There are many reasons why it’s important to have complete, accurate information in Netcare. One example is the recently added Best Possible Medication History (BPMH) tab. This tab is auto-generated by Netcare using Pharmacy Information Network (PIN) data.

“It’s important to keep in mind that BPMH tab has not been confirmed or vetted by a pharmacist, and only includes information generated from within the system,” says Jim. “If batch uploads haven’t gone through, the most current information will not be available to populate the BPMH.”

In fact, ACP has received reports of health care professionals assuming, as the name might suggest, the BPMH has been vetted by a health professional. If pharmacy dispensing data is unknowingly missing from PIN, this omission could result in harm to patients.

Since the information in Netcare can be used by health professionals for providing health services, conducting research, or generating reports, it’s important that we do our part to ensure it’s as accurate and current as possible.

Watch for additional information on BPMH in future editions of The Link.

Don't forget to press submit! (CCP for pharmacists)
May 26, 2017

With the deadline to complete your professional portfolios coming up on May 31, there is one button all pharmacists will be pressing: the submit button. But where is it exactly? If you’re not sure, you’re not alone. The submit button can be found on the home page of the CCP portal. It’s the last step in submitting that awesome professional portfolio you’ve been working on!

“We find that many pharmacists complete their professional portfolios, but are unable to complete renewal because they have yet to actually 'submit' their professional portfolio,” said Denise Brooks, Competence Administrator. “They complete their implementation record, but forget to go back to the home page to click on the submit button. It’s a small step, but an important one!”

To help make this process smoother, the Competence Team has developed a handy Guide to Submitting Your Professional Portfolio, available on the ACP website. It includes step-by-step instructions – complete with screen shots of the CCP portal – to successfully submit your portfolio and move on to your renewal.

 

Imodium high potentially fatal: CBC News
May 24, 2017

Canada’s emergency room physicians are being warned to watch for increasing misuse and abuse of loperamide, the main ingredient in the over-the-counter diarrhea medication “Imodium.” Drug misusers are taking massive doses of Imodium—up to 200 tablets a day—as a cheap way to either help with opioid withdrawal or achieve a euphoric high. The recommended maximum daily dose is eight tablets.

People who abuse Imodium will put hundreds of tablets in a blender, make a smoothie, and drink it, causing quick absorption of the drug.

As CBC recently reported, taking extremely large doses of Imodium can cause serious side effects, including death.

“We want pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in Alberta to know that this misuse is happening and to increase awareness about loperamide sales at their pharmacy,” said ACP Deputy Registrar Dale Cooney. “One possible way to address the issue is to only stock a limited number of packages of Imodium on your shelves at any given time. That way, someone who is looking for larger amounts would have to ask. Those who ask should be referred to a pharmacist. That conversation could save someone’s life.”

ACP office closed for Victoria Day
May 19, 2017

Our office will be closed on Monday, May 22, 2017 (Victoria Day). We will reopen during regular business hours on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

Have a safe and enjoyable long weekend!

Common mistakes you could be making: The importance of accurate information in Netcare
May 15, 2017

What’s the risk of inaccurate, outdated information in Netcare? Perhaps more than you think. Inaccurate dispensing information can cause confusion, call into question the drug being prescribed, and result in delay of patient care.

As the information on Netcare becomes more complete, comprehensive and easier to access (by an ever-increasing number of health care providers) it becomes even more important for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the data they are uploading.

TPP data integrity

In the next few issues of The Link, we’ll talk about data integrity and share tips to avoid common mistakes. This week we focus on Alberta’s Triplicate Prescription Program (TPP).

The College of Physicians and Surgeons, which manages the TPP program, has identified a large number of prescriptions where the incorrect prescriber number has been entered. Since January 2017, TPP's Administrator has contacted over 150 pharmacies regarding data entry errors related to 95 physicians and over 300 patients.

“About 85 per cent of the errors we see are caused by entering the triplicate prescriber identification number instead of the registration/licence number,” says Ed Jess, Manager of Prescribing, Analytics and Continuing Competence at CPSA. “The triplicate number for one physician could be the same as the registration/licence number for another. This is how the wrong physician ends up in the system.”

Other times it’s because there is more than one prescriber with the same first, last, and in some cases, middle name.

“Sometimes location can be a clue, as chances are these physicians don’t live in the same city, but even that’s possible, so it’s always best to double-check to make sure you have the right one,” says Ed.

Patient impact

How might recording the wrong prescriber impact a patient? Let’s say a patient is admitted to the ER and the attending physician wants to contact the prescriber about a medication or a patient attends a new pharmacy and the pharmacist needs to contact the prescriber. If the wrong prescriber is listed, it may take a long time to identify and reach the correct one. This could delay care.

Please confirm that the prescriber numbers in your system are correct by checking the prescriber licence number when filling a triplicate prescription. At a minimum, check that the prescriber’s licence number is not the same as the triplicate identification number that appears on the triplicate prescription. If the numbers match or if there is a generic physician licence number in your system, you will need to update your files. Prescriber numbers are available in the Prescriber Lists section of ACP’s website. If you’re still not sure, picking up the phone to verify the prescriber is always a good idea.

Watch for more in this series on data integrity over the next few issues of The Link. 

Increase in International Pharmacy Graduates in Alberta trending
May 15, 2017

Globe

Council has seen a large growth in the number of International Pharmacy Graduates seeking licensure in Alberta.  

It’s been on Council’s radar for the last two years and it’s now been determined a trend.

Growth in Alberta

The number of international pharmacy graduates (IPGs) looking to earn their licence in Alberta has quadrupled in the last four years, from 109 in 2013 to 409 in 2016. That’s in addition to the average of 130 University of Alberta graduates who enter the provisional register each year.

The increased number of IPGs each year is putting pressure on pharmacies and preceptors who are willing to help train interns at their locations.

“We want to make sure all interns have quality Structured Practical Training (SPT) experiences,” said Taciana Pereira, ACP Council President. “With the volume of practitioners who are requiring a spot, it’s becoming a challenge. I think it’s becoming unsustainable, especially with the new PharmD program at the University of Alberta, which will lead to more requirements for preceptors. Just by virtue of capacity, we’re running out of spots for interns."

Council reviewing policies

Why has Alberta seen such a dramatic increase in IPGs looking to earn their licences here? Taciana believes the answer is twofold.

“One of the contributing factors is that our scope of practice in Alberta attracts people to come and want to practice in Alberta, which is great,” she said. “Another contributing factor, though, is that other provinces have implemented some policy changes that create differences in the steps required to enter practice as a licensed pharmacist. There are fewer steps in Alberta and I think that’s appealing to some people who are coming to practice pharmacy in Canada.”

To help create a level playing field, Council is reviewing policies in other provinces, such as the bridging programs that exist in BC and Ontario.

Nurture the profession

ACP will also further review its SPT program, to ensure that the experiences provided and the assessments conducted truly address the scope of practice in Alberta. In the meantime, Taciana encourages more pharmacists in Alberta to consider becoming preceptors.

“Absolutely. In fact, that’s in our code of ethics in terms of nurturing the profession,” she said. “When we become pharmacists in Alberta, we commit to participating in the education of provisional pharmacists and pharmacy technicians."


Related topics

 Structured Practical Training (SPT) for pharmacists

 Become an SPT Preceptor

9 things pharmacists need to know about the competence program
May 11, 2017


The May 31, 2017 deadline for pharmacists to complete their Continuing Competence Program (CCP) requirements is fast-approaching. Some important things to keep in mind:
 

1. Non-accredited programs count.

If there are non-accredited courses or activities you’d like to participate in that are applicable to your practice, you can use those towards your CEUs. Just make sure to show the connection in your reflections. There’s no requirement for how many of your CEUs need to be accredited programs versus non-accredited.

“We understand there are a lot of great non-accredited programs out there,” said Debbie, ACP’s Registration Director (and former Competence Director). “After you participate in a non-accredited program, it’s up to you to determine if it’s biased or relevant to pharmacy. There are a lot of programs that are accredited for nurses or physicians that you may claim as non-accredited CEUs if they apply to your practice. And regardless of whether you do accredited or non-accredited programs, you go through the same process of reflecting on the learning and entering them in your learning record.”


2. You don’t have to include EVERYTHING you learned in your learning record.

The learning record is your chance to reflect. Stick to the highlights or your personal takeaways from the learning activity. Still, put some thought into your responses and avoid giving one-word answers. Show the assessors you’re engaged in the continuing education process.


3. You can select more than one learning record in your implementation record.

It says you can select one or more learning records, so if you have more, select more! And remember, your implementation record needs to be able to link back to your learning record.

“It’s to your benefit to list all relevant learning activities that are applicable to your implementation,” said Debbie.


4. Have “SMART” objectives.

Your learning objectives should be: Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic, and Time-based. In other words: SMART.

“If it’s not clear what you’re trying to achieve, it’s hard to tell if you’ve achieved it,” said Debbie.


5. Show your evidence

If you did a PowerPoint presentation for your colleagues or updated your policies and procedures based on what you learned, share those documents (the entire documents) as evidence in your implementation record. Keep in mind assessors want to know that you have already applied your learning, not that you plan on applying it. Your implementation must be completed in the current CE cycle.


6. The CCP portal is open 24/7, 365.

You don’t have to wait until registration is open to enter your learning activities. The portal is just like 7-Eleven: always open. 


7. Optional means optional.

You’re not required to answer the optional questions in your learning record. They’re meant to get you thinking about potential implementation objectives. If you prefer to save those thoughts for your implementation record, that’s okay.


8. Spread out your learning over the course of the year.

If you plan ahead, you’ll have a better chance of participating in learning activities that are of interest to you or most relevant to your practice. Leaving things until the last minute limits your options.


9. You’re completing your competence training for you.

It’s in the pharmacists’ code of ethics that you continue your education throughout your career. As a health care professional, maintaining competence is in your—and your patients’—best interest.



Additional resources you may like: 
 

 CCP tutorial video

 Examples of Implementation Objectives

 How to write SMART objectives

Be warm, smile, and listen: How pharmacy professionals can help with drug misuse
May 11, 2017

Pamela Spurvey, a Peer Support Worker with Alberta Health Services, was a guest speaker at ACP's first Leadership Symposium this past April in Calgary.


For most of her adult life, when Pamela Spurvey walked into a pharmacy, she didn’t feel welcome. She could tell by the body language and facial expressions of those behind the counter that she was being judged.

Pamela had been struggling with mental health issues and drug addictions.

“You feel stigmatized,” said Pamela (pictured above). “You're already feeling bad things about yourself and now you’re feeling them from that person standing in front of you. That makes it even harder to ask them for help or support.”

Recently, Pamela celebrated 10 years of sobriety. She has literally turned her life around and is now a peer support worker with Alberta Health Services and a mentor with the Edmonton Drug Treatment Team.

In April, she was asked to share her story at ACP’s first Leadership Symposium and encourage pharmacy professionals to re-think how they deal with individuals who misuse drugs.

Pamela’s story is both heart-wrenching and inspiring.

Negative cycles 

Growing up, she was surrounded by addiction, and mental and physical abuse. As a teenager, despite excelling in education and sports, she was forced to quit school and get a job to help support her family. Eventually, she fell into a self-destructive lifestyle. Drugs. Crime. Teen parenthood. Every now and then, she would get a wake-up call and try the straight and narrow.

Each time she failed.

You get used to the chaos and that disabling lifestyle.

“How could I have a normal lifestyle when I didn’t know what that was?" she said. "When I tried to normalize, I felt uncomfortable and that I didn’t deserve it, so I would go back to these dark places. That’s where I felt I belonged.”

Authority figures constantly told Pamela to clean up her act and take specific steps to do it. Problem is, she wasn’t ready. Eventually, though, she got there.

“I got tired of feeling hopeless and sad all the time,” she said. “Self-hatred. Feeling judged. Anxiety. Fear. Not being trusted. Seeing my children suffer. Feeling defeated. The biggest part was when my own child had to start taking care of me. I was homeless, sleeping on my oldest son’s couch. He was the caregiver because I was sick from my own drug misuse. That just didn’t feel right. I wanted to be well.”

Helping hands on the journey to recovery 

When she was finally ready to get help, Pamela was given choices how to set out her recovery journey. That made all the difference. Pamela believes that as front-line health care professionals, pharmacy technicians and pharmacists have a genuine opportunity to make a difference for those who misuse drugs.

“You’ve got to see beyond the drug misuse and have an honest conversation with that person,” she said. “Find out what’s really happening with them. It’s incredible what you’d see. It would open a lot of doors.”

You can even help by simply explaining important points about their prescriptions and not making assumptions. Pamela recalls many instances when prescriptions weren’t explained to her.

“I didn’t know that if I stopped taking my anti-depressants for four days, then start them again, and then not take them for another few days that I was causing a chemical imbalance in my brain,” she said. “I was causing my depression to go all over the place. I was making things worse for myself. Nothing was explained to me. When I got the right pharmacist and all those things were explained to me, I was like, ‘Oh! I didn’t know that.’”

Her final piece of advice to pharmacy professionals is to be warm, smile, and listen.

“If you listen to someone’s story, you’ll be able to see their potential. They can’t see it in themselves sometimes.”

Because someone finally listened to Pamela and saw her as a person, a mom, a member of the community, she was able to realize her full potential and make a difference for so many others.

Council update
May 10, 2017

Council convened on April 27 and 28 in Calgary. The following is a summary of council’s deliberations:

Pharmacy Human Resources: ACP has experienced an extraordinary influx of International Pharmacy Graduates (IPG) in the past two years, partly stimulated by policies in other jurisdictions. Current trending is outpacing the growth in Alberta’s population, and is greater than the growth in the number of pharmacists required in Alberta. This is also impacting the availability of opportunities for Structured Practical Training.

Registration policies for foreign candidates in other Canadian jurisdictions have been studied and discussed with Alberta Health and Alberta Labour. It is clear that a common standard for entry-to-practice is required.

Council is committed to ensuring the competence of individuals at entry-to-practice. Council recognizes the importance of Structured Practical Training (SPT) as part of this process. It has noted that SPT should provide a rigorous opportunity for candidates to observe, practice, and demonstrate skills required at entry to practice in context with pharmacist practice in Alberta. Therefore, council has requested that ACP continue to enhance the policies, rules, and processes within the structured practical training program, with a view to ensuring all candidates are able to practice within the context of the scope of practice for pharmacists in Alberta.

Executive Committee – Council received a report from its Nominating Committee. Stan Dyjur was elected as President–elect and Mary O’Neill was elected as Executive Member at Large for the 2017-18 council term. Commencing July 1, 2017, ACP’s Executive Committee will include:

  • Brad Couldwell (District 5) – President
  • Stan Dyjur (District 4) – President-elect
  • Mary O’Neill (Public Member) – Executive Member at Large
  • Taciana Pereira (District 3) – Past-president

Legalization of Cannabis – Council reviewed recent announcements from the federal government, observing that it is government’s intent to decriminalize and legalize cannabis for recreational use, and pending further research, to continue existing regulations with respect to cannabis for medical use.

Motions were passed to support policies that will:

  • Prohibit the sale of cannabis for recreational use from pharmacies; and,
  • Restrict the use of the term "dispensary” and any other terms or symbols such as a “green cross” that may imply the professional status of, or the provision of professional services from, any entity that is not regulated under the Pharmacy and Drugs Act or other provincial legislation that regulates health professionals or health facilities.

ACP will continue to engage with other regulators to develop policy about the use of cannabis for medical use. In the short term, pharmacists should include screening for cannabis use, as it would for any other substances used for recreational purposes, when assessing individuals’ health and drug therapy needs. Additionally, registrants are reminded that current legislation does not allow for the growing, storage, dispensing, compounding, or sale of cannabis from pharmacies. ACP's current policy is:

  1. Marihuana, in any form, including any derivative, must not be produced in the premises of a licensed pharmacy.
  2. None of the other activities referred to in Section 22 of the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, SOR/2016- 230, may be conducted in a licensed pharmacy.
  3. No licensee or proprietor of a licensed pharmacy may be a licensed producer as defined in the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations.
  4. No regulated member of the college may be a licensed producer or responsible person in charge as defined in the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations at the same time that the regulated member engages in the practice of pharmacy.

Opiate Reduction – Council was briefed about deliberations by Alberta’s Opiate Reduction Advisory Committee, including policies that are being considered to impact the prescribing and use of opiates. Amongst those discussed were the possibility of quantitative limits on prescriptions, and a requirement for all pharmacists to review patient records in NETCARE prior to dispensing any substance that may be misused. Council will further discuss these and other policy alternatives at its meeting in June.

DRAFT Compounding and Repackaging Agreement for Services Delivered to British Columbia – Council approved a modified agreement, required by any Compounding and Repackaging Pharmacy that provides services to a licensed pharmacy located in British Columbia. Due to the interjurisdictional nature of this service, the model agreement is more rigorous than that for services delivered to Alberta pharmacies, particularly with respect to privacy requirements. Subject to review by the College of Pharmacists in British Columbia, it is Council’s intent that this model agreement will become a requirement effective June 1, 2017.

Compounding and Repackaging of Controlled Substances – Correspondence was received from Health Canada enabling the Compounding and Repackaging of Controlled Substances by a Compounding and Repackaging Pharmacy, subject to qualifying as a “licensed dealer” under federal legislation. The model agreement required by Compounding and Repackaging Pharmacies that provide services to Alberta licensed pharmacies is being amended, and will be made available in early June.

e-Health - Council received presentation from Kim Wierenga, ADM Health Information Systems Division Alberta Health about:

  • Alberta’s e-health strategy with emphasis on AHS’s Clinical Information System
  • Integration of Community-based Health Records
  • E-rxing
  • MyHealth (Alberta’s patient health portal)

Alberta Health has committed to Canada Health Infoway to pilot its PrescribeIT, e-rxing solution. Neither ACP, nor RxA, have been invited to participate in policy development about this initiative to this point. The proposal conflicts with principles for e-rxing approved by council. It is Alberta Health’s wish to initiate a pilot e-rxing project this summer.

ACP Council takes stance on distribution of non-medical cannabis
May 10, 2017

On April 13, 2017, the federal government introduced legislation to legalize and control the production, distribution, sale, and possession of non-medical cannabis across Canada. The current regulations for accessing cannabis for medical purposes (See Council update article for ACP's current policy) will continue under the new Act, which is expected to be adopted by July of next year.

At its April 27-28 meeting, ACP Council passed a motion to support policies that prohibit the sale of cannabis for recreational use from pharmacies.

“There isn’t a clinical indication for the use of recreational cannabis,” said Taciana Pereira, ACP Council President. “There are social reasons for using recreational cannabis. Like alcohol or tobacco, which aren’t available in pharmacies, there is no expected health outcome for recreational cannabis. There are other distribution sites that make more sense when it comes to the control and sale of recreational marijuana products than having them in available in pharmacies."

“Would having recreational cannabis available in a pharmacy imply a health benefit?” Taciana asked. “We want to make sure there is a clear distinction between a recreational product and a medical product.”

Council pointed out that pharmacists have been at the forefront of smoking cessation, helping patients to quit using tobacco. Cannabis smoke contains many of the same carcinogenic chemicals found in tobacco smoke.Council had discussion that smoked cannabis products should be subject to the same provincial or territorial legislation as smoked tobacco products.

Further, Council is concerned about the public health implications of cannabis when used recreationally, particularly amongst individuals younger than 25. There is strong evidence that cannabis use can impact brain development.

Council also passed a motion recommending that distribution sites for non-medical cannabis must not be permitted to use terms such as “dispensary” or pharmacy-related symbols such as a green cross, which may lead the public to believe that the distribution site is a pharmacy or that it has professional oversight from pharmacy practitioners.

Taciana said that Council wants to be up front about its stance on non-medical cannabis and be proactive, not reactive, on the issue of medical cannabis.

“We want to be really clear on the principles that are important to us,” she said. “If we do that in a proactive way, we can prepare where there may be gaps when the legislation comes out or be able to connect with government or other stakeholders about the things we think are important.”

Watch for more coverage in future editions of the Link as policy about this issue evolves.

Apply for the 4th annual Leadership Forum
May 5, 2017

Apply for the 4th annual Leadership Forum

Apply for a spot at the 4th annual Leadership Forum in Edmonton. 

Why attend the ACP Leadership Forum? Here’s why.

When ACP hosts its fourth Leadership Forum in Edmonton June 21-23, 2017, it will gather together a group of like-minded pharmacy technicians and pharmacists hoping to grow, both professionally and personally.

Collaboration and support 

Erin Albrecht, a community pharmacist based in Manning, participated in the first-ever Leadership Forum in 2014. She enjoyed the opportunity to choose an issue she was struggling with and work through it with her peers.

“The forum helped me put into words what I was dealing with and helped me worked through why it was important, the barriers in my way, and the outcome I wanted,” said Erin. “I’ve since used that model in several other problems I’ve had in my practice and my personal life. It gave me hope for the future that I can do this. It made a significant mark in my life.”

 It rejuvenated my whole outlook and made me want to be a better pharmacist. 

Margie Steingart also attended the first Leadership Forum and saw it as an opportunity to collaborate with “the upper crust of people who are passionate about doing pharmacy right.” Margie, a community pharmacist from Carstairs, took comfort in the fact her peers were going through the same issues she was, and appreciated the ability to gather perspectives from across the profession, across the province.

“I left with a lot of tools to begin new pathways with my team once I got back to the store,” Margie said. “I created a checklist for how my staff was going to perform our roles to meet everyone’s needs. Because of that, I presented to the Pharmacy Technician Society of Alberta (PTSA) conference on how registered pharmacy technicians can help pharmacists do our job. It really snowballed into doing things well.” 

Motivating and inspiring 

Pharmacy technician Sharon Van Wert of Medicine Hat says attending the Leadership Forum made her a better communicator and more confident. And she believes the event helps break down the walls that can sometimes exist between technicians and pharmacists.

“It was one of the best weekends of my life,” said Sharon. “It was so motivating, inspirational, and emotional. We all cried. Everyone had tears in their eyes at one point as we shared our stories.”

At the 2015 Leadership Forum, St. Albert community pharmacist Ashley Davidson developed a personal vision that she now applies to her practice. She encourages anyone who’s thinking of going to the forum to apply.

“You’re going to meet people within your profession who are inspiring, who are engaging, and who you might not otherwise be in contact with,” said Ashley. “You also gain a better understanding of the perspective of other pharmacists, whether they’re in the community or a hospital. I also got a better understanding of the vision and the goals of Council and ACP.”

 


Apply for the 4th annual Leadership Forum

Are you an aspiring pharmacy leader? Apply for a spot at ACP's 4th annual Leadership Forum, to be held June 21-23 in Edmonton! You will be introduced to thought processes and skills that will help you lead in a world of constant change. During this two-day event, facilitators will guide you through group and individual learning activities designed to build confidence and leadership skills valuable to your practice, your community, and your home.

 Learn more

Substance misuse the topic for first ACP Leadership Symposium
May 5, 2017

ACP's first Leadership Symposium brought together pharmacy leaders from across the province to talk about substance misuse in our communities. Participants were challenged to develop and present a framework for how pharmacy technicians and pharmacists can help, and develop takeaways to impact their own practices.

It’s something pharmacists and pharmacy technicians see in their practices every day: substance misuse.

Many Albertans struggle with addictions, be it alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescribed medications. In many cases, addiction is associated with mental health and is of growing concern across our communities. That’s why substance misuse was selected as the theme for ACP’s first-ever Leadership Symposium, held April 28-29, 2017, in Calgary. 

Three educational and inspiring presentations

Participants from ACP’s first three Leadership Forums (2014, 2015, 2016) were invited to attend the symposium, which opened with presentations from three speakers of diverse backgrounds.

First, Dr. Nicole Sherren of the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative spoke about the “Brain Story” and how Adverse Child Events (ACES) can lead to substance misuse later in life.

Next, Pamela Spurvey, who has suffered from mental health and addiction issues for many years, talked about her journey, from a childhood of abuse and hardships, to her own struggles with drugs, to 10 years of sobriety. Pamela is now a peer support worker with Alberta Health Services and a mentor for the Edmonton Drug Treatment Team. She shared an emotional, personal story, including her experiences with pharmacists—both positive and negative. She also gave advice about how to better support patients who suffer from addiction. (We’ll have more from Pamela in the May 10, 2017 edition of the Link.)

Finally, the University of Alberta’s Dr. Cam Wild spoke about the state of substance misuse in Alberta and explored the systemic gaps that contribute to substance misuse, intervention, and treatment.

Putting it into practice

“The three topics were so different yet so related,” said Sharon Van Wert, pharmacy technician from Medicine Hat. “All three were amazing and educational and emotional.”

On day two, participants were divided into four groups, challenged to develop and present a framework for how pharmacy technicians and pharmacists can help individuals with substance misuse issues. Facilitator Don Winn guided participants in how to apply what they learned in the presentations to shape their frameworks.

“We cannot fix the problem, but we can offer support,” said Carstairs pharmacist Margie Steingart. “That was huge for me. I need to gather the tools to show them I care, and not tell them I can fix the problem. Let them know they can succeed."

"We’re front line. We see them and can invest in their lives, not just their medicine.” - Margie Steingart

Finally, participants wrote down what they committed to do about substance misuse, starting now. Manning-based pharmacist Erin Albrecht was tested her first day back at work, when someone with substance misuse issues walked through her door.

“I didn’t expect that situation to happen so quickly, so I didn’t deal with it much differently than I had before,” said Erin. “It was my reflection afterwards. I might even call her today and ask her to come in and talk about some things I’ve learned. Before, I would have thought, ‘Oh, there she is. I hope she never comes in again.’ But she will come in again. I feel now I have some tools to help her. I recognized in that moment that’s what we were talking about. I want to grow from that situation."


Apply for the 4th annual Leadership Forum

Are you an aspiring pharmacy leader? Apply for a spot at ACP's 4th annual Leadership Forum, to be held June 21-23 in Edmonton! You will be introduced to thought processes and skills that will help you lead in a world of constant change. During this two-day event, facilitators will guide you through group and individual learning activities designed to build confidence and leadership skills valuable to your practice, your community, and your home.

 Learn more

Online permit renewal now open for pharmacists - due May 31, 2017
May 3, 2017

Online permit renewal is now open for pharmacists! Permit renewals are due by May 31, 2017.

How to renew

Login to renew your annual permit here. Use the login credentials you use for all other secure areas of the website, including the CCP portal. Forgot your password? Request a new password.

Continuing Competence Program

As a reminder, before you can do your online renewal, you must ensure you have submitted your Continuing Competence Program requirements via the CCP portal. Need to submit your CCP requirements still? Login to the CCP portal here.

Learn more 

April 2017 Health Product InfoWatch
April 27, 2017

The Health Product InfoWatch is a monthly publication intended primarily for healthcare professionals. It provides clinically relevant safety information on pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and natural health products.

The goal of the Health Product InfoWatch is to raise awareness and to provide clinically relevant information to healthcare professionals concerning marketed health products and their safety. In some cases, information is intended to stimulate reporting of similar adverse reactions. Each publication includes a monthly recap of health product advisories and summary safety reviews, as well as a growing selection of new health product safety information.

In this issue: 

A Vision for the Future of a Healthy Alberta: 10-year roadmap
April 27, 2017

Six significant themes form the basis of our joint vision for pharmacy practice in Alberta. (ACP)
 

It’s called A Vision for the Future of a Healthy Alberta.

The 10-year roadmap sets out a clear path for how Alberta’s pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will contribute to the sustainable health and wellbeing of individuals and communities by practicing at full scope. It’s a commitment to work with all healthcare professionals to make a real difference. And it explores the intended outcome: healthier, happier Albertans.

Working collectively

“We’ve always prided ourselves in Alberta as being leaders. In many ways, we are leading pharmacy practice across Canada,” said Greg Eberhart, Registrar for the Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP). “If we’re going to be leaders, we need to have a longer vision. By working together with sister organizations within the pharmacy community, we’ve created a platform to work collectively towards a common vision.”

ACP collaborated with the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA), Pharmacy Technician Society of Alberta (PTSA), and Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists, Alberta Branch (CSHP-AB)—with input from other health care organizations, government representatives, and the public—to create the vision.

“It unites us as a profession,” said CSHP-AB President Sheri Koshman. “It’s important all the players involved in medication management, from drug distribution to the patient, are on the same page and working towards a common vision. This is the first time this has really happened, that we’ve all come to the table, which is exciting. It’s also important to take this vision and share it with other health care organizations because sometimes pharmacy gets forgotten in some of these discussions.”

Six themes 

The Vision is based on six themes where pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can make an impact:Alberta pharmacy vision

  • Care
  • Professionalism
  • Relationships
  • Integrated technology
  • Quality drug distribution
  • Engaging health system

As scopes of pharmacy practice have evolved, providing altruistic, person-centered care has become a larger focus. It’s not just about treating disease. It’s about preventing disease and helping individuals achieve their health goals.

“It’s important to deliver that type of care and shift from what we’ve seen historically—a product-centric model, which is all about filling the prescriptions and getting the drugs ready—to actually meeting the care needs of the patients themselves,” said PTSA President Teresa Hennessey. “We want to involve the patient and partner with them, providing the care they need and want.”

The call to exceed

The vision also calls on pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to not only meet professional standards and expectations, but exceed them. Standards are established as a baseline, a minimum. By exceeding what’s expected of them, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will be more able to provide the best care possible.

“I think that’s why the document is visionary,” said RxA CEO Margaret Wing. “There has to be an expectation that we will exceed where we’re at. We’ve been so privileged in this province because we do have those scopes and those models that have supported us to advance this profession well beyond other provinces and other countries. But with those privileges, there’s an expectation that there would be better care.”

When the vision is realized, work environments of pharmacy teams will be a hub for the “community of care” in which all health care professionals work together for the benefit of individuals and families.

 

Read the roadmap document

Reflecting on 10 years of new opportunity – part 3
April 26, 2017

Message from the Registrar

Pharmacists: share your successes through patient stories

I have encouraged you to reflect on your practice, and the many opportunities and changes that you have experienced and made since pharmacists’ scope of practice changed in 2007. This is an opportunity to celebrate your successes, pat yourself on the back, and consider how you will move to the next level in your practice.

When preparing our five-year business plan, council was challenged with the following four questions:

  • How can we enhance the public’s understanding and expectations about what pharmacists and pharmacy technicians do?
  • How can we improve the consistency of quality pharmacy practice across Alberta?
  • How can we improve the quality of assessments performed by pharmacists prior to making drug use decisions (for dispensing, prescribing, or injecting purposes)?
  • How can we enhance the use of pharmacy human resources; and, specifically, how can pharmacy technicians be more effectively incorporated into practice?

These resulted in our five-year goals, one of which focuses on changing patients’ experiences and expectations of pharmacy practice. 

“Patients will expect pharmacists to provide appropriate assessments, advice, and support about their health (treatment) plan at each encounter.”

I invite you to share your patient stories with us, stories about how you have used our scope of practice to impact the lives of individuals, families, and your community. We want to share your excitement and your successes with peers, stakeholders, and Albertans at large. Numbers can’t tell our full story, so with your assistance, we want to bring our collective efforts to life. By sharing your experiences, we will change expectations!  

Hypertension 2017: Putting the Guidelines into Practice
April 26, 2017

Hypertension 2017: Putting the Guidelines into Practice Edmonton takes place on Friday, May 12, 2017, at the Delta Hotel South Conference Centre in Edmonton.

This one-day, in-person session will address key advances in the 2017 Guidelines and their practical application for immediate relevance to primary care pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and nurse practitioners. Topics include the complexities of drug combinations, new treatment targets, and hypertension in children, with regional research and innovations presented over lunchtime sessions.

Recognizing the benefits of shared care in the prevention and control of this pervasive “silent killer,” a special wrap-up session, addresses the pharmacist’s role in hypertension intervention.

The countdown is on! Only 5 weeks left to complete your professional portfolio!
April 26, 2017

Congratulations to the 2,619 pharmacists who have already completed the prescribed Jurisprudence Self-Assessment available in theContinuing Competence Program (CCP) portal! You’re only three steps away from meeting program requirements by May 31, 2017. 

Still working on your professional portfolio? You’re not alone. The Competence Team is here to help and we’ve developed some great resources to support you along the way:

Let’s track our progress collectively with the CCP Team Challenge! In the next few issues of The Link, we’ll provide you with a visual update on our team’s progress towards achieving a 100 per cent completion rate. Ready…set…go!

Four easy steps to meet program requirements:

  1. Complete the Jurisprudence Self-Assessment - Available in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal
  2. Complete learning activities – Complete at least 15 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) during the Continuing Education (CE) cycle (June 1, 2016 to May 31, 2017) and document each activity on a Learning Record
  3. Put your learning to use – Implement a minimum of one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an Implementation Record (note: you only need to complete one record)
  4. Submit your Learning and Implementation Records to ACP by May 31, 2017

All pharmacists are required to complete these program requirements prior to renewing their practice permits. Exception: Only individuals who became licensed as a pharmacist for the first time or reinstated between January 1 and June 30 are exempt from submitting their professional portfolios at renewal.

For assistance, please contact a member of the Competence Team at competence@pharmacists.ab.ca or review the FAQ’s on our website.

Three new council members elected
April 26, 2017

The results of the spring election are in. Council will welcome three new members this summer.

Peter Eshenko (Pharmacist, District 2, Southern Alberta), Fayaz Rajabali (Pharmacist, District 3, Edmonton), and Dana Lyons (Pharmacy Technician, District B, Southern Alberta) were the successful candidates in online voting that took place between March 15 and April 13.

Peter has been a pharmacist for 30 years and owns pharmacies in Banff and Golden, BC. He is passionate about providing person-centered care, particularly in pharmacies in smaller, tight-knit communities like his.

“We know everybody,” said Peter. “We live in the community. We see the people every day. It’s important we can custom fit to the people we’re helping."

Peter served on numerous boards and committees early in his career, but took a step back while his two boys were growing up. Now that his sons are older, Peter has a renewed interest in serving his profession, especially since his older son has been accepted into the University of Alberta’s pharmacy program.

“Before having a family, I worked on the internship program and really enjoyed working with students more than anything,” he said. “Now I’ll be spending more time with my son and talking to his friends and seeing how the changes in pharmacy have evolved quite dramatically to person-centered care."

Continuing education and training are Fayaz’s biggest priorities. He helped develop a curriculum for a pharmacy bridging program. He believes continuing education and training have a direct correlation to the enhancement of patient care.

“I’d like to have a more formalized practice approach to intern training,” said Fayaz. “I’ve seen strides in how the college has implemented the new system. But I’d like to see a system where interns have the exposure and opportunity to learn in a classroom setting. I think that would help.”

Fayaz is a community pharmacist and wouldn’t practice anywhere else.

“I love the powers we’re given here in Alberta,” he said. “We have the support and the policies that go in sync with our evolving roles and help enhance our practice even more. I think we’re in the best jurisdiction in North America. We have the most opportunity.”

Dana, who works in a management role for Alberta Health Services in Calgary, is committed to the improvement of compounding standards to enhance safety and quality.

“It’s a piece of work almost all pharmacy technicians are engaged in at one point or another, whether it’s sterile compounding or non-sterile compounding,” said Dana. “It’s a place where we can really get a hold of the standards and improve distribution and compounding. That’s an area of our expertise where we’re all trained.”

She also feels strongly about collaboration among pharmacy teams, especially on the front line, and will advocate for integrated pharmacy practices.

“I think there’s a lot more room for inter-collaboration between pharmacists and pharmacy technicians,” she said. “It appears to have been a bit of a struggle. We’re still re-engineering how things work so that we can provide better care to patients through an integrated model, and maximize our resources.”

Terms for the new council members begin July 1.

March 2017 Health Product InfoWatch
March 30, 2017

The Health Product InfoWatch is a monthly publication intended primarily for healthcare professionals. It provides clinically relevant safety information on pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and natural health products.

The goal of the Health Product InfoWatch is to raise awareness and to provide clinically relevant information to healthcare professionals concerning marketed health products and their safety. In some cases, information is intended to stimulate reporting of similar adverse reactions. Each publication includes a monthly recap of health product advisories and summary safety reviews, as well as a growing selection of new health product safety information.

In this issue

HQCA Patient Experience Awards 2017
March 29, 2017

The Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) invites you to submit your application for the Patient Experience Awards 2017.

The Patient Experience Awards recognize initiatives in Alberta that are making a significant positive impact on patients’ experiences in accessing and receiving healthcare services. The HQCA understands the time and resources these programs take and wants to celebrate those who are making them possible. Any individual or team of healthcare workers in the province is invited to apply. 

For full details and to apply, click here.

Submissions will be accepted until April 13, 2017.

Reminder: CCP portfolio assessors needed
March 29, 2017

Interested in developing your assessment skills, learning about different types of pharmacy practices, and contributing to our profession?Apply online to become an assessor for the upcoming Continuing Competence Program (CCP). Applications are due by April 7, 2017.

  • Attend a one-day training workshop in Edmonton on June 12, 2017, and
  • Audit CCP portfolios at your home via a secure online process

Expected hours of work: approximately 30 hours (total)
Timeframe: June 15, 2017 – September 15, 2017 (approximate)

You may work at your own pace. Portfolios will be assigned to you in mid-June and then you have until mid-September to submit your completed audits.

Qualifications
We are looking for pharmacists who are able to demonstrate the principles of valid, fair, and reliable assessment and who can apply the grading procedure fairly and objectively. Auditors must:

  • Be in good standing on the clinical register,
  • Have a minimum of one year of experience in direct patient care within the past three years, and
  • Not currently be, or have been, the subject of a disciplinary action or unresolved investigation

Experience in assessment is not required, but is considered an asset.

Reimbursement

  • Contract rate of $59/hour for online audits done at home
  • Per diem of $410 for the in-person training workshop
  • ACP will cover travel, accommodation, and meal expenses in accordance with council policy for the in-person meeting

Other benefits of being a CCP portfolio assessor

  • Develop your assessment skills
  • Learn more about different types of pharmacy practices
  • Be inspired by other pharmacists’ practices
  • Contribute to the profession
  • Get to hang out with other keen pharmacists!

How to apply
Complete and submit the online application by April 7, 2017. Only successful applicants will be contacted. If you haven’t been contacted by May 4, it means you were not selected. There will be other opportunities in the future!

Questions? Email Denise Brooks at denise.brooks@pharmacists.ab.ca

 

Should ACP change its name?
March 29, 2017

ACP is responsible for governing the practice of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians; complementary but distinct professions. Our college is also responsible for governing licensed pharmacies.

One of ACP’s five strategic goals is to integrate pharmacy technicians into pharmacy practice teams, exercising responsibility for roles they’re authorized to fulfill

Some pharmacy technicians have suggested that ACP should change its name to be more inclusive of pharmacy technicians. Other individuals have suggested that a name change more inclusive of pharmacy technicians may assist in affirming their legislated status and the authorities they have to the public and other health professionals.

Background

In Alberta, there are 29 colleges that regulate health professionals; however, there are over 30 health professions. Only a few colleges regulate more than one profession. For example, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta regulates physicians, surgeons, and osteopaths, and has been asked to regulate physician assistants in the future. The Alberta College of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists regulates Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists.

The following organizations regulate or register pharmacy technicians in nine Canadian jurisdictions:

  • College of Pharmacists of British Columbia (pending name change to the College of Pharmacy Professionals of British Columbia)
  • Alberta College of Pharmacists
  • Saskatchewan College of Pharmacy Professionals
  • College of Pharmacists of Manitoba
  • Ontario College of Pharmacists
  • New Brunswick College of Pharmacists
  • Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists
  • Prince Edward Island College of Pharmacists
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board

Relative Legislation

The Health Professions Act in Alberta requires that all organizations granted the privilege to regulate a profession must be called a college. The names of regulating colleges are recognized in the Schedules of Part 2, including the Alberta College of Pharmacists. A recommendation to change the name of the college requires approval by the legislature. We understand that amendments to the Health Professions Act may be considered within the next year, so it is timely that this discussion occurs in Alberta.

Our Invitation to You

While we have heard from many pharmacy technicians, Council is inviting all registrants to contribute to this discussion, prior to making a decision. Next week, we will issue a survey inviting your input. This will supplement input that we look forward to receiving through our webinar on April 11, and regional meetings in Fort McMurray (April 20) and Calgary (May 2).

Decision

Council holds responsibility for any decision to recommend a name change of the college in the legislation. Council is requesting your input, so that they can make an informed decision at their meeting in June.

 

Council update
March 29, 2017

Council convened on March 2-3, 2017, to review trends observed and experienced by ACP in 2016, along with emerging issues. Council considered these issues and trends in context with ACP’s five strategic goals outlined in: “Setting the Pace”  ̶  our three year business plan. Council reaffirmed its commitment to the goals; however, it is likely that our work plans will be enhanced in the 2018-2020 business cycle. 

 Continue reading for a summary of Council's deliberations...

 

Message from the Registrar: Reflecting on 10 years of new opportunity - Part 1
March 29, 2017

On April 1, 2017, we will celebrate 10 years since Alberta legislation came into effect allowing pharmacists to prescribe Schedule 1 drugs and administer drugs by injection. This change invited a new focus on people, rather than on prescriptions. It introduced a dramatic shift in the culture of pharmacist practice, and changes in pharmacist behaviours that continue to be a work in progress. 

ACP has contributed to many initiatives enabling Alberta pharmacists to meet the needs of individuals, their families, and our health system  ̶  providing opportunities greater than in any other jurisdiction in the world. As we commemorate this 10-year milestone, I invite you to reflect on the achievements we have made, recognize the gaps Albertans are still experiencing in the health system, and identify the opportunities pharmacists have to positively impact the health and well-being of the individuals and families they serve.

A look back…

Over the past 10 years, ACP has contributed to the development of Netcare. While this portal for health professionals has yet to meet the expectations of Alberta pharmacists, it does provide pharmacists access to comprehensive dispensed drug data and laboratory results about individuals in their care. ACP has enabled pharmacists the privilege to order laboratory tests, a complementary tool to make informed drug therapy decisions. These opportunities do not exist in most other Canadian jurisdictions, nor in many other countries in the developed world.

In 2009 and 2010, ACP supported the Alberta Pharmacists' Association (RxA) to redefine how pharmacy services are delivered and reimbursed. We recognized that new privileges granted to pharmacists demanded an increased focus on individuals and their health, not on dispensing drugs. In 2013, a new service and reimbursement model came into effect supporting the pharmacists’ role as a care provider, not just a dispenser of drugs. This was yet another new opportunity not available in other Canadian provinces, nor developed countries.

In 2011, we welcomed pharmacy technicians to our college as Alberta’s newest regulated health profession. They are a critical resource to enable and support pharmacists assume a clinical role in caring for individuals. Today, we are confronted with two challenges: to fully integrate pharmacy technicians into pharmacy practice, and to meet the human resource demands for pharmacy technicians in Alberta.

One of ACP’s five-year goals is to evolve pharmacy practice so that Albertans will consistently receive and increasingly expect quality care from pharmacists who practice to their full scope. Beyond being important to the health of individuals, their families, and our communities, practicing to our full scope is important for the effective and responsible use of our health resources. It is consistent with our Code of Ethics and our responsibility to the individuals we serve, society, and our profession.

I invite you to reflect on the changes that you have made to your practice over the past 10 years. What milestones signifying success have you achieved to better meet the needs of the individuals you serve, your community, and our health system?

Take a moment to consider small steps that you might still take to challenge yourself and evolve your practice. Are you using all of the tools and opportunities available to you? How can you enhance quality care and elevate the personal experiences for those you serve? In taking advantage of new opportunities, you can make a big difference in the lives of those you serve, and ultimately grow your personal satisfaction in your professional role.

ACP Spring 2017 Regional Meetings
March 28, 2017

All pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are invited to join ACP president Taciana Pereira and registrar Greg Eberhart at our Spring 2017 Regional Meetings. 

During these sessions, we will be facilitating discussion about two important topics:

  • Modernizing role statements for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians based on current practices (continuing the discussion from our fall 2016 meetings)
  • ACP regulates multiple professions; should its name change to reflect this?

In addition, part of the meeting will be dedicated to an open forum to hear what is on your mind and gain an understanding of the issues affecting you locally.

We encourage you to take this opportunity to connect with your peers, share ideas, and let us know your opinions about these important topics.

Please RSVP using the link below. As space is limited, those who do not RSVP will not be guaranteed a spot at the Regional Meeting of their choice.

RSVP


Dates and Locations
Webinar

Tuesday, April 11, 2017, 7:00 - 8:30 pm
*webinar details and instructions will be sent via email in advance of the meeting

Fort McMurray

Thursday, April 20, 2017, 7:00 - 9:30 p.m.
MacDonald Island Park - Shell Place Ballroom D
1 C.A. Knight Way
Directions

Calgary

Tuesday, May 2, 2017, 7:00 - 9:30 pm
Sheraton Cavalier Calgary Hotel - Sheraton South Room
2620 32nd Ave. NE
Directions

Beverages and light snacks will be provided at all in-person meetings. Note: pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can claim participation at Regional Meetings as non-accredited learning.


Questions/Contact

ACP Communications 
communications@pharmacists.ab.ca 
780-990-0321

Hearing notice: Jody Pyne
March 27, 2017
Hearing status                                  Scheduled                                                     
Registrant Jody Pyne
Charge Unprofessional conduct
Date September 8, 2017
Time 9:30 a.m.
Location Alberta College of Pharmacists
1100 - 8215 112 Street NW
Edmonton, AB

 

In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.

To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre registering is required.

Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.

Media inquiries are to be directed to the Communications Director, at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca

 

Council elections now open
March 15, 2017

Voting officially opened at 8:00 a.m. on March 15 for council positions for a pharmacist in District 2 (Southern Alberta) and District 3 (Edmonton), and for a pharmacy technician in District B (Southern Alberta). The successful candidate in District 3 will serve a two-year term on council; as this is the residual of the term held by current president, Taciana Pereira. Other successful candidates will be elected for a three-year term. All voting will be online at http://pharmacists.ab.ca/vote2017. Voting closes Thursday, April 13 at 4:30 p.m.

The candidates seeking election for District 2 (Southern Alberta) are:  

  • Peter Eshenko
  • James Frobb
  • Dominick Gartner
  • Anita McDonald

The candidates seeking election for District 3 (Edmonton) are:

  • Fayaz Rajabali
  • Marcel Romanick

The candidates seeking election for District B (Southern Alberta) are:

  • Nicholas Burns
  • Dana Lyons
  • Jennifer Teichroeb (incumbent)
  • Sharon Van Wert

To support the election process, ACP will send two emails on candidates’ behalf to voters in their district. Watch your inbox for those messages. A biographical sketch of each candidate will be posted on the election site, so voters can learn about each candidate to make a more informed decision when casting their ballot.

Reminder: provide your input on role statements by March 31
March 15, 2017

We are looking for your input on the role statements for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Why is this so important? Role statements provide meaning to individuals and families who use pharmacy services, and provide clarity to other health professionals, community service providers, and stakeholders who practice with or who are impacted by pharmacy services.

Role statements were last developed in 1995 for Alberta pharmacists, and in 2008 for pharmacy technicians. Much has changed since then. Our goal is to modernize these statements based on current practices, to reflect what pharmacists and pharmacy technicians currently "do" in contributing to person-centered care. 

To review the draft role statements and provide feedback, please visit ACP's consultation page.

Your response is appreciated and due by noon on March 31, 2017.

ACP Regional Meetings: save the date
March 15, 2017

It’s Regional Meeting time again! ACP council president Taciana Pereira and registrar Greg Eberhart will be visiting Fort McMurray and Calgary, and chatting with you via live webinar this spring.

During these sessions, we will be facilitating discussion about two important topics affecting pharmacy practice in Alberta:

  • Modernizing role statements for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians (continuing the discussion from our fall 2016 meetings)
  • Changing the name of College to reflect the integration of pharmacy technicians

All pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are encouraged to join ACP for an evening of discussion to explore these topics. In addition, part of the meeting will be dedicated to an open forum to hear what is on your mind and gain an understanding of the issues affecting you locally.

A formal email invitation will be sent to you within the next week. In the meantime, please mark the following dates in your calendar:

April 11 – Live webinar 
April 20 – Fort McMurray (location TBD)
May 2 – Calgary (location TBD)

Don’t forget: you can claim participation at regional meetings as non-accredited learning.

CCP portfolio assessors needed
March 15, 2017

Would you like a front-row view of what’s happening in pharmacy practice? Would you like to contribute to the growth of our professions?

If you answered yes, you may be just who we’re looking for! We’re recruiting pharmacists to serve as assessors for the upcoming Continuing Competence Program (CCP) audit.

  • Attend a one-day training workshop in Edmonton on June 12, 2017, and
  • Audit CCP portfolios at your home via a secure online process

Expected hours of work: approximately 30 hours (total)
Timeframe: June 15, 2017 – September 15, 2017 (approximate)

You may work at your own pace. Portfolios will be assigned to you in mid-June and then you have until mid-September to submit your completed audits.

Qualifications
We are looking for pharmacists who are able to demonstrate the principles of valid, fair, and reliable assessment and who can apply the grading procedure fairly and objectively. Auditors must:

  • Be in good standing on the clinical register,
  • Have a minimum of one year of experience in direct patient care within the past three years, and
  • Not currently be, or have been, the subject of a disciplinary action or unresolved investigation

Experience in assessment is not required, but is considered an asset.

Reimbursement

  • Contract rate of $59/hour for online audits done at home
  • Per diem of $410 for the in-person training workshop
  • ACP will cover travel, accommodation, and meal expenses in accordance with council policy for the in-person meeting

Other benefits of being a CCP portfolio assessor

  • Develop your assessment skills
  • Learn more about different types of pharmacy practices
  • Be inspired by other pharmacists’ practices
  • Contribute to the profession
  • Get to hang out with other keen pharmacists!

How to apply
Complete and submit the online application by April 7, 2017. Only successful applicants will be contacted. If you haven’t been contacted by May 4, it means you were not selected. There will be other opportunities in the future!

Questions? Contact Denise Brooks at denise.brooks@pharmacists.ab.ca

Expert Committee on Drug Evaluation and Therapeutics
March 15, 2017

Alberta Health is seeking Albertans with expertise in pharmacy, health research and epidemiology-related fields to serve on the Expert Committee on Drug Evaluation and Therapeutics. The committee is an advisory agency for the Minister of Health that provides advice to the Minister regarding the Alberta Drug Benefit List. It is a unique opportunity to make potentially lifesaving updates to the Alberta Drug Benefit List and improve Albertan’s access to modern medicine. If you’re interested, please apply by April 2.

View the posting

Should ACP change its name?
March 15, 2017

In September, council discussed proposals from pharmacy technicians to change the name of the college to be more inclusive of both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Council was provided an analysis of the impact, opportunities, and risks. Council agreed that future discussion about the proposed name change should be informed by a plan that includes an environmental scan, timeframes for ACP’s legislative renewal strategies, costs, and an implementation plan.  Integration of pharmacy technicians is a priority of Council, and we wanted further discussions on the proposal for a name change to be thoughtful and inclusive of both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

At its March 3 meeting, Council requested that the Registrar prioritize work required to seek amendment to Schedule 19 of the Health Professions Act to modernize the role statements for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians and the possibility of an organizational name change. The College will begin registrant engagement about the organization’s name shortly, and looks forward to both pharmacists and pharmacy technician’s contribution to this discussion.

We look forward to your thoughts during our forthcoming webinar and regional meetings announced in this edition of The Link. Watch for additional opportunities to contribute your thoughts, to be announced in the March 29, 2017 edition of The Link. 

Edmonton pharmacists work to improve lives of inner-city's most vulnerable
March 14, 2017

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
 

Edmonton, AB - A group of local health professionals are challenging our perception of what it means to be a pharmacist. Each with their own unique story, these individuals are connected through their dedication to caring for the inner-city’s most vulnerable and marginalized residents. Their innovative approach to caring for individuals living with HIV, grappling with mental health and addiction, and in some cases, homelessness, is both inspiring and eye-opening.

These revolutionary and equally compassionate pharmacists were recently honoured at the 2017 APEX Awards, an annual event hosted by the Alberta College of Pharmacists and the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association to recognize excellence in pharmacy practice in Alberta.

Adherence and Community Engagement (ACE) Team

Launched in August of 2016, the ACE Team is a pharmacist-led HIV outreach team initiative based in Edmonton, that has truly become a unique and innovative pharmacy practice model with no parallel across Canada. The ACE Team consists of two clinical pharmacists, Essi and Klaudia, and licensed practical nurse, Sokun. It was a program developed by the Mint Health + Drugs group as part of their non-profit community health arm, Mint Communities. ACE operates as a mobile team in the community to support transient, disengaged individuals – previously never considered candidates for therapy – successfully start and maintain adherence to antiretroviral therapy. Understanding that health issues do not occur in isolation, the team also connects individuals with community resources to help address their unique social needs and self-identified goals.

“We hope that in achieving greater patient stability and suppressed viral loads, our team’s interventions can demonstrate reduced HIV viral transmission, reduced instances of new HIV cases, as well as a reduction in hospitalizations and incarcerations,” says Klaudia Zabrzenski, clinical pharmacist. View the ACE Team’s video and full profile.

Ken Forgach

By day, Ken is a critical care pharmacist at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. When his shift is over, Ken puts on another hat and makes his way to the inner-city to pursue his passion for helping others. Ken volunteers in the inner-city helping individuals in need of a bite to eat, some warm clothing, or a supportive ear. With his non-profit organization, the Hymningbirds, Ken makes regular visits to local hospitals, nursing homes, soup kitchens, and prisons. Drawing on his skills as a pharmacist, Ken also keeps Naloxone kits on hand to educate members of the community who may need to use the kits on friends or family members struggling with opioid addiction.

“Volunteering has opened my eyes and my heart to the sufferings and struggles of those around me. As a pharmacist, it has reminded me that everyone is special and deserves generous portions of love and respect along with the clinical care I provide,” says Ken Forgach, clinical pharmacist and community volunteer. View Ken’s video and full profile.

Andrew Noh

A clinical pharmacist at Mint Health + Drugs - CMP in downtown Edmonton, Andrew works primarily with inner-city patients who often require daily assistance. Andrew and his team collaborate with neighboring clinics and services such as the Boyle McCauley Health Centre (BMHC) and Heavy Users of Services (HUoS), where health professionals, social workers, and the Edmonton Police Service, work together to provide care for patients with multiple barriers to health care, such as homelessness, mental health, and addiction.

“To me, excellence in pharmacy practice means going above and beyond for your patients. It’s about more than just helping them meet their health-related needs; it’s about the time spent to understand their life and putting a smile on their face,” says Andrew Noh, clinical pharmacist. View Andrew’s video and full profile.

Michelle Foisy

Michelle Foisy is a clinical pharmacist with the Northern Alberta HIV Program. Michelle has made many contributions to patient care throughout her 30-year career. Most recently, she played a leading role in updating and implementing the Alberta Health Services/Covenant Health HIV Perinatal Protocol. This protocol is essential in guiding management of HIV-infected pregnant women and preventing transmission of HIV to the neonate. Michelle and her colleagues have also developed a drug interaction app for HIV/HCV therapy, which is used extensively by health care providers. Michelle works closely with an interdisciplinary team to get HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral treatment and to stay on treatment for life. This involves a great deal of outreach and the development of strong partnerships with community agencies and pharmacies, particularly for inner-city patients who may have more social challenges.

“I did not fully appreciate where my career was headed when I started. I now see the richness of the opportunities I’ve had. Not only have I grown and learned from my patients, I have also been able to collaborate with so many other excellent health care professionals,” says Michelle Foisy, clinical pharmacist. View Michelle’s video and full profile.

About the APEX AWARDS

The APEX Awards recognize and celebrate excellence in pharmacy practice in Alberta. Initiated in August 2007, the awards are jointly funded, promoted, and presented by the Alberta College of Pharmacists and the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association. To learn more about the APEX Awards, visit: https://pharmacists.ab.ca/apex-awards

 

Media contacts:

Ashley Edwards Scott, Communications Coordinator                   Jody Johnson, Manager, Member Services
Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP)                                                        Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA)
P: 780-990-0321                                                                                                                P: 780-990-0326 ext. 8722                                
ashley@pharmacists.ab.ca                                                                                jody.johnson@rxa.ca

 

Anticoagulation in 2017: Concepts of Care for Primary Care Providers
March 1, 2017

The Collaborative Learning on Thrombosis (CLOT) group is hosting an anticoagulation symposium in Calgary on Saturday, April 29, 2017. This one-day learning event will utilize case vignettes to provide up-to-date information on anticoagulation therapies and cover common thrombosis topics relevant to community pharmacy practice. To learn more, view the event brochure.

To register online for the event,click here.

The Collaborative Learning on Thrombosis (CLOT) group consists of pharmacists from Western Canada with an interest or practice in the management of thrombosis/anticoagulation therapies. It provides a forum to network and gain expertise to facilitate knowledge transfer to other pharmacists and healthcare practitioners to optimize the care of patients with thromboembolic disease.

Reminder: PTSA’s professional development survey closes March 10
March 1, 2017

PTSA invites your suggestions about how they might best invest a $25,000 professional development grant to nurture pharmacy technician practices! This is your chance to help shape professional development (PD) opportunities offered by PTSA in the future. Think about how you want to grow as a health professional and what kinds of learning and development opportunities will support you in that journey.

We encourage all pharmacy technicians, whether you’re a PTSA member or not, to share your feedback and complete the online survey by March 10, 2017. 

As part of the 2016 Alberta Pharmacy Technician Conference, ACP hosted a reception celebrating the fifth anniversary of pharmacy technicians becoming Alberta's newest regulated health profession. To commemorate this milestone, ACP presented PTSA a $25,000 grant to support professional development opportunities for pharmacy technicians. Watch a video of the celebration on our YouTube channel!

Modernizing role statements for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
March 1, 2017

On Friday, February 24, all ACP registrants received a Message from the Registrar requesting input on the role statements for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

Role statements provide meaning to individuals and families who use pharmacy services, and provide clarity to other health professionals, community service providers, and stakeholders who practice with or who are impacted by pharmacy services.

Role statements for Alberta pharmacists were last developed in 1995, as a precursor to the Health Professions Act. The role statements for pharmacy technicians were developed in 2008, in advance of technicians becoming regulated. Much has changed since then.

Our goal is to modernize these statements based on current practices, to reflect what pharmacists and pharmacy technicians currently "do" in contributing to person-centered care.

To review the draft role statements and provide feedback, please visit ACP's Consultation page at:https://pharmacists.ab.ca/consultations/role-statements

Your response is appreciated and due by noon on March 31, 2017.

What is a Role Statement?

Role statements describe a profession's identity and purpose within Alberta's health system.

Role statements are purposefully broad, and should not be task-oriented. They are descriptive, and not prescriptive. They focus on "what" health professions do; more so than "why" or "how" they do it.

They should be contextual and meaningful to illustrate value. Specific restricted activities are not typically reflected in a role statement, but are addressed in regulation. Restricted activities authorize tools that health professionals use to fulfill and achieve their role.

Review and Feedback

In fall 2016 ACP consulted with registrants who attended regional meetings, and who participated in the regional meeting webinar to review Version 1 of the DRAFT role statements.

Since then, Version 2 has been drafted, incorporating the feedback we received. We are now seeking your review and comments on the evolved role statements.

Your feedback will be reviewed, and updated versions of the role statements will be developed iteratively, based on the feedback we receive. You, and other stakeholders, will be consulted with again before Council considers approving a final version later in spring 2017.

To review the draft role statements and provide feedback, please visit the ACP's Consultation page at: https://pharmacists.ab.ca/consultations/role-statements

Do you know how to prevent or respond to a blood and body fluid exposure?
March 1, 2017

Learn more at www.bbfeab.ca

ACP collaborated with eleven other Alberta health profession regulators to develop resources for health professionals who are at risk of exposure, or may have been exposed, to blood and body fluid. Representatives from each college worked with consultants to develop a series of online tools based on published resources from Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services.

The tools are designed to support community health care providers and increase their awareness of the appropriate response to blood and body fluid exposure (BBFE). According to clinical evidence, proper post-exposure assessment, including the timely provision of prophylaxis, reduces the likelihood of blood borne virus transmission following occupational BBFEs. Tools include:

  • Protecting Yourself and Preparing Your Workplace
  • Your Post-Exposure Pathway
  • Have You Been Exposed to BBFE? (an interactive algorithm)

We encourage both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to visit http://bbfeab.ca/index.html and engage in learning from the online modules, posters, and other BBFE resources available.

2nd SIGMA Regional Conference on Midlife Health Women’s Issues
March 1, 2017

SIGMA Canadian Menopause Society invites all health professionals to attend its second annual regional conference on midlife women’s health issues on Saturday, April 29, 2017. Held at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, the event will feature a “Menopause Primer” postgraduate course, case studies on osteoporosis, and a lunch symposium on TSECs.  

For more information and to register, visit the event website.

Pharmacy Education Course - Canadian Sleep Society Conference
March 1, 2017

Part of the Canadian Sleep Society Conference, this one-day continuing education event aims to help pharmacists address their education needs in terms of the screening, assessment, and management of sleep disorders.

The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Calgary on Friday, April 28, 2017.

To learn more about the Pharmacy Education Course and register online, visit theconference website.

February 2017 Health Product InfoWatch
February 24, 2017

The Health Product InfoWatch is a monthly publication intended primarily for healthcare professionals. It provides clinically relevant safety information on pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and natural health products.

The goal of the Health Product InfoWatch is to raise awareness and to provide clinically relevant information to healthcare professionals concerning marketed health products and their safety. In some cases, information is intended to stimulate reporting of similar adverse reactions. Each publication includes a monthly recap of health product advisories and summary safety reviews, as well as a growing selection of new health product safety information.

In this issue: 

PTSA Professional Development Survey
February 24, 2017

As part of the 2016 Alberta Pharmacy Technician Conference, ACP hosted a reception celebrating the fifth anniversary of pharmacy technicians becoming Alberta's newest regulated health profession. To commemorate this milestone, ACP presented the Pharmacy Technician Society of Alberta (PTSA) a $25,000 grant to support professional development opportunities for pharmacy technicians. Watch a video of the celebration on our YouTube channel!

PTSA is looking for input from pharmacy technicians on how the grant money should be used. We encourage all pharmacy technicians, whether you’re a PTSA member or not, to share your feedback and complete the online survey by March 10, 2017. 

Reminder: submit your nominations for council elections by February 28
February 15, 2017

ACP is holding council elections for three positions this spring. We invite your nominations for the following positions:

Councillors play an essential role in fulfilling the college's mandate of promoting and protecting the health and well-being of Albertans by governing the profession of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. If this is something that interests you – and you reside in a district you would like to represent – please submit your nomination papers to the Registrar no later than 4:30 p.m. on February 28, 2017. Please read the Nomination Letter from the Registrar for more information.

You are an ideal candidate if you:

  • are motivated to advance public safety;
  • want a hands-on role in advancing pharmacy practice in Alberta;
  • model safe, effective, responsible practice;
  • have demonstrated leadership skills; and
  • are able to commit 12 to 15 days per year over a three-year term.

Please refer to ACP's bylaws which further outline eligibility.

How to submit a nomination

  1. Please review the list of registrants eligible for nominations below, or by visiting pharmacists.ab.ca/council-elections.
  2. Consider collaborating with other pharmacists or pharmacy technicians in your district to nominate visionary leaders interested in advancing the mandate of ACP. Please note that nominees must reside in the district they represent.
  3. Nominations opened on January 31, 2017. Complete and submit your nomination papers to the Registrar by mail or email no later than 4:30 p.m. on February 28, 2017.

Resources:

Deadline for nominations

Nominations open: Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Nominations close: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 4:30 p.m.

Consistent use of Netcare vital to patient care
February 15, 2017

Pharmacists are reminded to use Netcare routinely as part of their assessment, care plan, and follow up. This Vital Behavior, originating from the Chat, Check, and Chart series, is an important step in providing optimal patient care.

A recent case reported to the college illustrates the importance of checking Netcare:

A member of an Edmonton Addictions and Mental Health clinic reported that according to the Netcare records, a patient of the clinic was visiting multiple physicians and pharmacies (within a 4-week period) to obtain multiple prescriptions for zopiclone and narcotics. Additionally, the patient was visiting multiple pharmacies to purchase Tylenol #1. Based on this information, it was clear that pharmacists were not consistently checking the patient’s Netcare records prior to determining whether it was appropriate to dispense or sell the requested drugs.

Pharmacists are encouraged to review the Vital  to Chat, Check, and Chart tool card on ACP’s website for more information. 

Pharmacy technicians: what professional development opportunities are you interested in?
February 15, 2017
As part of the 2016 Alberta Pharmacy Technician Conference, ACP hosted a reception celebrating the fifth anniversary of pharmacy technicians becoming Alberta's newest regulated health profession. To commemorate this milestone, ACP presented the Pharmacy Technician Society of Alberta (PTSA) a $25,000 grant to support professional development opportunities for pharmacy technicians. Watch a video of the celebration on our YouTube channel!

PTSA is looking for input from pharmacy technicians on how the grant money should be used. We encourage all pharmacy technicians, whether you’re a PTSA member or not, to share your feedback and complete the online survey by March 10, 2017. 
New Structured Practical Training Program is well-received
February 15, 2017

On February 1, 2017, we launched our newly transformed Structured Practical Training (SPT) program for provisional pharmacists – moving away from a traditional time-based system of completing a set number of practicum hours, to a structure that focusses on mastering the competencies required at entry to practice.

Login to the SPT portal

Feedback from both provisional pharmacists and pharmacists has been very positive and encouraging. One individual stated, “I am about 870 hours into my SPT and I really applaud the new SPT online program. I especially like how there must be a new site for Level III. I found from my personal experience that the SPT can get a bit stale, and although I won’t be going through the new program, I plan on using it to supplement my own internship experience. Well done.”

  • The new SPT program is competency-based (demonstrate proficiencies over hours invested);
  • All learning activities are guided, have clear objectives and are linked to specific outcomes;
  • The SPT program has moved to an online environment and is accessible by both the intern and preceptor;
  • Extensive tools and resources are available to support interns’ learning needs and goals;
  • New program rules have been put in place and/or modified.

Program note - If you are unable to access to the SPT portal after completing the Jurisprudence Learning Module, here is what you can do:

Log into the Jurisprudence Learning Module and verify that you have completed every section.

  1. If you have completed the Jurisprudence Learning Module, you should be able to access a ‘Statement of Completion’ by clicking on the “printer” icon (located in the lower right-hand corner of the module). If a Statement of Completion is not available, it means you have yet to complete the Jurisprudence Learning Module.
  2. To identify which slides have not been completed, click on the “progress” icon (located in the lower right-hand corner of the module). You will need to complete any slides that do not have a green checkmark.
  3. If you have just completed the Jurisprudence Learning Module and have received the Statement of Completion, you may have to wait up to one hour before you will have access to the SPT portal. Please try logging into the SPT portal at a later time.

Visit ACP’s website to learn more

To learn about the new SPT program visit ACP’s website SPT program, download an information brochure for interns, or for preceptors. Please also visit our frequently asked questions page.

Email the SPT Team:

SPTinfo@pharmacists.ab.ca

Visit the SPT online portal

https://pharmacists.ab.ca/SPT/login

Updated MAID Medication Protocol available online
February 15, 2017

The updated MAID Medication Protocol , formerly ‘Pharmacy Protocol’, is now available in the password protected area of the ACP website. The name of the protocol was changed to more accurately reflect its content.

Pharmacists who provide compounding and dispensing services to support MAID are encouraged to become familiar with this updated protocol. Highlights of the Medication Protocol include:

  • The partnership of all the contributing organizations is now reflected in the document.
  • The wording has been updated to include Nurse Practitioners. The terminology now used is ‘providing practitioner’.
  • A Symptom Management Protocol was added for use in managing the symptoms and complications that may arise from use of the oral self-administered protocol.
    • An appendix was added, which contains a list of consumables needed for the IV Protocol.
    • Several wording changes were incorporated to reflect feedback from practitioners that have used the protocols:
      • clarification and updating regarding the verification of consent
      • clarification regarding transportation of medications if necessary
      • change in dispensing quantity for lidocaine in the IV protocol (previously, the prefilled syringe option caused confusion during administration)
      • Removal of vial sizes and addition of concentrations in the drug monographs (to allow for variability in product availability at the pharmacy)
Naloxone guidance document updated
February 15, 2017

As communicated in the Message from the Registrar circulated on February 7, Alberta Health amended the Scheduled Drugs Regulation to move “Naloxone and its salts for use in emergency treatment of opioid overdose outside of a hospital setting” from Schedule 2 to unscheduled.

The provincially funded Take Home Naloxone (THN) program remains unchanged. ACP’s guidance document for the provision of Naloxone kits as part of the provincial program has been updated to reflect the schedule change. Please note that ACP does not support the provision of injectable Naloxone outside of the provincial program.

ACP supports the government’s work in addressing the opioid crisis and we believe that pharmacists play an integral role in the delivery of care to Alberta’s vulnerable populations. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to complete the accredited training available through the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association website and to register to participate in the THN program. 

ACP employment opportunity: Competence Director
February 9, 2017

The Alberta College of Pharmacists is teaming up with the executive search firm Pekarsky & Co. to recruit a Competence Director. 

The Director will lead the administration of policies, processes, and programs, ensuring pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are competent to perform their authorized roles throughout their careers. The Competence Director will work in close collaboration with the Directors of Registration, Professional Practice and Complaints, as their interdependencies are critical to success.

Is this you?
You are an engaging, articulate and collaborative leader. You understand how to lead with influence and build partnerships. You also have a successful record of facilitating, developing, measuring and monitoring educational or training programs, ideally within a regulatory environment.

Most of all, you want to have a positive influence on the quality of pharmacy practice throughout Alberta.

For more information or for details on how to apply, please visit our Careers page.

ACP introduces 2017-19 Business Plan, “Setting the Pace - for Pharmacy Excellence in Person-Centered Care”
February 8, 2017

On behalf of ACP Council and the college, we are pleased to share our 2017-19 Business Plan, “Setting the Pace for Pharmacy Excellence in Person-Centered Care.” 

ACP strives to enable quality experiences that effectively address the personal health needs of individuals, every time they visit their pharmacy team.  We regulate within an increasingly complex social, technological, economic and political environment that continues to shift.  Our plan was developed after careful consideration of trends and emerging issues impacting individuals, pharmacy teams, and the health system.  In the end, we are confident that our efforts will result in Albertans having clearer expectations of their pharmacy team, and more consistent quality experiences at each visit.  

We invite you to read our three-year business plan to learn about the work we will undertake to guide and support pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in their roles to provide Albertans with quality pharmacy care resulting in better patient experiences.

ACP 2017-19 Business Plan

Introducing ACP’s new Structured Practical Training (SPT) program for pharmacists
February 1, 2017

Today, the Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) is launching a new way of learning for all soon-to-be-regulated pharmacists - also known as interns. 

We have transformed the Structured Practical Training (SPT) program – moving away from a traditional time-based system of completing a set number of practicum hours, to a structure that focusses on mastering the competencies required at entry to practice. Competency-based training offers an objective approach to assessing an intern’s readiness for practice, while providing a personalized learning experience to meet identified developmental needs. The role of the preceptor is critical to the program’s success. They hold immense professional responsibility to support an intern’s development and learning needs, and must be committed to the process.

More good news … the SPT program will now be managed in a new online environment, making it easier for the intern and preceptor to monitor, track, assess and document progress. The online portal is user-friendly, intuitive, and easy to navigate. Furthermore, all resources, manuals, assessment tools, instructions, assignments and help guides are housed online to make it convenient, accessible and easy to manage the program.

Finally, the new SPT program will ensure consistency in experiential learning throughout all learning sites in Alberta. Interns will have an organized, structured and supervised training experience leading to desired outcomes of being competent, responsible, patient- and outcomes-focussed healthcare providers.

Highlights of new program

  • The new SPT program is competency-based (demonstrate proficiencies over hours invested);
  • All learning activities are guided, have clear objectives and are linked to specific outcomes;
  • The SPT program has moved to an online environment and is accessible by both the intern and preceptor;
  • Extensive tools and resources are available to support interns’ learning needs and goals;
  • New program rules have been put in place and/or modified.

New Program Rules

  1. Focus is placed on mastering the entry-to-practice competencies, rather than hours invested in a practice setting. Still, a minimum baseline of 1000 structured practical training hours has been established as a guideline only. Additional hours are often required.

    The division of minimum hours for each level has been established as:
    Level I – a minimum of 450 hours
    Level II – a minimum of 450 hours
    Level III – a minimum of 100 hours
     
  2. Interns must work under direct supervision of a clinical pharmacist or courtesy pharmacist for all three levels of the SPT program.
  3. Level III of the SPT program must be completed at a different learning site, and with a different preceptor than level II.
  4. A preceptor may not have more than two interns under his/her preceptorship at the same time.
  5. A preceptor cannot be in a close personal relationship with the intern.

Who will be impacted?

Interns

  1. New interns registering with ACP on February 1, 2017 and beyond will begin their structured practical training through the new online SPT program.
  2. For interns who have registered with ACP before February 1, 2017, a six-month transition period has been established to complete their current program. These interns will not be required to convert to the online program; however, they may choose the new pathway to take advantage of the expanded learning opportunity. 
  3. Current interns and university students can expect an email from ACP outlining their program options, next steps, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Preceptors

In addition to the new rules, it is important for preceptors to remember that all restricted activities completed by the intern during the SPT program (Levels 1-3) must be under the direct supervision of the preceptor and/or another clinical pharmacist. The supervising pharmacist is responsible and accountable for all restricted activities performed by the intern while under his/her supervision.

According to the Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Profession Regulation:

23(1) A regulated member who consents to provide direct supervision under this Regulation must:

  • be authorized to perform the restricted activity being supervised,
  • be present when the supervised individual is performing the restricted activity, and
  • be able to observe and promptly intervene and stop or change the actions of the individual who is under supervision.

Learn more

To learn about the new SPT program visit the program webpage, download an information brochure for interns, or for preceptors. Please also visit our frequently asked questions page.

Learn more about SPT

Email the SPT Team:
SPTinfo@pharmacists.ab.ca

Are your professional declarations up-to-date?
February 1, 2017

Have you checked to make sure your professional liability insurance is current and valid? How about your First Aid and CPR certification?

On October 24, 2016, 264 pharmacists were randomly selected for a professional declarations audit. The Audit of Professional Declarationsreviews pharmacists’ compliance with their declarations submitted during registration renewal. These pharmacists were notified by email and were requested to submit copies of their current professional liability insurance and where applicable, copies of their current CPR and First Aid certification. The majority (99 per cent) of pharmacists were compliant; however:

  • Two pharmacists had their authorization to administer drugs by injection removed due to expired or invalid (i.e., Level A or B CPR) certification; and
  • Three pharmacists were flagged for a direct audit next year due to a late submission of their requested documentation.

When you renew your practice permit, you must declare that:

  • you are in possession of valid professional liability insurance for the practice of pharmacy that:
    • provides at least two million dollars’ worth of personal coverage that is either claims-made or occurrence-based in nature; and
    • is personal and provides coverage in Alberta, regardless of your current employer;
    • you maintain valid professional liability insurance while on the clinical register regardless of whether you are working or residing in Alberta;
    • you understand that the status of your insurance coverage is subject to audit and that false or misleading statements concerning your coverage may be referred to the Complaints Director for further investigation and may result in a recommendation that your practice permit be cancelled

Additionally, if you have authorization to administer injections you declare that you will maintain valid CPR (minimum Level C) and First Aid certification (Standard or Emergency).

Tips to ensure compliance:

  1. Check the currency and validity of your professional liability insurance and First Aid/CPR certification (if applicable). Ensure it is current and meets the minimum requirements.
  2. Track the expiry dates of your liability insurance and First Aid/CPR certification (if applicable), and renew prior to these dates.
  3. Ensure your email address is up-to-date and that you read and respond to correspondence from the Alberta College of Pharmacists.
  4. Contact the Alberta College of Pharmacists if you have any questions about your registration and/or if your practice status changes
Developing Professionalism Through Feedback with Dr. Samina Ali
February 1, 2017

The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences invites you to attend “Developing Professionalism through Feedback” with visiting speaker, Dr. Samina Ali on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.

Time: 12:00 – 12:50 p.m.
Location: ECHA  L1- 490

Can’t make it in person? Connect online 

Bugs & Drugs® now available through Alberta Netcare
February 1, 2017

The Bugs & Drugs® resource is now available through the Alberta Netcare portal from the "clinical eTOOLS" menu.

Bugs & Drugs® is the recommended reference for management of infectious diseases and appropriate antimicrobial use in Alberta. It is peer-reviewed, evidence-based, and frequently updated. Bugs & Drugs® is supported by Alberta Health Services, Alberta Health, and the Do Bugs Need Drugs®? program.

For more information on the program, click here.

For those already using Bugs & Drugs®, the resource continues to be available within AHS and as an Android or iPhone/iPad app

Therapeutic Substitution – MAC Pricing for Proton Pump Inhibitors Effective February 1
February 1, 2017

Alberta Health’s move to Maximum Allowable Cost (MAC) pricing for eligible proton pump inhibitors (PPI) covered under government sponsored drug programs takes effect February 1, 2017. For details, please review Alberta Blue Cross Benefact 668 which also includes a patient information sheet to help you communicate this change.

MAC pricing introduces the need for therapeutic substitution for many individuals. This article provides limited guidance; solely for the purpose of pharmacists responding to Alberta Health’s MAC pricing policy for proton pump inhibitors. There are other limitations and considerations that must be considered in other situations.

Guidance for all Pharmacists

The Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Regulation and related standards authorize pharmacists to “adapt a prescription from another prescriber by substituting another drug that is expected to have a similar therapeutic effect based on a patient assessment.” This type of adaptation should be limited to drugs within the same therapeutic class (i.e. proton pump inhibitors).

Pharmacists must use their professional judgment, and complete a patient assessment supported by clinical evidence to determine the appropriateness of therapeutic interchangeability. Standard 12(5)outlines considerations that pharmacists must make when determining if it is appropriate to adapt a prescription. For more information, please review the Chat, Check, Chart tools for assessment and documentation, and prescription adaptation.

Pharmacists must document in the patient’s record of care that the prescription was adapted, including the patient assessment and reference(s) used to support the prescribing decision. Pharmacists must communicate therapeutic substitution decisions to the original prescriber and any other relevant health professionals.

It is important to discuss substitution decisions with each patient, and receive their informed consent before substituting. Additionally, it is important that each patient be informed about indicators they should monitor that could result from the change in drug therapy.  

Limitations for Pharmacists Not Having Additional Prescribing Authority (APA)

Pharmacists not having APA must restrict adaptation practices to when they receive an original prescription (standard 12). This is interpreted to mean a new prescription. Therefore, subject to the above guidance, if a new prescription is received for a proton pump inhibitor, a pharmacist without APA may adapt the prescription to provide an alternative proton pump inhibitor. 

If a patient requires a refill of an existing prescription, authorization to therapeutically substitute must be sought and approved by an authorized prescriber. This may be the practitioner who originally prescribed the drug, or a member of the pharmacy team who has APA. However, if therapeutic substitution is authorized by another pharmacist having APA, that pharmacist must personally assess the patient, and the prescription must be authorized in their name. Substitution decisions must be patient specific; and, cannot be authorized through standing orders.

January 2017 Health Product InfoWatch
January 31, 2017

The goal of the Health Product InfoWatch is to raise awareness and to provide clinically relevant information to healthcare professionals concerning marketed health products and their safety. In some cases, information is intended to stimulate reporting of similar adverse reactions. Each publication includes a monthly recap of health product advisories and summary safety reviews, as well as a growing selection of new health product safety information.
 

In this issue: 

Are you familiar with the Naloxone Guidelines?
January 18, 2017

In May 2016, ACP provided pharmacists and pharmacy technicians guidance for dispensing or selling naloxone as a Schedule 2 drug. We’ve learned that some pharmacists may not be aware of the ability to dispense a Take Home Naloxone (THN) kit to a patient who is not willing/able to provide a PHN.   

As stated in Alberta Blue Cross Benefact #575, if the client is an Albertan but the PHN is not available and cannot be accessed through Netcare/PIN, the pseudo PHN of NX0000000 may be used. Once a pharmacist determines it is clinically appropriate for the THN kit to be provided, and that the recipient is an Albertan, the pharmacist must provide the kit at no charge to the patient (or the patient’s agent), and can bill the kit to Alberta Blue Cross through the use of the pseudo-PHN. For details on how this should be documented, please refer to ACP’s Naloxone Guidelines

Refusal to provide a THN kit should only be done under extraordinary circumstances. Pharmacists are encouraged to thoroughly document rationale for this refusal in the record of care.

For more information on the THN Program, please consult the following references:

ACP Naloxone Guidelines

Take Home Naloxone – Information for the Pharmacist (online education program)

Alberta Blue Cross Pharmacy Benefact #575

Alberta Blue Cross Benefact #612

Pharmacy students: apply for ACP's Leadership Development Award by March 1, 2017
January 18, 2017

If you are an aspiring leader with a desire to sharpen your skills, we want to hear what leadership, citizenship, and professionalism in pharmacy practice means to you! University of Alberta Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences students are encouraged to explore this life-changing opportunity and apply for ACP's Leadership Development Award by March 1, 2017.

Imagine joining pharmacists and other health professionals to learn, share, and broaden your perspective on how leadership in the profession inspires change. Each year, ACP provides up to $5,000 for a third or fourth year pharmacy student to participate in a leadership development opportunity delivered by a post-secondary institution or through participation at an international conference. 

About the award:

ACP will award up to $5,000 to advance one recipient’s leadership skills through attendance at a single pharmacy leadership conference or leadership development opportunity delivered by a university or college. Need some inspiration? Check out our story about 2016 Leadership Development Award recipient, Alyssa Schmode, in the Fall issue of acpnews.

Indigenous Awareness and Effective Interaction Strategies for Health Care Professionals - January 24, 2017
January 18, 2017

The University of Alberta, in collaboration with the Pharmacy Alumni Association and the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (Alberta Branch) invites Health science professionals are invited to participate in an evening of sharing as we seek improved understanding and explore practical strategies for offering better health care to Indigenous patients. Learn about a new inter-professional health science course being developed by the University of Alberta with funding from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) to bridge the divide between health professionals and Indigenous patients. Register online by January 20 - space is limited!

Agenda:

Welcome & introductions: Overview of the course being developed by UAlberta with grant money from the TRC and introduction to panelists.

Keynote presentation: Dr. Jaris P. Swidrovich, visiting lecturer from the University of Saskatchewan, on common challenges and gaps in knowledge experienced by healthcare professionals treating Indigenous patients and strategies for effective integration based on his experience “Indigenizing” the curriculum at USask and responding to the TRC.

Panelist presentations:

Dr. Jean Triscott, Professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta

Dr. Allyson Jones, Professor, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta

Dr. Cheryl Sadowski, Professor, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta (moderator).

Open discussion: Audience and panelist discussion - an opportunity to ask questions about challenges you’ve experienced and share success stories.

This event is brought to you in collaboration with the Pharmacy Alumni Association and the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists - Alberta Branch.

CAMH Online Opioid Dependence Treatment Program
January 18, 2017

This online course is the foundation of the Opioid Dependence Treatment Certificate Program. It is offered through the University of Calgary from February 3 to April 3, 2017. The course is designed to promote inter-professional collaboration among the health care team involved in opioid dependence treatment. In this course, pharmacists and other health professionals learn skills and review guidelines for effective and safe management of clients receiving methadone or buprenorphine maintenance treatment for opioid dependence. Course participants may claim up to 22.5 CEUs (CCCEP accredited).

For more information and to register online:

http://cumming.ucalgary.ca/cme/programs/camh-odt-alberta-version

Note: If you provide opioid dependence treatment to your patients you should be familiar with ACP's ODT Guidelines 

Prescribed activity for pharmacy technicians for 2017 CE cycle
January 18, 2017

One of ACP’s strategic goals is for pharmacy technicians to be integrated into pharmacy practice teams, exercising responsibility for roles they are authorized to fulfill. To achieve this, pharmacy technicians must have a solid understanding of their role as well as a pharmacist’s role in pharmacy practice. Accordingly, the prescribed activity for the 2017 CE cycle is a Jurisprudence Self-Assessment that focuses on the scope of practice for pharmacy technicians and pharmacists. This self-assessment tool will test your knowledge and understanding of the complementary roles and responsibilities of both professions, and help you consider ways to further support your pharmacy team.

Get an early start on your annual Continuing Competence Program (CCP) and complete this Jurisprudence Self-Assessment found in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal today!

Summary of CCP requirements for pharmacy technicians

A new CE cycle started December 1, 2016. If you plan to renew your practice permit, you must complete the following Continuing Competence Program (CCP) requirements by November 30, 2017:

  1. Complete the Jurisprudence Self-Assessment - available in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal
  2. Complete learning activities – Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle (December 1, 2016 to November 30, 2017) and document each activity on a Learning Record
  3. Put your learning to use – Implement a minimum of one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an Implementation Record (you only need to complete one record)

Access all program materials in the CCP portal. For more information on the program, please refer to CCP requirements, review the CCP tutorial, and/or contact a member of the competence department.

Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) looking for assessors
January 18, 2017

PEBC is looking for assessors for the pharmacy technician OSPE in Edmonton on Saturday April 1, 2017 and the pharmacist OSCE in Edmonton and Calgary on Sunday, May 28, 2017.

Each year, PEBC invites interested pharmacists who have been licensed in Canada for at least two years and who are currently providing or directly supervising patient care services (including dispensing, clinical and/or drug information services) to apply as assessors for both the OSCE and the OSPE. PEBC also invites interested pharmacy technicians who are currently registered in Alberta to apply as assessors for the OSPE.

If interested, please complete the PEBC assessor recruitment form and return to the contacts listed on the form.

Hearing notice: Pouran Manzouri
January 10, 2017
Hearing status Scheduled
Registrant Pouran Manzouri
Charge Unprofessional Conduct
Date February 28, 2017
Time 9:30 a.m.
Location

Alberta College of Pharmacists
1100 - 8215 112 Street NW
Edmonton, AB

 

In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.

To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre-registering is required.

Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.

Media inquiries are to be directed to Shirley Nowicki, Communications Director, at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca

Hearing notice: Crystal McIntyre
January 10, 2017
Hearing status Scheduled
Registrant Crystal McIntyre
Charge Unprofessional Conduct
Date February 15, 2017
Time 9:30 a.m.
Location

Alberta College of Pharmacists
1100 - 8215 112 Street NW
Edmonton, AB

 

In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.

To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre-registering is required.

Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.

Media inquiries are to be directed to Shirley Nowicki, Communications Director, at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca

December 2016 Health Product InfoWatch is now available
December 22, 2016

The goal of the Health Product InfoWatch is to raise awareness and to provide clinically relevant information to healthcare professionals concerning marketed health products and their safety. In some cases, information is intended to stimulate reporting of similar adverse reactions. Each publication includes a monthly recap of health product advisories and summary safety reviews, as well as a growing selection of new health product safety information.

In this issue: 

ACP office closed for the holidays
December 15, 2016

Happy Holidays from all of us at ACP! We hope you enjoy time spent with family and friends during this holiday season.

Our office will be closed after 4:30 p.m. on Friday, December 23, 2016, and will reopen on Tuesday, January 3, 2017. 

 

MAID update
December 14, 2016

Thank you to all the pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in community and hospital-based practices who have taken extraordinary measures to work with physicians to meet the wishes of individuals who have chosen and been authorized to receive MAID.

ACP was to readdress its guidance to members into a single document in 2016, which has been delayed. During the first quarter of 2017, you can expect a smaller, simpler document that will reference other resources to assist you. Meanwhile, we wish to provide you the following updates:

  • ACP has reposted the most current MAID protocol in the password protected section of our website.
  • Council has approved the following guidance for the filling of syringes for the euthanasia protocol:
  • Whenever possible, pre-filling syringes with drugs for the euthanasia protocol should occur in a sterile environment;
  • If a sterile environment is not accessible, then aseptic technique may be used;
  • If aseptic technique is used, then:
  • Syringes should be pre-filled as close to the arranged pick-up time by the prescribing physician or nurse; and,
  • Syringes MUST not be filled more than 24 hours in advance of the planned time of administration
  • Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must ensure that filled syringes are securely stored in an appropriate environment to ensure stability.

The MAID protocol for oral administration MUST only be prepared in an environmentally controlled hood to ensure the safety of pharmacy personnel

On December 6, 2016, an Order in Council was passed authorizing Nurse Practitioners to assess a client for eligibility for MAID and to administer the medication that causes the death. Prescriptions for a MAID protocol received from nurse practitioners should be treated exactly the same as if it were a physician prescribing.

There are still many communities where pharmacy licensees have not indicated the readiness and willingness of their team to support physicians or nurse practitioners in meeting the wishes of individuals choosing and being authorized to receive MAID. Please have this discussion with your team, and if you are able and willing to provide services, please notify Registrar Greg Eberhart. Your contact information will be shared with AHS MAID coordinators to facilitate service delivery.

Watch for more information about MAID in forthcoming editions of The Link. We continue to learn, so enhancements to the pharmacy protocol are expected in 2017.

Live vaccines may not be appropriate for immunocompromised patients
December 14, 2016

Pharmacists are reminded that the influenza vaccine administered as a nasal spray (FluMist) is a live, attenuated vaccine, and therefore caution must be exercised in determining if it should be administered to immunocompromised patients. Influenza vaccines administered as an injection are inactivated and do not share the same precautions.

Recently, a pharmacist reported that one of her patients received a flu vaccine that was not appropriate given the medications the patient was taking. As the patient was a teenager, she was eligible for the nasal flu vaccine. However, the patient also receives treatment with Remicade (Infliximab) and is considered immunocompromised. It is a contraindication for patients on biologic medications, such as Remicade, to receive live vaccines. It is recommended that live vaccines not be given concurrently with Remicade. The patient’s Remicade infusion had to be delayed by almost two weeks because of the live vaccine. Delaying a Remicade infusion can be detrimental to the treatment of the patient’s disease.

For detailed information on FluMist and other vaccines, please refer to the product monographs in the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties (CPS) or the Statement on Seasonal Influenza Vaccine 2016-2017.

Alberta seniors invited to participate in medication adherence study
December 14, 2016

The ACCESS Study is encouraging medication adherence in low income (less than $50,000 annual household income) Alberta seniors. ACCESS is a three-year study being conducted by Dr. Braden Manns and Dr. David Campbell at the University of Calgary.

The ACCESS team is investigating the impact of providing free preventive medications and/or a personalized education program. Participants must be over the age of 65 and have the chronic health conditions listed below.

Pharmacists are asked to help identify eligible patients and provide them with a brochure about the study. If you are interested in assisting with recruitment, please contact the ACCESS team at 1-844-310-0585 or accesstrial@ucalgary.ca. You will be sent a package containing posters, brochures, and a medication appendix of the covered drugs.

Tale of the two Dhaliwals
December 14, 2016

We recently became aware of two Edmonton area physicians who share the exact same first, last and middle name. Each with the name Dr. Navdeep Singh Dhaliwal, one physician is a general practitioner and the other is an emergency room physician.

The issue with the identical names became apparent when the emergency room physician received several notifications from the Triplicate Prescription Program (TPP) for prescriptions he did not write. Additionally, the emergency room physician has received prescription refill requests for patients whom were under the care of the other Dr. Navdeep Dhaliwal. This situation has not only led to pharmacists creating inaccurate patient records, but in some cases has disrupted patient care. 

This story serves as a reminder that prescribers with identical names do exist; and, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must be conscious of that fact when receiving a prescription with limited information. As outlined in Standard 6.6 in the Standards of Practice, remember to identify the prescriber and determine whether the prescriber is legally authorized to prescribe the drug or blood product for which the prescription has been given.

All pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are to ensure that they visit the Forgery Alerts section of our website for additional details on these two physicians, including what they are authorized to prescribe.

Regional meeting recap
December 14, 2016

Thank you to everyone who participated in our recent Regional Meetings in Edmonton, Lethbridge, and online! Together with over 100 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, we explored two main themes impacting pharmacy practice in Alberta; Modernizing Role Statements for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians, and Pharmacy Working Conditions. 

The topic of modernizing role statements generated rich and thoughtful discussion at all three meetings. It was encouraging to see how many pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, from a variety of different practice settings, openly shared their thoughts on the draft statements and provided valuable suggestions for what should be added, removed, and clarified.

Role statements are important because they contribute to a profession’s identity and purpose within Alberta’s health system. Updating these statements to accurately reflect the current role of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will provide clearer expectations to the public, registrants, pharmacy owners, and our stakeholders.

We are currently in the process of incorporating feedback from these discussions into the draft role statements, and will post the revised versions on our website early in the new year for further review and comment. At the same time, we will be engaging with other colleges of pharmacy, pharmacy associations, other professions, and the public. Our hope is to have the new role statements approved by council in June of 2017.

The topic of pharmacy workplace conditions also generated lots of good discussion among both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. The discussion stemmed from the findings of a research study conducted by Dr. Carlo Marra, Dean Faculty of Pharmacy, Memorial University in the spring of 2016. Central to the discussion was the concept of performance targets and quotas. One common sentiment that echoed throughout our discussions was the need to ensure that quotas/targets were aligned with the capacity of the pharmacy team (what is reasonable given resources, time, etc.,) and that patient health outcomes should always be at the core of any quota/target that is developed.

We look forward to continuing the conversation with more pharmacists and pharmacy technicians at our Spring 2016 Regional Meetings which will be announced later in the new year.

Update from council
December 14, 2016

Council convened December 5-6, 2016 in Edmonton and will reconvene again on March 2-3, 2017. Following are highlights of council’s December deliberations:

Model Compounding and Repackaging Agreement – The agreement required between Compounding and Repackaging Pharmacies was further amended by replacing reference to the narcotic control regulation with reference to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Except in emergencies, a compounding and repackaging pharmacy MUST NOT compound or repackage any drug, or combination of drugs, listed in the schedules or regulations to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Council extended the deadline for when Compounding and Repackaging Pharmacies must establish new agreements with licensed pharmacies, to whom they provide services, to February 1, 2017.

Vision 2025 – ACP and RxA have worked over the past year to develop a vision for pharmacy practice in Alberta over the next 10 years. The DRAFT vision was further amended to incorporate suggestions received from CSHP-AB branch. Prior to finalizing the document, we will be incorporating suggestions received from external stakeholders. ACP, RxA, PTSA, and CSHP-AB branch look forward to socializing this vision with pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and other key audiences in 2017.

Budget and Business Plan 2017 – council approved the budget and business plan for 2017, taking into consideration projections for 2018-19. There will be no increases to ACP’s fee schedules, meaning that registration and annual permit renewal fees remain at 2016 levels. Priorities ACP will address in 2017 include:

  • Implement a new information management system to administer/manage basic requirements for core programs: registration, competence, professional practice, complaints resolution; o Pilot and be prepared to implement an audit process for the pharmacy technician competence program; o Receive council approval on proposed amendments to the Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technician Regulation and the Pharmacy and Drug Regulation; o
  • Develop program content, develop delivery polices and strategies, pilot and receive council approval for a pharmacy licensee program (watch for more information to come);
  • Implement phase one and phase two of Standards for Compounding Sterile NonHazardous Preparations; o Engage with at least 500 registrants, either through in-person meetings and/or through electronic solutions that facilitate dialogue and discussion about selected subjects.
  • Watch in early 2017 for a copy of ACP’s Strategic Plan, and the five strategic goals of council. 
     

Appointment to PEBC Board of Directors – Kaye Moran was appointed for a second three-year term, as ACP’s appointee to the PEBC Board of Directors. Kaye currently sits on the Executive Committee of the Board.

Model Standards for Pharmacy Compounding Hazardous Sterile Preparations – council approved NAPRA’s Model Standards for Compounding Hazardous Sterile Preparations, with the following amendments: 

  • Page 37 – Table 5 – that an N95 or N100 NIOSH approved mask is not required when compounding hazardous products in a biological safety cabinet or compounding aseptic containment isolator. REASON: council felt that USP 800 was not specific enough respecting when such masks were required, and was satisfied that when compounding in a BSC or CACI, that adequate protection was provided to pharmacy personnel.
  • Page 38 – Section 5.5.3 (Uniform) –pharmacy personnel compounding hazardous products in compliance with these standards, are not required to wear clean room scrubs. REASON: council could not find evidence to support the need for wearing clean room scrubs.

    Council determined the timeframe for implementing this standard, along with the approved standard for Compounding Sterile Non-hazardous products should be the same. Therefore, the new timelines for complying with the standards for Compounding Sterile Hazardous and Non-hazardous Products are:
    • Phase 1 – July 1, 2018
    • Phase 2 – January 1, 2019
    • Phase 3 – To be determined. 

      Model Standards for Pharmacy Compounding Non-sterile Preparations – council received and reviewed comments received in a consultation process with registrants, stakeholders, Alberta Health, and Alberta Health Services. Comments have been forwarded to NAPRA’s National Advisory Committee on Pharmacy Practice charged with developing a national model standard. The committee will consider comments from across Canada, and will provide recommendations to the NAPRA Board in 2017. Once a national model is approved, ACP’s council will deliberate adopting the model as approved, or in an adapted form.

      Naloxone – council supported a proposal from the Minister to reschedule Naloxone to unscheduled status. This will make Naloxone more readily accessible to first responders, community support groups, other health professionals, and families. Please watch for further notice should rescheduling occur.

      Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) – the MAID protocol for euthanasia recommends that pharmacists provide the drugs in a ready-to-use format. Council approved the following guidance for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who pre-fill syringes for the MAID euthanasia protocol
  • Whenever possible, the pre-filling of syringes with drugs for the euthanasia protocol should occur in a sterile environment;
  • If a sterile environment is not accessible, then aseptic technique may be used
  • If aseptic technique is used, then: Syringes should be pre-filled as close to the arranged, pick-up time by the prescribing physician or nurse; and, Syringes MUST not be filled more than 24 hours in advance of the planned time of administration
  • Pharmacists and pharmacy technician must ensure that filled syringes are securely stored in an appropriate environment to ensure stability

    CPSA Standards for Safe Prescribing and Supervising Restricted Activities – council supported DRAFT standards proposed by CPSA for safe prescribing and supervising restricted activities. The DRAFT standards introduce requirements ACP already expect of pharmacists. CPSA council consider feedback received during the spring of 2017, prior to approval and implementation.

    NAPRA Governance – council received a presentation from Anjli Acharya, NAPRA president, proposing changes to NAPRA’s governance structure. The recommendations resulted from an external governance review conducted by NAPRA, including a review of structures used by other national coalitions of health regulators. NAPRA will be deliberating changes to its governance structure in April 2017.

    Discussion with Deputy Minister Carl Amrhein – council was privileged to have a 90- minute discussion with Dr. Amrhein. In his opening comments, Dr. Amrhein paraphrased a speech made by the Minister of Health to the Accelerating Primary Care Conference in November. While many topics were covered, some of the sentinel topics were:
  • Government welcomes new ideas and alternatives for improving access to health services, within the constraints of a restricted budget;
  • The future of healthcare is in community practice;
  • Pharmacy needs to contextualize its role in health promotion, disease prevention, and the delivery of care, as it would be seen and consistently experienced by Albertans in an integrated, community based system.

Originally published in the December 14, 2016 issue of The Link

Simple math still needs checking: tips for avoiding medication errors
December 14, 2016

Over the past month, the college has investigated several complaints involving registrants who have calculated and then dispensed an incorrect, and potentially dangerous, dose of ranitidine solution for infant patients. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are reminded to follow these tips for ensuring accurate calculations:

  • Ensure calculations, especially unusual calculations, are consistently documented on the prescription or transaction record and checked by two members of the pharmacy team. If a pharmacist is working independently, have a second pharmacy staff member check the calculations at the earliest opportunity (such as the beginning of the next shift)
     
  • As part of the prescription processing and assessment process, always circle (or otherwise clearly document) medication strengths on written prescriptions that contain a change in a patient’s previous dose.
     
  • Be extra diligent in processing and dispensing “high-alert” drugs, such as prednisone, methotrexate, and warfarin. Not only can high-alert drugs cause significant harm to patients when used in error, but these drugs often require dosing calculations as part of the dispensing process. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should regularly review current high-alert drug listings from sources such as the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (see http://www.ismp.org/communityRx/tools/ambulatoryhighalert.asp).
     
  • Implement a warning system for stocked high-alert drugs within the pharmacy and audit the implementation of the warning system quarterly.
     
  • When performing the final check on a prescription, including any required calculations, always check the original written prescription first, before reviewing the prepared prescription bottle or transaction record. (This checking includes never applying a signature to a       prescription transaction record until the pharmacist or pharmacy technician has verified the prepared prescription is 100 per cent current, complete, accurate, and appropriate.)
     
  • Ensure that once a critical task has been started (e.g., making/verifying a calculation as part of a final check on a prescription), it is completed without interruption, or if an interruption cannot be avoided, ensure the critical task is repeated from the beginning.
  • Specify the length of therapy ordered by the prescriber within the written instructions on the prescription label.
     
  • Specify both the volume and quantity for the calculated dose of all liquid medications within the written instructions on the prescription label, (e.g., Take 5ml (125mg) three times daily for ten days).
     
  • Review and implement the ACP’s Chat, Check and Chart (CCC) tools to assist in patient assessment, as an additional means of verifying the appropriateness of prescription calculations. By more consistently asking the three prime questions, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can better verify the accuracy of any prescription calculations they are required to make.
     
  • When dealing with a patient’s agent, confirm that the agent is aware of how the patient has been instructed to take the medication and can relate all information provided by the pharmacist back to the patient, such as confirming number of dosage units (e.g., tablets or capsules) to be taken and duration of therapy. If the patient’s agent cannot confirm or relate the necessary inform, contact the patient directly.
Learnings from Hearing Tribunals: know your limits and practice within them
December 14, 2016

A recent hearing tribunal issued its written decision on the merit and orders regarding the conduct of a pharmacist who admitted to administering medications by injection to several patients, over an extended period of time, without having the required training, current CPR and First Aid certification, or the authorization to do so. Additionally, the pharmacist failed to create or maintain the required records of care associated with the injections. Although none of the patients reported any harm resulting from the injections, the hearing tribunal found that in providing injections without the proper training and required authorization, the pharmacist placed the patients at risk, failed to meet the ethical obligations of a pharmacist, and harmed the integrity of the profession. 

In their decision, the tribunal stated:

[The pharmacist] had an ethical obligation to his patients and the public to obtain and maintain the required authorization prior to injecting any patient, and [the pharmacist] failed to do so. It is clear in the Standards of Practice that when a pharmacist provides a treatment, and particularly when the pharmacist is actively administering a treatment, it is mandatory to maintain records. Records are important for the reason if there is an emergency that arises, but they are also a very important aspect of being able to monitor compliance. In this case the College does not know precisely how many times, and there are no records. It is as if those injections never happened. This behavior has potentially placed patients at risk.

[The pharmacist] practiced outside his authorized scope of practice and failed to create or maintain the required records of care, and by doing so he has called into question the trust placed in him as a member of a self-regulating profession Any self-regulating profession has its obligation to regulate its members, but it can't be standing over its members. Each member has to take the responsibility to uphold this principle and govern oneself accordingly to the statute, regulations, standards of practice and code of ethics.

[The pharmacist] showed a serious disregard of his duties as a pharmacist to his patients, the Alberta College of Pharmacists, and to the public which relies upon the integrity and competence of pharmacists as members of a selfregulating profession. This behavior undermines the integrity of the profession.

Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians: Ensure you practice only in areas in which you are competent and authorized to do so Incorporate these lessons into your practice:

1. Review your professional responsibilities and ethical duties. Principles 1, 5, 9 and 10 of the Code of Ethics will provide you with valuable guidance in this respect. Also, review your responsibilities with regards to administering injections (see Standards 16 & 17 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians (“SPPPT”)) and creating and maintaining proper records (see Standard 18 and Appendix A of the SPPPT).

2. Ensure that you are properly trained, competent and authorized to provide all restricted activities that you provide, such as administering injections. Review your practice together with Sections 16 to 23 of the Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Profession Regulation (Restricted Activities).

3. Set up your practice to ensure that all pharmacy services customarily needed by your patients can be provided safely, responsibly, and in accordance with all the applicable legislative requirements. If you are unable or not authorized to provide a pharmacy service, ensure that you can assist those patients in seamlessly obtaining the service from another health care provider. Know your limits and know when to refer.

4. Create and maintain proper records for your pharmacy, such as those for the administration of medications by injection. 

 

Office closing early Dec 12
December 12, 2016
Our office will be closed at 3:30 p.m. today (December 12) for a staff function. We will reopen on Tuesday, December 13 at 8:00 a.m.
November 2016 Health Product InfoWatch is now available
December 7, 2016

The goal of the Health Product InfoWatch is to raise awareness and to provide clinically relevant information to healthcare professionals concerning marketed health products and their safety. In some cases, information is intended to stimulate reporting of similar adverse reactions. Each publication includes a monthly recap of health product advisories and summary safety reviews, as well as a growing selection of new health product safety information.

In this issue

Learnings from Hearing Tribunals: seek help if you are not fit to practice
November 30, 2016

A recent hearing tribunal issued its written decision on the merit and orders regarding the conduct of a pharmacist who was found to have diverted large quantities of drugs including: zopiclone, zolpidem, nitrazepam, and dextroamphetamine. The tribunal found the quantities of drugs the pharmacist diverted were so large as to preclude these were solely for his personal use.

The tribunal also determined that the pharmacist abused his position of trust by creating false patient records to facilitate and conceal his diversions, while at the same time actively circumventing a drug monitoring and support program he had been ordered to submit to by a previous hearing tribunal. In doing so, the hearing tribunal ruled that the pharmacist breached the most fundamental elements of trust, integrity, and professionalism.
 
In this matter, the tribunal imposed the most significant penalties permitted under the Health Professions Act… cancellation, fines totaling $40,000, and costs of the investigation and hearing. Furthermore, the tribunal instructed the hearings director to submit their decision to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General of Alberta.
 
Rationale for the tribunal’s decision is reflected in its following statements from the tribunal’s decision on merit:
[The pharmacist] not only diverted controlled medications, he abused his position of authority by altering records to conceal this activity. These actions surely diminish the standing of the profession in the eyes of the public. Furthermore, [the pharmacist’s] actions represent a direct and willful contravention of an order given to him and conditions placed on his practice by the profession.
 
The public bases their trust in the pharmacy profession on the assumption that it will regulate itself in the best interest of patients and the safety of the public. [The pharmacist’s] failure to comply with orders stemming from the profession’s self-regulation calls that assumption into question, thereby threatening the public’s trust in the profession.
 
[The pharmacist’s] actions clearly demonstrate a profound lack of judgment, particularly in light of them occurring while under an order of a previous hearing tribunal and in a matter similar to that which led to the initial hearing. Instead of asking for help when he relapsed, he went to great lengths to avoid help and to conceal his relapse from those who could provide it.
 
From the tribunal’s decision on orders:
Diversion of controlled substances is in itself a serious offence, as is the creation of fictitious records to conceal that diversion. It is an abuse of the trust placed in pharmacists by the profession and by the public to safely manage the distribution of medications and to uphold the laws and regulations that govern that distribution. This [conduct] not only breaches multiple standards of professional conduct but potentially puts members of the public at risk.
 
Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians - review your ethical duties to your patients, our profession and yourself
• Review your professional responsibilities and ethical duties. Principles 1, 10, and 11 of the Code of Ethics will provide you with valuable guidance in this respect.
• Understand that the diversion of drugs cannot and will not be tolerated by the profession. Your decision to participate in these activities may result in the most serious sanctions available to be imposed.
• Do not allow your personal circumstances to negatively affect your professional obligations.
• Seek help at the earliest opportunity. Many employers offer an employee assistance program and there are many other assessment and support services offered through Alberta Health Services and for members of the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association.
• Take yourself out of practice when you are not fit to practice.
First year of CCP for pharmacy technicians wraps today!
November 30, 2016

Congratulations to the 1345 pharmacy technicians who have completed the prescribed CCP Tutorial and Jurisprudence Self-Assessment, and to all those who have submitted their professional portfolios!

Remember, today (November 30) at midnight is the deadline to submit your professional portfolio. If you have everything ready to go but are stuck on how to submit, check out our recent article on submitting your professional portfolio for the first time in the fall issue of acpnews.

Students raising money for Movember at Mr. Pharmacy 2016
November 30, 2016

Mr. Pharmacy is back for another year and students competing in the annual event are gearing up by getting their “mo” on, growing moustaches to benefit the Movember Canada Foundation. Students raised more than $30,000 last year benefiting the Movember Foundation. This year’s event, organized by the Alberta Pharmacy Students Association (APSA), takes place on Saturday, December 3, 2016 at the Myer Horowitz Theatre. Doors open at 5:00 and the show starts at 6:00 p.m.

Students will compete in a talent contest, beach wear segment, a triathlon of pharmacy events and answer skill-testing questions during a popular segment called “Pharmily Feud.” There will be wine and cheese along with a silent auction before the show and during intermission. Tickets are $30 ($25 for students) and can be purchased here: http://ticketf.ly/2eM3F3S. Check out the promotional video for Mr. Pharmacy 2016 to see what's in store! https://youtu.be/O-e3fMMNZHM

CCP audit results - pharmacists
November 30, 2016

Every year, a percentage of pharmacists are selected to have their professional portfolios audited. If selected, your portfolio goes through an administrative audit and your Implementation Record is peer assessed by two pharmacists trained in assessment. If your professional portfolio was audited, you would have been notified via email around the end of September.

This year, a total of 500 professional portfolios were audited. All the pharmacists whose portfolios were audited have received feedback. Based on the audit results:

  • 84 per cent met or exceeded the established standards (Category 1) of the professional portfolios. Excellent job!
  • 13 per cent had minor deficiencies (Category 2) in their portfolios due to a lack of specific details in the responses. These pharmacists are encouraged to use the assessors’ feedback to improve their professional portfolios for the current CE cycle and will be selected to undergo another audit.
  • 3 per cent had significant gaps in their portfolios due to a lack of implementation of learning and/or lack of engagement. Completing the Continuing Competence Program is a professional responsibility and failure to complete the requirements may be considered “unprofessional conduct." This small group of pharmacists have been referred to the Competence Committee for direction regarding the next course of action.

During the audit, our assessors looked for the following key indicators in your Learning/Implementation Records:

  • Were the learning activities identified relevant to your implementation objective?
  • Was your implementation objective clearly outlined and related to pharmacy practice, medical knowledge, and/or systems-based practice?
  • Was your rationale for choosing the implementation objective and how it is relevant to your practice clearly indicated?
  • Were the steps you took to achieve the implementation objective clearly indicated?
  • Was the outcome of the implementation clearly explained?
  • Was it evident that you achieved your implementation objective and played a role in the implementation?
  • Were your records professional?

Did you know the CCP portal is available all year round? Here are some tips/comments from our assessors:

  • “Start thinking about your learning and implementation plan EARLY in the registration year, not the final couple of weeks.” 
  • “Please be concise with your implementation objective. The entire process depends on that objective.”
  • “Some applicants provided too little information on the steps they took or the outcome leaving us to infer the outcome.”
  • “Don't do it because you have to - use it to improve yourself and your practice!!”

Reminder of CCP program requirements:

  1. Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle and document each learning activity on one or more Learning Records;
  2. Implement at least one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an Implementation Record; and

Complete any required learning that has been assigned by the Competence Committee. For the 2016/2017 CE cycle, the prescribed learning is the Jurisprudence Self-Assessment tool and is found in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP porta

Learnings from Hearing Tribunals: diversion of drugs a serious offence
November 30, 2016

A recent hearing tribunal issued its written decision on the merit and orders regarding the conduct of a pharmacist who was found to have diverted large quantities of Cialis and Viagra. The tribunal found the quantities of drugs the pharmacist diverted were so large as to preclude these were solely for his personal use. Also, the tribunal found the pharmacist abused his position of trust by manipulating the inventory records and ordering procedures to facilitate and conceal his diversions. In doing so the hearing tribunal found that the pharmacist breached the most fundamental elements of trust, integrity and professionalism.

The requirement for registrants of a profession to act honestly and ethically is a fundamental part of the covenant of self-regulation. 

In this matter the tribunal imposed very significant penalties, even though the medications diverted were not narcotics, controlled drugs, or targeted substances. The tribunal ordered: 
a one-year suspension, 
a $5000 fine, 
the costs of the investigation and hearing (likely to be in the range of $15,000-$20,000), 
a condition prohibiting the pharmacist from holding the position of pharmacy owner, proprietor or licensee for a period of five years, and 
a condition that the pharmacist must disclose the tribunal’s written decision to any pharmacy employer for a period of five years. 
 
The tribunal did not instruct the hearings director to provide their decision to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General of Alberta, as the matter was previously heard by the courts (February 19, 2016) and the pharmacist was ordered to pay a $2,300 penalty. 
 
Rationale for the tribunal’s decision is reflected in its following statements: 
 
From the tribunal’s decision: 
The Hearing Tribunal accepts without hesitation that dispensing Schedule 1 drugs without a prescription attacks the heart of the pharmacy profession and has no difficulty concluding that by engaging in the conduct set out in Allegations 1 and 2 [the pharmacist] has engaged in unprofessional conduct. 
 
The Hearing Tribunal agrees that the conduct at issue is very serious and cuts to the core of professional obligations of a pharmacist. [The pharmacist] demonstrated an alarming lack of judgment in engaging in the conduct he did. The Hearing Tribunal is also concerned with the length of time over which the diversions occurred and the quantity of Viagra and Cialis that were diverted. The Hearing Tribunal has also taken into account the fact that the diversions only ceased when they were discovered by [The pharmacist’s] employer. All these factors point to the need for a serious and severe sanction such as the suspension and fine urged by [the ACP].
 
Pharmacists - review your ethical duties to our profession and yourself 
Review and discuss with colleagues your fundamental professional obligations.
Understand that the diversion of drugs cannot, and will not, be tolerated by the profession. Your decision to participate in these activities may result in the most serious sanctions available. These possible sanctions may apply even when “regular” prescription medications are diverted. 
Do not allow your personal circumstances to negatively affect your professional obligations. 
Review and reflect upon your conduct as it relates to the Code of Ethics and your profession.
Major PIN outage scheduled for December 4, 2016
November 30, 2016

Alberta Health is planning a major outage to the Pharmaceutical Information Network (PIN) on Sunday, December 4, between 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. This planned outage is 17 hours in length, which is longer than the usual release and maintenance outages that PIN conducts. Users who are logged in during this time will be disconnected and will need to re-authenticate following the outage period.

During this time, users will not be able to access any information stored in PIN, which includes:

  • the Medication Profile in Alberta Netcare Portal;
  • direct access from Electronic Medical Record (EMR) or Pharmacy Point of Service systems (real time integration), and
  • Pharmacy Batch submissions will be suspended.

The outage is required to implement application and database updates to improve PIN functionality, maintainability, and performance.

For assistance, AHS employees can contact the AHS Service Desk for their zone, and Community Alberta Netcare users (outside AHS) can contact the Provincial Helpdesk at 1-877-931-1638.

Thank you, preceptors!
November 16, 2016

 note of appreciation from the University of Alberta Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

It has been another remarkable year of growth at the Faculty of Pharmacy, in the classroom and out in the field. Our preceptors are an invaluable catalyst for student learning bringing theoretical knowledge to life. With the wealth of information our incredible preceptors instill, students are working hard to integrate knowledge acquired in the classroom to their diverse practice settings.

In the past year, nearly 500 preceptors participated in the education of U of A Pharmacy students. It is with great pride that we acknowledge their contributions to the development of future pharmacists. Pharmacy students traveled the province, visiting 50 communities, which included 136 community pharmacies, 9 primary care networks, and 60 institutional sites where students were exposed to ambulatory, acute and long term care experiences. Click here to access our Academy of Preceptors for the 2015-16 academic year.

Our students are grateful for the opportunities provided at practice sites throughout the province; participation in inter-professional teams, special projects, and ultimately developing their confidence through practice. Students have shared noteworthy sentiments we’d like to share;

“My preceptor was the perfect balance of supervisor, manager, educator and colleague. Each opportunity I had she was there to assist me.” 

“He allowed for open dialogue and discussion and wouldn't just provide me with the answers. He would challenge me to think critically and come to my own conclusions.” 

“I am truly grateful for such an experience. I developed my knowledge, skills and confidence. I believe following this rotation I am capable of being a successful pharmacist.” 

Preceptors from across the province were nominated this year for exceptional teaching and mentorship in each of the experiential education courses. Of nearly 500 active preceptors in 2015/16, six recipients have been chosen for the Preceptor of the Year Awards. This student-nominated award asks students to provide examples of how his/her preceptor demonstrates effective preceptorship skills, professionalism, and exemplifies a positive role model in practice, and overall, made the student’s experience outstanding. The award consists of a cash award of $300, and a glass plaque as a memento of this accolade, generously sponsored by TEVA Canada. We proudly congratulate the following recipients of Preceptor of the Year for 2015-16:

Pharm 305 | Taria Gouw
Pharm 316 | Lorraine Delano & Serena Bains
Pharm 426 | Craig MacAlpine 
Pharm 428 | Charles Au 
PharmD | Matt Mink 

A staggering 91 recipients have also been nominated to receive Preceptor Recognition Awards! The 2015/16 Recognition Program recognizes preceptors who engage students to reflect on important areas of practice and professional development. Please visit our website for a complete listing of these phenomenal preceptors!

We thank all preceptors for their dedication and support. We could not graduate competent and confident pharmacists without our preceptors’ commitment to student education. Thank you!

Submitted by the University of Alberta Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Ensure patient privacy when administering injections
November 16, 2016

Holding a flu clinic? Make sure you take steps to ensure patient privacy – it’s your responsibility. We’ve received reports of flu clinics where immunizations are being administered in an area that is not private. As outlined in Standard 16.3, a pharmacist who administers a drug, blood product or vaccine must ensure that the environment within which the drug, blood product or vaccine will be administered is clean, safe, appropriately private and comfortable for the patient. 

When providing services outside of the patient services area or outside the pharmacy, pharmacists must ensure that there is an area available to accommodate the privacy of individuals. The degree of privacy desired by individuals may vary; and should not be assumed or left to the pharmacist’s discretion. Therefore, it is good practice for pharmacists, when seeking the consent of individuals to administer vaccines or other drugs by injection, to ask them whether they would like it administered in a private or semi-private area. This can easily be accommodated when seeking their consent to administer.   

 

U of A Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Business Plan Competition
November 16, 2016

Pharmacists and leaders in pharmacy are invited to join us for the Annual Pharmacy Business Plan Competition. Third Year Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences students at the U of A will be competing for bragging rights and potentially, a cash investment for the "Best Overall" business plan presentations. Come and be inspired and network with these rising stars in Pharmacy!

When: Monday, November 28, 2016 (5:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.) – reception follows presentations

Where: Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (Room 2-490)

If interested in attending, please contact Jody Shkrobot at shkrobot@ualberta.ca

Review pertinent laboratory test results prior to dispensing warfarin
November 16, 2016

Pharmacists are reminded to review pertinent laboratory test (INR) results before dispensing prescriptions for warfarin or other vitamin K antagonist anticoagulants. The importance of this practice is highlighted in two real-life patient scenarios that occurred in Alberta last year.

Case #1: A patient went without INR monitoring for eight months despite the fact that 10 prescriptions for warfarin (indication: stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation) were dispensed for the patient during the eight month period, three of which were dispensed with a community pharmacist’s name as the prescriber. The patient presented to an Emergency Room for multiple medical problems and was found to have a critical INR >9.0. 

Case #2: A patient went without INR monitoring for six months despite the fact that one prescription for a large quantity of warfarin (indication: recurrent venous thromboembolic disease) was dispensed for the patient. The patient presented to an Emergency Room with chief complaint of increasing shortness of breath for three days. INR was found to be 1.3 and the patient was admitted with a diagnosis of extensive, bilateral acute pulmonary emboli.

Regular, ongoing monitoring of INR must be completed to ensure patient safety and desired patient outcomes. If review of Netcare coagulation results does not indicate regular or recent INR testing, please ask your patient if she/he performs portable prothrombin time/point-of-care testing at home, or if it is performed by another health professional. If YES, confirm recent INR monitoring has occurred and that results are appropriate; if NO, please order the appropriate laboratory test, or contact an appropriate regulated health professional and request that the laboratory test be ordered.

For further guidance, pharmacists can refer to the following sections of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians:

Standard 3 – pharmacists must consider appropriate information for each patient

Standard 6.1(i) – A pharmacist must determine the appropriateness of a prescription by considering relevant factors that a reasonable pharmacist would consider in the circumstances including the results of laboratory or other tests, if applicable, affect the appropriateness of the drug or blood product.

Article submitted by AHS Calgary Zone Anticoagulation Management Services

Case Study: Exercising Critical Thinking and Judgement
November 16, 2016

“Just because you can; doesn’t mean that you should” - by Greg Eberhart, Registrar

In the May, July, and September 2015 editions of ACP News, I wrote a three-part series reminding pharmacists about our responsibility to exercise critical thinking and judgement in our professional practices. These are cornerstones to demonstrating professionalism. They are foundational to our responsibility to serve individuals within the limitations of our personal competence, guided by our Code of Ethics, and in compliance with ACP’s Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians. We are privileged to have the authorities provided through our scope of practice, we are responsible for using these privileges to best meet the health needs of individuals, and in doing so we must each be accountable to use them in a professional manner.

The following case illustrates an example of a pharmacist acting independently, failing to consider the importance of the health team, and initiating drug therapy absent of required evidence. It serves to remind us about critically evaluating the limitations of our roles and the services we provide, the evidence upon which we base our decisions, and the importance of working together with other members of individuals’ health team.

A middle-aged female suffering from severe Crohn’s disease was being treated by her gastroenterologist with Azathioprine and Infliximab. The patient presented to her pharmacist indicating that she had discontinued the treatment prescribed by her gastroenterologist for several months. The pharmacist prescribed Naltrexone, based on several publications, suggesting its efficacy for some autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and Crohn’s disease.

The gastroenterologist expressed concern that:

  • Crohn’s disease is a complex condition requiring tight coordination of care, and that the pharmacist had failed to consult with the prescribing physician prior to instituting medical therapy on their own accord; and,
  • The use of Naltrexone is an off-label indication. Naltrexone has been demonstrated to have no benefit in inflammatory bowel disease (see Cochrane Systematic Review from February 2014). Low dose Naltrexone does not meet current standards of care and would fall outside any clinical practice guideline for the management of Crohn’s disease.

Analysis and Conclusion

Our investigation of this case confirmed that the pharmacist had acted independently, and had based his/her decision on published articles having little evidence. Naltrexone is not officially indicated to treat Crohn’s disease (Standard 11.6(a).) While there were published articles, they were limited and the “n” treated was small. Nothing was apparent in the literature establishing the use of Naltrexone to be a best practice or accepted clinical practice for the treatment of Crohn’s disease (Standard 11.6(b)). This was not prescribed as part of an approved research protocol (Standard 11.6(c)).

When learning that the patient had discontinued treatment, the pharmacist did not pursue discussion with the gastroenterologist or other relevant members of the individual’s health team (Standard 1.7(d) (iii)). Rather, the pharmacist assessed the individual and proceeded to independently treat the individual with a drug, lacking the necessary evidence for treatment.

In conclusion, the pharmacist did not exercise critical thinking to support the necessary reasonable judgement in this case. In this case the pharmacist should have contacted the gastroenterologist to discuss his/her assessment of the individual, and shared that the individual had chosen to discontinue the Azathioprine and the Infliximab. When doing so, it would have been appropriate to discuss the individual’s wishes and alternative treatment possibilities. The opportunity to discuss the health status of the individual and treatment alternatives with the gastroenterologist, could have leveraged the knowledge and experiences of each professional, to formulate the best alternative for the individual.

Takeaway

Next time that you assess an individual and identify a drug therapy problem, ask yourself:

  • Have I collected all of the information required to develop an informed conclusion about the problem?
  • Which other health professionals should I consult with, and what information should I share with and/or seek from them to develop a treatment plan?
  • What is the quality of evidence that will inform my treatment plan?  
  • Do I have the authority, the knowledge and the skills to treat the condition; and if so, what steps will I take to monitor the individual’s response? Alternatively, what recommendations might I provide to other members of the individual’s health team?

ACP Standards Relevant to this Case

1.7 A pharmacist must:

d) be aware of the circumstances in which the pharmacist should refer the patient to another appropriately qualified regulated health professional, including when:

i. the pharmacist does not have the training, experience or skills necessary to address the patient’s needs;

ii. the condition of the patient cannot be effectively treated within the practice of pharmacists; or

iii. the patient’s condition has not adequately or appropriately responded to drug therapy or other therapy within the practice of pharmacists.

11.6 A pharmacist must not prescribe a drug or blood product unless the intended use:

a) is an indication approved by Health Canada,

b) is considered a best practice or accepted clinical practice in peer-reviewed clinical literature, or

c) is part of an approved research protocol.

Communicating the expiry of a prescription
November 16, 2016

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are reminded to communicate clearly with individuals when their prescription is approaching becoming outdated. This should be communicated at the time of engaging with individuals about their prescriptions. To be abundantly clear, refill information on the prescription label should be updated and made current, to ensure correctness.

ACP has received concern that pharmacists/pharmacy technicians may be providing incorrect information about prescription refills on prescription labels. This typically occurs for chronic therapies, where refills are authorized for a long period of time. However, standard 6.5(b) requires that pharmacists ensure the “currency” of treatment, and limits authorization for refill to 18 months after the original prescription was first filled. This date may pass, prior to authorized refills being used. When this occurs, individuals should be notified in advance, and the refills recorded on the label changed to zero (0), so that the individual can arrange to consult with the original prescriber for a new prescription. This becomes even more important when individuals have rare conditions, and may be receiving drugs that cannot be adapted or prescribed by a pharmacist.

U of A Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Business Plan Competition
November 16, 2016

Pharmacists and leaders in pharmacy are invited to join us for the Annual Pharmacy Business Plan Competition. Third Year Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences students at the U of A will be competing for bragging rights and potentially, a cash investment for the "Best Overall" business plan presentations. Come and be inspired and network with these rising stars in Pharmacy!

When: Monday, November 28, 2016 (5:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.) – reception follows presentations

Where: Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (Room 2-490)

If interested in attending, please contact Jody Shkrobot at shkrobot@ualberta.ca

ACP office closed for Remembrance Day
November 10, 2016
Our office will be closed for Remembrance Day on Friday, November 11, 2016. We will reopen on Monday, November 14, 2016, at 8:00 a.m.
Compounding non-sterile preparations at your pharmacy? Renovations to your dispensary may be required
November 2, 2016

If you compound non-sterile preparations at your pharmacy, you’ll want to take a moment to review the facility and equipment requirements outlined in NAPRA’s Draft Standards for Pharmacy Compounding of Non-Sterile Preparations. In particular, there are specific requirements for heating, ventilation and air conditioning; lighting; water supply; and work surfaces that you should be aware of. Depending on whether you prepare compounds that are categorized in Level A, Level B or Level C, renovations to your dispensary may be required if these standards are approved.

ACP invites you to review the draft standards – developed in collaboration with other provincial pharmacy regulatory authorities through the support of NAPRA – and provide your feedback by November 25, 2016. Your comments will inform and support ACP's response to the concurrent national consultation.

To begin, please visit the consultation page on ACP's website and follow the instructions provided. 

CCP Team Challenge - less than a month to go!
November 2, 2016

With less than a month to go before CCP requirements are due, a total of 1084 pharmacy technicians have completed the prescribed CCP Tutorial and Jurisprudence Self-Assessment. For those who have yet to complete these activities, we encourage you to get started ASAP – November 30 will be here before you know it!

Of course, the prescribed activities are just the first step in your CCP journey. You’ll also need to complete 15 CEUs, document your learning activities on one or more Learning Records, implement at least one CEU into your practice, and record what you’ve implemented on an Implementation Record. When all that is done, you will be ready to submit your professional portfolio for the first time!

Still a little unclear when it comes to Learning Records and Implementation Records? You’re not alone. We’ve had lots of questions about these records recently. To clear up some of the confusion, we’ve compiled a list of Learning & Implementation Record myths.

Learning Record myths

Myth: I cannot claim CEUs for learning activities that have been accredited for pharmacists.

False. Any time spent acquiring or reinforcing knowledge or skill related to pharmacy practice may be counted towards CEUs. If you complete a learning activity that is not accredited for pharmacy technicians, but related to pharmacy practice, you may claim non-accredited CEUS for it by completing a Learning Record.

Myth: Once I have completed 15 CEUs or submitted my professional portfolio, I can apply any new CEU to the next CE cycle.

False. You cannot transfer CEUs to a different CE cycle. You may only claim CEUs for learning completed in the corresponding CE cycle (December 1st to November 30th of the following year).

Implementation Record myths

Myth: My Implementation Record may only be tied to ONE Learning Record or ONE CEU.

False. You are expected to select all the Learning Records that are relevant to your implementation. This may consist of multiple Learning Records and more than one CEU 

Myth: For my Implementation Record, I am only able to upload ONE PAGE for my evidence.

False. You are only able to upload ONE file but that file may consist of multiple pages. If you wish to upload multiple pages, you would have to scan all the pages into one electronic file. Once your document is available electronically, click on the "Upload" link and follow the instructions.

Myth: I may not use re-certification as my implementation.

False. If you performed the new/reinforced skill and demonstrated competence to a peer, then this may be considered a “peer verification of skills” and may be used as your implementation. However, according to the rules, a similar objective demonstrating the same skill/technique may not be repeated in the following two CE cycles. You may choose to demonstrate competence to a peer in a different skill in the following CE cycle.

Thinking of nominating someone for an APEX Award? Don't think too long - nominations close in less than two weeks!
November 2, 2016

Chances are you have an outstanding pharmacist, pharmacy team, or friend of pharmacy in your midst. Why not nominate them for an APEX Award? Get started by reviewing the list of award categoriesto see which one is a fit. Be sure to read the terms of reference so you understand the criteria for each award. A strong nomination is one that clearly identifies how the individual or team meets the award criteria.

To view award criteria, nomination guidelines, and to submit your nomination online by November 15, please visit: https://pharmacists.ab.ca/apex-awards

Can interns and students administer injections?
November 2, 2016

At the start of every flu season we routinely get questions about students administering injections. To help answer these common questions, we are sharing an article that originally appeared in the October 7, 2014, edition of The Link: 

When interns and students are completing structured practical training (SPT) or extracurricular work experience, the supervising pharmacist may allow the intern or student to perform an injection, but only if the following three conditions are met.

  1. The intern or student must be under the direct supervision of a pharmacist who has authorization to administer drugs by injection.
  2. The intern or student must have completed a recognized training program.
  3. The intern or student must be enrolled in the ACP SPT program, or be completing a clinical placement as part of their university program, or working within a structured extracurricular student work experience program provided either by the Alberta College of Pharmacists or the U of A Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Note: Interns and students cannot receive authorization to administer injections. The supervising pharmacist is responsible and accountable for all components of the preparation and administration of the injection including meeting the requirements of Standards 16 and 17 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians. The supervising pharmacist must have authorization to administer injections.

Standards and Details

Section 17 and 19 of the Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Profession Regulation indicates that provisional pharmacists (interns) and pharmacy students who are under the supervision of a clinical pharmacist or a courtesy pharmacist may perform the same restricted activities as clinical pharmacists.

The rules for supervision outlined in Section 23 of the regulations and Standard 20 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians require that:

  • Supervision take place in accordance with the rules of the SPT program;
  • The regulated member supervising remain responsible for all components of restricted activities that require the skills or training of a pharmacist; and
  • The regulated member must not supervise any individual performing a restricted activity unless they are satisfied that the individual will perform the activity safely and effectively.

It is the opinion of the college that, to meet these requirements, the intern or student must have completed a formal training program and that their injections must be administered under direct supervision. 

What is “direct supervision”?

Direct supervision requires that the supervising pharmacist be present when the restricted activity is being performed and be able to observe and promptly intervene to stop or change the actions of the individual under supervision.

What formal training qualifies?

Individuals on the provisional and the student register cannot receive authorization to administer injections from ACP; therefore, there will be no authorization noted on their practice permit. The supervising pharmacist must ensure that training has been completed.

  • Interns must complete a CCCEP Stage 2 accredited training program. Pharmacy students may complete training as part of a faculty of pharmacy curriculum. In both situations, the intern or student should be able to show you a certificate indicating successful completion of the training.

Application for the authorization to administer injections may be made upon transfer to the Clinical Pharmacist Register. Students must apply for the authorization within six months of graduation and interns must apply within one year of completing an accredited training program.

A note about SPT and extracurricular work experience

Extracurricular hours spent working in a pharmacy are not eligible as SPT; however, interns and students must notify ACP of any extracurricular work experience being undertaken as a provisional pharmacist or student pharmacist.

Students who work in pharmacies outside of clinical rotations and interns who have completed their SPT program, but continue to work in a pharmacy, must complete and forward the Extracurricular Student Work Experience Notification Form. This notification requires identification of a preceptor who will be responsible for the work of the intern or student.  

The opportunity to perform restricted activities under the supervision of a clinical pharmacist is an important part of developing competency. Administration of injections by interns or students should be considered in this context. Preceptors and supervising pharmacists are responsible for ensuring this occurs in an appropriate environment.  See the Lessons Learned section of the September/October 2015 issue of aφnews for more information.

Licensees: MAID survey closes tomorrow
November 2, 2016

If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to complete the MAID survey sent via email on October 20. Your participation in this brief survey will help to ensure MAID interventions can be easily accommodated in your community. The survey will be available online until midnight on Thursday, November 3, 2016.

Background

Since federal legislation for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) was introduced just over four months ago, ACP has received multiple requests from Alberta Health Services (AHS) coordinators seeking pharmacists and pharmacies to provide services to support MAID.

We are once again inviting pharmacy licensees to participate in a short survey to determine their pharmacy’s readiness and willingness to provide compounding and dispensing services to support MAID. If you already participated in the initial survey sent back in June, your responses have been captured and there is no need to resubmit.

We will be sharing this information with AHS to support their role in coordinating MAID for individuals who qualify for this service and wish that it be provided outside of AHS facilities.

Learnings from Hearing Tribunals: Your responsibility to the patient doesn't end when the patient leaves the pharmacy
November 2, 2016

A recent hearing tribunal issued its written decision on the merit and orders regarding the conduct of a pharmacist who admitted his failure to properly notify, report, and care for a patient after causing a needlestick injury while administering the patient’s influenza vaccination.

Although the needlestick injury was in itself preventable, the pharmacist failed to properly care for the patient and failed to report the incident to the pharmacy licensee. The pharmacist’s omission to follow-up with the patient, once the patient left the pharmacy, was a significant factor in this matter. The hearing tribunal found that the pharmacist not only placed the patient at risk, but also harmed the integrity of the profession.

In their decision the tribunal stated:

The public and other health care professionals are scrutinizing pharmacy and the relatively new practice of administering injections. They need to know and trust that pharmacists are following practices that put patient safety first.

  • Review your professional responsibilities and ethical duties. Principles 1 and 6 of the Code of Ethics will provide you with valuable guidance in this respect. Also, review your responsibilities with regards to administering injections (see Standards 16 & 17 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians (SPPPT), and participating in a quality assurance program (see Standards 1.9 & 1.10 of the SPPPT, and Standard 6 of the Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies).
  • Ensure you are competent and technically proficient in providing pharmacy services, especially for ones you may not provide on a regular basis, such as administering injections. If you don’t provide regular and frequent injection services throughout the year, don’t wait until the start of the influenza vaccine season to hone your skills on the patient. Refresh your injection technique before you provide this service to patients.
  • Ensure that you have, and are familiar with, plans in place when errors and omissions occur. Consider ‘worst case’ scenarios, and plan accordingly. For example, develop and implement a needlestick protocol within your practice before you need to rely on one. Consider using the ACP’s Framework for Mitigating Risk (FMEA) tools to proactively review your practice or the operation of your pharmacy.
  • Actively participate in quality assurance programs. Don’t let fear or professional embarrassment prevent you from fully caring for your patient, nor sharing errors and incidents with other members of your pharmacy team. Acknowledge and share errors and omissions so that you, and others, can better care for your current and future patients.
Learnings from Hearing Tribunals: Don't risk it! If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
November 2, 2016

A recent hearing tribunal issued its written decisions on the merit and orders regarding the conduct of three pharmacists who acted as licensees at two pharmacies, both operated by the same owner and proprietor. The tribunal found that the pharmacists all received substantial personal benefits, in the form of “rebates” or “gifts” from generic pharmaceutical manufacturers, which they were not entitled to. The pharmacists did not report these benefits to their employer or to the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA). Furthermore, these benefits were received in a perceivably clandestine manner, specifically pre-paid family vacations and substantial values of gift cards and pre-paid credit cards delivered to their homes.

The pharmacists’ assumption that the employer both knew of and accepted their receipt of these “gifts” was later found to be incorrect. Although the hearing tribunal found that the pharmacists did not appear to be actively concealing their conduct from their employer, they breached their ethical duties as pharmacists by not taking the initiative to report the rebates. Furthermore, the tribunal did not find evidence of any clinical risk to patients resulting from the pharmacist receiving substantial personal rebates. In failing to make a systematic record of the rebates and neglecting to report them to the CRA, these pharmacists harmed the integrity of the profession and eroded public trust.

Honesty and integrity are core values of the profession of pharmacy and these principles are set out in the ACP Code of Ethics. All members must conduct themselves within both the spirit and letter of it. The Hearing Tribunal finds that the conduct in this case is serious. It is a breach of the ACP Code of Ethics and it undermines the integrity of the profession. The lack of transparency with the investigated member’s employer and the failure to report the substantial personal benefits or keep any records does not comply with the spirit of the Code as it relates to honesty and integrity.

While the personal benefits received by [the pharmacists] did not compromise [their] professional independence or judgement in terms of patient care, there is a significant issue, in the eye of the public, of potential and perceived compromise of professional independence, judgment or integrity, especially with the substantial values involved, the perceivably clandestine manner of the rebates, and the fact that the [pharmacists] received these rebates on drug purchases that were paid by [their] employer.

All pharmacists are expected to conduct themselves honestly and with integrity. The lack of transparency and failure to report substantial personal benefits in this case undermines the integrity of the profession.

The tribunal also stated:

It must be mentioned that rebates in themselves are not illegal or unethical and previously, before being drastically reduced, were common and the normal part of commercial terms of pharmacy businesses. The distinction in this case is that rebates belonged to the owner of the pharmacy, not to [the pharmacists], but they were personally received and used by [the pharmacists] without reporting to [their] employer or to the Canada Revenue Agency as income.

Licensees, pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians - incorporate these lessons into your practice:

  • Review and discuss your ethical obligations with your pharmacy owner/proprietor, co-workers, and other pharmacy colleagues.
  • Review, understand, and comply with both the letter and the spirit of the Code of Ethics. Particular focus on Principle 10 is especially relevant in this matter.
  • Don’t assume, especially when considering accepting substantial rebates or gifts from suppliers. Ensure that any rebates or gifts not only comply with: all your ethical responsibilities, the standards for practice, third party insurer agreements, your employer policies, and CRA requirements…
  • …but that all rebates and gifts do not harm the integrity of the professions and would not be seen by the public as harming the integrity. When in doubt, ask.
  • Be open and transparent in your business dealings as a pharmacist or a pharmacy technician. Openness and transparency are foundational to the trust the public instills upon pharmacy as a self-regulating profession.

Create and maintain proper records for your pharmacy, such as those for the receipt and disbursement of rebates.

October 2016 Health Product InfoWatch now available
October 27, 2016

The goal of the Health Product InfoWatch is to raise awareness and to provide clinically relevant information to healthcare professionals concerning marketed health products and their safety. In some cases, information is intended to stimulate reporting of similar adverse reactions. Each publication includes a monthly recap of health product advisories and summary safety reviews, as well as a growing selection of new health product safety information.

In this issue: 

ACP Regional Meetings: Save the Date!
October 19, 2016

Over the summer ACP invited members to submit suggestions for issues that they would like ACP to facilitate discussion about. These suggestions have been considered by the Executive Committee, and several regional meetings and webinars are being scheduled this fall. Based on your feedback, two key topics that will be discussed are:

  • Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technician Practice Environment Conditions (including Quotas); and,
  • Modernizing Role Statements for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians.

All pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are encouraged to join ACP for an evening of discussion to explore these topics. In addition, part of the evening will be dedicated to an open forum to hear what is on your mind and gain an understanding of the issues affecting you locally.

A formal email invitation will be sent to you within the next week; however for planning purposes, please see the 2016 meeting dates and locations below. Details for spring 2017 regional meetings will be announced in the new year.

All sessions take place from 7:00 – 9:30 p.m.

Date

City

Venue

November 17

Edmonton

Delta Edmonton South Conference Centre

November 22

Pincher Creek

Heritage Inn Hotel & Conference Centre

December 1

 

Webinar

 

The sessions will be facilitated by ACP council president Taciana Pereira and registrar Greg Eberhart. Where possible, our practice consultants, senior leaders, and council members will be joining us.

Please note: pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can claim participation at regional meetings as non-accredited learning.

 

Pressed for time, but still interested in providing feedback? Here's a tip for navigating the Draft Standards for Pharmacy Compounding of Non-Sterile Preparations...
October 19, 2016

As you know, ACP is consulting with registrants and stakeholders on draft Standards for Pharmacy Compounding of Non-Sterile Preparations. If you’re finding the draft standards document a little daunting, we recommend going to the appendices first to see if there is a topic that piques your interest. Appendix 2 is a decision algorithm to determine which compounds belong in levels A, B and C and Appendix 3 is a chart that outlines the conditions for preparing compounds in each level. If you find something that you’re interested in learning more about, you can then proceed to the section where the topic is covered to review in further detail.

The draft standards have been developed nationally in collaboration with other provincial pharmacy regulatory authorities through the support of the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA).Your comments will inform and support ACP's response to the concurrent national consultation. To begin, please visit the consultation page on ACP's website and follow the instructions provided. All feedback and comments must be received by ACP by midnight on November 25, 2016.

CCP Team Challenge - almost there!
October 19, 2016

Congratulations to the 978 pharmacy technicians who have completed the prescribed CCP Tutorial and Jurisprudence Self-Assessment! You are now on your way to meeting the program requirements by November 30, 2016.

After you’ve completed the two prescribed activities, your next step will be to complete 15 CEUs and document your learning activities on one or more Learning Records. Once this is complete, you will be ready to implement at least one of those CEUs into your practice and record it on an Implementation Record. All this can be done online in the CCP portal.

We’ve received a number of questions recently about implementation in general and completing an Implementation Record. If this is an area you’re struggling with, we encourage you to consult the FAQs below for clarification. Of course, you can always reach out to a member of the competence team.

Do I have to implement something that is directly related to my current practice?

No, what you choose to implement does not have to be directly related to your current practice. In the competence program, the term “practice” refers to the overall practice of pharmacists/pharmacy technicians. What you choose to implement could be related to your current practice, your future practice, or your overall professional practice. We recommend that you implement something that is meaningful, relevant, and beneficial to you and/or the people around you.

Can I start a new Implementation Record that I plan to submit in the following CE cycle?

No, you may only add and complete records that correspond to your current CE cycle. If you wish to prepare for a future implementation, consider using the Implementation Objective planning tool available in the Self-Assessment section of the portal. 

Can I implement learning that was completed in a previous CE cycle?

This is a continuing competence program and we encourage you to continuously build upon your knowledge and skills. You may implement learning that was completed in a previous CE cycle; however, your implementation still needs to be tied to one CEU worth of learning completed during the current CE cycle. Therefore, if you choose to implement learning that was completed in a previous CE cycle, you just need to complete one more CEU in the current CE cycle that is related to your objective.

What are the four implementation types?

For pharmacy technicians, you could:

  1. Collaborate with a pharmacist to support patient care
  2. Develop, implement, or evaluate a policy, procedure, tool, or program
  3. Contribute to a health promotional activity and/or educate a patient or another health care professional
  4. Perform a new/reinforced skill or technique and demonstrate competence to a peer

What are the requirements of an implementation?

Your implementation must:

  • Directly involve the application of at least one CEU
  • Relate to one of the pharmacy domains (pharmacy practice, medical/medication/device knowledge, or systems-based practice)
  • Result in one of the following outcomes:
  • Affect another individual (e.g., a patient, a coworker, another healthcare professional)
  • Produce evidence of implementation
Update on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)
October 19, 2016

Since federal legislation was passed decriminalizing medical assistance in dying, we have provided guidance to you in the July 13, and August 24 editions of The Link. ACP has not yet developed consolidated guidance for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, as this experience continues to evolve. 

The drug protocols approved by Alberta Health Services (AHS) serve as the provincial standard for MAID interventions. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should not dispense any protocol for MAID that is not consistent with the selection of drugs identified in the protocols for the euthanasia or oral interventions, as the case may be.

ACP appointed a multidisciplinary committee to provide ethical guidance about potential conflicts in the preparation and dispensing of the euthanasia protocol. Our MAID working group felt this insight was necessary to support us in providing clear guidance to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians requested to dispense the drugs in a “ready-to-use format” rather than in the manufacturers’ container. Under consideration is the interpretation and application of “Beyond Use Dates” (BUD). The committee’s guidance on this subject is expected next week.

In July, ACP surveyed pharmacy licensees to determine their pharmacy’s readiness and willingness to dispense MAID protocols. Contact information for those who responded as being “ready and willing” has since been provided to AHS MAID coordinators. However, the overall response rate from pharmacy licensees was low. This has impeded easy access for individuals whose health has unfortunately deteriorated to the point where MAID has been approved.

ACP is once again surveying pharmacy licensees to determine the readiness and willingness to dispense drug protocols for MAID. Please watch for and complete the survey so that the coordination of MAID interventions can be easily accommodated in your community.

ACP standards do not exist in isolation
October 19, 2016

ACP’s Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians and the Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies set out minimum expectations for practice and for the operation of licensed pharmacies in Alberta. However the standards do not exist in isolation. Pharmacy practice is both enabled and restricted by a complex web of federal and provincial legislation, the corresponding regulations, and any documents or authorities extending from the Acts or Regulations. In addition, some programs have additional requirements of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacies. 

Standards usually complement one another but sometimes conflict is identified. A good example of this is Alberta Health’s Provincial Immunization Policy (IIP) 2016 – 2017. Under the authority of Ministerial Order 23/2014 and pursuant to section 16 of the Regional Health Authorities Act, Pharmacies and Pharmacists may participate in the delivery of the Public Influenza Immunization Program.

Standard 5.3 of ACP’s Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies

5.3 To ensure drugs that require refrigeration or freezing are stored at appropriate temperatures, a licensee must:

a) track and document storage temperatures regularly using a device that indicates the minimum and maximum temperatures reached since the last reading, and

b) take appropriate action if the temperatures fall outside acceptable limits.

However, section 9 of Alberta Health’s Provincial Immunization Policy (IIP) 2016-17 requires that all Immunizers and those handling Influenza Vaccine must adhere to the requirements of the Alberta Vaccine Cold Chain Policy (AVCCP). Section 9 of the AVCCP provides more rigorous and very specific requirements for the types of refrigerators that are acceptable to be used by Immunizers. Pharmacies that participate in the provincial immunization program must comply with the rigorous requirements of the AVCCP, and must not procure and store vaccines under lesser conditions.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are required to familiarize themselves with the standards and policies relative to every program and service provided. This is particularly true for pharmacy licensees. If there is a difference in a program standard and ACP’s Standard of Practice, the most rigorous standard must be adhered to.

Updated version of Influenza Immunization Policy 2016-2017
October 5, 2016

An update has been made to the recently released Influenza Immunization Policy (IIP) 2016-2017, originally referenced in the September 21 issue of The Link. You can view the updated version of the IIP here. An addition was made in Appendix A, under age group for which Fluad® was indicated.

The clarification supports the use of Fluzone® in adults 65 years of age or over, if Fluad® is not immediately available. Although Fluad® is the preferred product in individuals 65 years of age or older, it is more appropriate to use Fluzone® rather than sending the patient away without being immunized.   

 

Pharmacy technician CCP: team challenge update!
October 5, 2016

Are you one of the 869 pharmacy technicians who have completed the prescribed CCP Tutorial and Jurisprudence Self-Assessment? If so, you are just three steps away from meeting the program requirements by November 30, 2016!

The next step in the program asks you to complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle (December 1, 2015 to November 30, 2016) and document each activity on your Learning Record. Chances are many of you have already completed 15 CEUs by now - you just need to document them! First, it helps to understand exactly what CEUs are and how you can claim them. 

What are continuing education units (CEUs)?

One hour of learning is equivalent to one CEU. You may claim to the nearest quarter of an hour for the time spent on a learning activity.

  • For an accredited activity, the number of CEUs is determined by the accrediting body.
  • For a non-accredited activity, the number of CEUs is equivalent to the amount of time you spend completing the learning activity. 

Do I have to complete a minimum number of accredited learning activities?

No, there is no minimum requirement for accredited CEUs. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians may complete any combination of accredited or non-accredited learning activities to a minimum of 15 continuing education units each CE cycle.

What is non-accredited learning?

Non-accredited learning includes any learning activity related to pharmacy practice that has NOT been accredited by CCCEP or ACPE or the accreditation has expired. Examples:

  • online programs, courses (e.g., PharmD course), or presentations that have not gone through the accreditation process or the accreditation has expired;
  • structured learning activities accredited for another health professional (e.g., programs that have been accredited for pharmacists, physicians); or
  • informal, independent learning activities such as reading, research, or discussing practice issues with colleagues (e.g., journal club, in-services).

One hour of non-accredited learning is equivalent to one CEU. You may claim to the nearest quarter of an hour for the time spent on a non-accredited learning activity. Since you may only claim up to eight CEUs of non-accredited learning per Learning Record, you may need to document your learning on two or more Learning Records if your non-accredited activity is more than eight hours.

Can I claim the courses that I plan on attending on a learning record and submit them for registration renewal?

No, you can only claim courses that you have attended or completed during the current CE cycle. The current CE cycle is December 1, 2015 – November 30, 2016.

Consultation on DRAFT Standards for Pharmacy Compounding of Non-Sterile Preparations
October 5, 2016

The Alberta College of Pharmacists is consulting with stakeholders on draft Standards for Pharmacy Compounding of Non-Sterile Preparations. The draft standards have been developed nationally in collaboration with other provincial pharmacy regulatory authorities through the support of the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA). ACP is reaching out to Alberta pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to review and comment on the draft standards.

Your comments will inform and support ACP's response to the concurrent national consultation.

To begin, please visit the consultation page on ACP's website and follow the instructions provided. All feedback and comments must be received by ACP by midnight on November 25, 2016.

 
Recognize those who raise the profile of pharmacy practice in Alberta - nominate them for an APEX Award!
October 5, 2016

Do you know an outstanding pharmacist or pharmacy team? Help them get the recognition they deserve by nominating them for a 2017 APEX Award! Jointly presented by ACP and RxA, the APEX Awards are an annual event recognizing excellence in pharmacy practice in Alberta.

Nominations are due by November 15, 2016, but why wait? If you already have someone in mind, you can get started by reviewing the list of award categories to see which one is a fit. Be sure to read the terms of reference so you understand the specific criteria for each award.

Next, you’ll want to write a letter of nomination explaining why your nominee is a good candidate for the award. Once you’ve completed the letter of nomination, you’ll want to consider documentation that supports your nomination. Examples include the nominee’s CV, certificates, newspaper articles, or letters of reference.Now all you need is someone to second your nomination and you’re ready to go! To view complete nomination guidelines, helpful hints, and to see a list of past winners, visit: https://pharmacists.ab.ca/apex-awards.

Bringing Best Evidence to Clinicians: Combining Evidence and Clinical Pharmacology to Improve Drug Therapy
October 5, 2016

Bringing Best Evidence to Clinicians: Combining Evidence and Clinical Pharmacology to Improve Drug Therapy is a conference designed to provide physicians, pharmacists, and other health professionals up-to-date, evidence-based, practical information on prescription drug therapy. This year’s conference takes place on Saturday, October 29, 2016 at Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey, BC.

Although primarily aimed at prescribers, this course will appeal to any health professional who wants to learn and think about the scientific evidence behind what we should or should not be doing with prescription drugs. Learn more at: http://ubccpd.ca/course/BestEvidence2016

Alberta Kidney Days - Save the Date
October 5, 2016

Mark your calendars! Alberta Kidney Days will be held on Friday, March 10 and Saturday, March 11, 2017 at the Coast Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre in Calgary.

Alberta Kidney Days is a symposium for health care providers - nephrologists, trainees, primary care physicians and teams, internists, renal program staff and others who have an interest in the prevention and management of kidney disease. The 2017 symposium will include plenary sessions plus workshop streams targeting the learning needs identified by front line staff, specialists, and primary care.

A preliminary program and online registration will be available before the end of 2016. Stay tuned to The Link for more details!

September 2016 Health Product InfoWatch now available
September 29, 2016

The goal of the Health Product InfoWatch is to raise awareness and to provide clinically relevant information to healthcare professionals concerning marketed health products and their safety. In some cases, information is intended to stimulate reporting of similar adverse reactions. Each publication includes a monthly recap of health product advisories and summary safety reviews, as well as a growing selection of new health product safety information.

In this issue: 

Help reduce the impact of seasonal influenza: get immunized and encourage others to do the same!
September 21, 2016

Preventing healthcare-associated transmission of influenza protects patients, healthcare workers, and our communities. As influenza spreads easily from person to person, healthcare workers have a duty to limit the transmission of influenza to their patients. The most effective way to prevent the transmission is annual influenza immunization. According to Alberta Health, the healthcare worker immunization rate in Alberta declined to 61% during the 2015/2016 influenza season. The ultimate goal is for 100% of healthcare workers, who are able to receive the vaccine, to be immunized.

In addition to getting immunized yourself, as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician, you have the opportunity to play a key role in communicating the importance of immunization and encouraging patients to get immunized. While it can affect Albertans of all ages, including healthy adults, it is especially serious for seniors, infants, pregnant women, and those with chronic medical conditions. Getting the flu vaccine is the best way for Albertans to protect themselves, their families, friends, and coworkers.

Pharmacists with authorization to administer drugs by injection may be interested in RxA’s The Yearly Booster: Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Program 2016/2017 course. This online course has been accredited for 1.5 CEUs and will cover the policies pharmacists need to be familiar with, and describes this year’s flu vaccine products and their associated recommendation for use based on patient specifics.

To view the Alberta Health Influenza Immunization Policy for 2016/2017, please visit: http://www.health.alberta.ca/professionals/immunization-policy.html

Council approves Standards for Pharmacy Compounding of Non-Hazardous Sterile Preparations
September 21, 2016

ACP council has approved NAPRA’s Model Standards for Pharmacy Compounding of Non-Hazardous Sterile Preparations for adoption in Alberta, including an implementation schedule. The first requirements will come into effect on October 1, 2017. More details about council’s decision and implementation plan will be further explained in next month’s issue of ACP News.

Council based the implementation schedule on:

1.     relative risk to patients,

2.     the resources/expenditures required for compliance, and

3.     implementation schedules being considered in other Canadian provinces.

These standards are the first of three compounding standards council is addressing. All, have been developed nationally by NAPRA - based on USP standards, and modelled after existing standards in Quebec. The standards address product safety and integrity, patient safety, and the safety of pharmacy personnel.

In December, council will consider the adoption of national model standards for Pharmacy Compounding of Hazardous Sterile Preparations, and a schedule for coming into effect.

The third suite of compounding standards addressing non-sterile preparations has just been approved by council for the purpose of external review and consultation. An invitation to provide feedback will be sent to you by ACP early next week. We look forward to your comments, as it is these standards that will impact most pharmacy practices. 

Originally published in the September 21, 2016 issue of The Link

Our Continuing Competence Programs (CCP) get a new look!
September 21, 2016

We are excited to introduce a new visual identity for ACP’s Continuing Competence Programs (CCP)! This will help differentiate the CCP for pharmacists from the CCP for pharmacy technicians, making it easier to identify the news you need for your professional development.

As you can see below, we have developed one logo for pharmacists, one for technicians, and one for when we are referring to both programs/CCP in general. You can expect to see these logos in places like The Link, ACP News, the website, and social media. 

CCP Team Challenge for pharmacy technicians
September 21, 2016

Congratulations to the 756 pharmacy technicians who have already completed the prescribed CCP Tutorial and Jurisprudence Self-Assessment available in the CCP portal! Now, there are only three more steps remaining for you to meet program requirements by November 30, 2016.

If you’re still working on your professional portfolio, you’re not alone. To support you with completing the program requirements, in addition to the CCP tutorial, we’ve developed a number of tools, including:

Let’s track our progress collectively. In the next few issues of The Link, we will provide you with a visual update on our team’s progress. Remember, our goal is to achieve a 100 per cent completion rate. Ready, set, go!

What are the stepsI need to take?

  1. Complete the two prescribed activities:

    CCP Tutorial
    Jurisprudence Self-Assessment

    (both are available in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal)
     
  2. Complete learning activities – Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle (December 1, 2015 to November 30, 2016) and document each activity on your Learning Record
     
  3. Put your learning to use – Implement a minimum of one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on your Implementation Record (you only need to complete one record)
     
  4. Submit your Learning and Implementation Records to ACP
Nominations now open for the 2017 APEX Awards!
September 21, 2016

Nominations are officially open for the 2017 APEX Awards! This marks the tenth anniversary of the APEX Awards, an annual event recognizing excellence in pharmacy practice in Alberta. The awards are jointly funded, promoted, and presented by the Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) and the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA).

Submit your nomination(s) today to help recognize role models, celebrate great patient care, and raise the profile of pharmacy practice in Alberta! Award recipients and their two nominators will be invited to celebrate at our annual APEX Awards dinner on March 2, 2017 in Edmonton.

Nominations will be accepted online until November 15, 2016. A compelling letter of nomination and supporting documentation is all it takes to nominate someone for an award.

https://pharmacists.ab.ca/apex-awards

Pharmacists: help patients understand your role in renewing or adapting prescriptions
September 21, 2016
Need some help explaining how you can help your patients with renewing or adapting their prescriptions? ACP’s Adapting Brochure is a good tool to help patients understand the role of Alberta pharmacists in adapting and renewing prescriptions. It also lists a number of services provided by pharmacists, including monitoring chronic conditions, offering assistance with weight loss and smoking cessation goals, and giving advice on natural health products. 
Naloxone Program reminder
September 21, 2016

On May 11, 2016 the Government of Alberta passed amendments to the Scheduled Drugs Regulation designating “naloxone and its salts for use in emergency treatment of opioid overdose outside of hospital” as a Schedule 2 drug.

To support our professions, ACP provided pharmacists and pharmacy technicians with guidance to comply with ACP’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for dispensing or selling naloxone as a Schedule 2 drug.

ACP’s guidance document can be accessed on our website’s resource centre under tools and guidelines, or by clicking here. For information on billing and compensation for THN kits, please refer to the Alberta Blue Cross Benefact.

Pharmacists play an integral role in the delivery of care to Alberta’s vulnerable populations, and are encouraged to participate in the Naloxone Program.

Nominations now open for the 2017 APEX Awards
September 12, 2016

We are pleased to announce that nominations are officially open for the 2017 APEX Awards! This year marks the tenth anniversary of the APEX Awards, an annual event recognizing excellence in pharmacy practice in Alberta. The awards are jointly funded, promoted, and presented by the Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) and the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA).

Submit your nomination(s) today to help recognize role models, celebrate great patient care, and raise the profile of pharmacy practice in Alberta! Award recipients and their two nominators will be invited to celebrate at our annual APEX Awards dinner on March 2, 2017 in Edmonton.

Nominations will be accepted online until November 15, 2016. A compelling letter of nomination and supporting documentation (if available) is all it takes to nominate someone for an award.

For award categories, submission details, and profiles of past recipients, please visit: pharmacists.ab.ca/apex-awards.

Submit your nomination!

ACP office closed on September 13, 2016
September 8, 2016
The ACP office will be closed on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 for a staff development opportunity. We will reopen at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 14, 2016.
Pharmacists: have you completed the prescribed activity yet?
September 7, 2016

“For 2017, I will be proactive and choose my implementation project early in the year.... should lead to less stress.” – Alberta Pharmacist

With the start of a new CE cycle, we encourage you to get a head start on your Continuing Competence Program (CCP)! Starting early will help to ensure that you get the most out of the CCP program, and avoid the stress of trying to complete everything at renewal time.

As we approach the end of summer, now is a great time to complete your prescribed activity. For the 2016/2017 CE cycle, the prescribed activity is to complete a Jurisprudence Self-Assessment that focuses on the scope of practice for pharmacy technicians. This self-assessment tool will test your knowledge and understanding of the role and responsibilities of a pharmacy technician and help you consider how pharmacy technicians may be more effectively incorporated into practice.

The Jurisprudence Self-Assessment can be found in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal

Pharmacy Technicians: less than 3 months to go before your professional portfolios are due!
September 7, 2016

In less than three months from now, we’ll be celebrating the successful completion of your first year in the Continuing Competence Program (CCP)! The November 30th deadline may seem far away now, but your professional portfolios will be due before you know it.

If you’ve already been working on your professional portfolio, we encourage you to keep the momentum going! If you haven’t started yet, now is the time to take the first step. We recommend starting with the CCP Tutorial, as it provides an in-depth look at the program and helps you become familiar with its requirements. This is particularly important if you are planning to attend competence director Debbie Lee’s CCP presentation at the upcoming PTSA conference in Calgary. Complete the tutorial in advance so you are better prepared for and get the most out of Debbie’s session!

In order to renew your practice permit, you must complete the following Continuing Competence Program (CCP) requirements by November 30, 2016:

1. Complete the two prescribed activities:

CCP Tutorial
Jurisprudence Self-Assessment

(both are available in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal)

2. Complete learning activities – Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle (December 1, 2015 to November 30, 2016) and document each activity on a Learning Record

3. Put your learning to use – Implement a minimum of one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an Implementation Record (you only need to complete one record)

Wherever you are in your CCP journey, the Competence Team is here to support you along the way!

RxA hosts the Trusted Partners in Health Conference: September 30 - October 1, 2016
September 7, 2016

Don’t miss out on RxA’s AGM and Trusted Partners in HealthFall Professional Development Conference. The program includes a line-up of topics and speakers that will deliver timely and practical information to aid you in your practice environment. The conference is CCCEP accredited for 7.25 continuing education units. 

Date:
Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1, 2016

Location: 
Sheraton Cavalier
2620 32 Ave NE
Calgary, AB
T1Y 6B8

For more information and to register go to: https://rxa.ca/professional-development/conferences.aspx

ACP welcomes the class of 2020!
September 7, 2016

ACP and its council would like to officially welcome the University of Alberta Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences class of 2020 to the college!

You have chosen a profession that demands excellence; and the success you achieve in your education and career will be proportional to the quality and quantity of effort you put in. The hallmark of excellence begins with you – it means demonstrating a strong work ethic, exercising sound judgement, practicing with integrity, and always showing respect and compassion to those in your care. These are the defining characteristics in our profession that guide us in our promise to always put the well-being of our patients first.

Excellence in our work also means acting to uphold professional standards of practice. It means employing critical thinking skills, collaborating with others, and applying sound judgement to make informed decisions. At the college, we are here to support you in your development; and ensure you can learn, work and grow in an environment that supports quality practice and patient safety.

Times are rapidly changing in the practice of pharmacy in Alberta and we are excited to welcome a new generation of students who are eager to evolve, lead change and bring new perspectives to meet the rising needs of our diverse and growing communities. You are the future of pharmacy!

ACP office closed for Labour Day
September 1, 2016
Our office will be closed for Labour Day (Monday, September 5, 2016). We will reopen at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 6, 2016.
August 2016 Health Product InfoWatch now available
August 25, 2016

The goal of the Health Product InfoWatch is to raise awareness and to provide clinically relevant information to healthcare professionals concerning marketed health products and their safety. In some cases, information is intended to stimulate reporting of similar adverse reactions. Each publication includes a monthly recap of health product advisories and summary safety reviews, as well as a growing selection of new health product safety information.

In this issue:  

Survey results are in! Pharmacists share feedback on the Continuing Competence Program (CCP)
August 24, 2016

Thank you to the 1000 plus pharmacists who took part in our survey and provided feedback on the Continuing Competence Program (CCP). The CCP was established based upon your initial input, and your ongoing feedback is important to us as we move forward in maturing the program.

According to the survey:

91% of pharmacists strongly agreed/agreed that the CCP helped them to maintain and/or improve their competence. (up 9% from last year)

88% of pharmacists strongly agreed/agreed that the CCP portal was easy to navigate. (up 7% from last year)

It had been very easy to navigate, upload and save the documents on the CCP portal.”

 

In the survey, pharmacists were asked to rate the CCP. Compared to last year’s survey results, a higher percentage of pharmacists rated the program as “excellent or very good”:

15% rated it “excellent” (up 5% from last year)

39% rated it “very good” (up 10% from last year)

“I enjoy completing the implementation record and discussing with other pharmacists to learn which topics they chose to implement.” 

32% rated it “good” (down 2% from last year)

“It was better this year than last, but I feel the time would be better used in actual learning.”

6% rated it “poor” (down 5% from last year)

“I do not feel that I need to prove that I completed learning and applied it within my practice.”​

We appreciate all of your feedback and suggestions! We will continue to review your comments and make enhancements to the CCP program as we move forward.

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) - Updating Guidance Documents
August 24, 2016

The evolution of ACP’s guidance documents on MAID has been delayed, as experiences and new learning evolve. Alberta Health Services (AHS) has developed a new version of the MAID protocol; providing enhanced guidance for physicians, pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians.

ACP’s MAID working group is reviewing the amendments and will be considering it in context with updated guidance that has been provided by CPSA to physicians. This will inform ACP’s publication of a single, current guidance document for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

While under review, ACP has temporarily removed the AHS protocol from the “members only” section of the ACP website. Should you receive a prescription for MAID during this period, please contact registrar Greg Eberhart at greg.eberhart@pharmacists.ab.ca for guidance.

"Can I dispense prescriptions written by health professionals practicing in other provinces?"
August 24, 2016

Pharmacists have asked, “can I dispense prescriptions written by health professionals practicing in other provinces?” The answer to this question becomes more complicated where scopes of practice between jurisdictions differ (e.g., naturopaths).

Defining the roles of health professionals is a provincial responsibility that complements provincial responsibility for delivering healthcare. Professional scopes of practice differ between provinces. This is a symptom of different provincial policies and regulatory structures (along with other considerations) that define provincial/jurisdictional health systems.

In Alberta, to be valid, a prescription must be provided by a person authorized to prescribe under Alberta legislation or federal legislation. Under federal legislation, to be valid, a prescription must be provided by a person authorized to treat patients with a drug under the laws of the province within which that person is practicing his or her profession.

When you receive a prescription in Alberta, your authority to dispense is therefore governed by the statutes in effect in Alberta that specifies who may prescribe. For example, it is not appropriate for a pharmacist in Alberta to dispense a prescription written by a naturopath in British Columbia, because naturopaths in Alberta have not been authorized to prescribe. Where prescribing by a practitioner is authorized in another province, but the authority is narrower than in Alberta, then dispensing should be limited to the scope of the narrower authority. Akin, where prescribing by a practitioner is authorized in another province, but the authority is broader than in Alberta, then again, dispensing should be limited to the scope of the prescribing authority granted in Alberta.  

Help your patients monitor their health with an ACP Health Journal!
August 24, 2016

Do you have patients that would benefit from keeping track of things like changes in pain levels, eating habits, and sleep? ACP’s Health Journals are a great way to help patients take a more active role in monitoring their physical and emotional health. Each booklet allows patients to track various aspects of their health for 30 days, and encourages patients to have a conversation with their pharmacist about setting and achieving health goals.

To order Health Journals for your practice, email communications@pharmacists.ab.ca. Please provide your full name, pharmacy address, and the number of journals you would like to receive. Printing and shipping of the journals are covered by ACP.

Get them while quantities last!

Keep the topics coming!
August 10, 2016

We have been receiving some great topics/issues for the college to facilitate discussion about! If you have a topic or issue in mind, you can submit it directly to communications@pharmacists.ab.ca.

When submitting your request, please clearly identify the particular issue or topic you would like discussed, and indicate whether you are a pharmacist or pharmacy technician. Please provide context about the issue, clarifying the challenge it presents and what you wish to achieve from the discussion.

Our goal is to provide you with a forum to discuss items of importance to you, your peers, and the practice of pharmacy in Alberta as a whole. Suggestions must fit within the scope of ACP’s mandate and our role in ensuring quality pharmacy practice in Alberta. We look forward to receiving your suggestions!

What forum will be used for discussion?
Discussion will be facilitated through face-to-face meetings, webinars, and/or other electronic mediums.

How will the topics be prioritized?
Some factors that we will consider in prioritizing topics will be the level of interest expressed about the subject, the strategic importance of the subject, any time-sensitivities, and how the subject fits within the college’s strategic direction.

Pharmacy Technician CCP: tips for determining an implementation objective
August 10, 2016

As part of the Continuing Competence Program (CCP), you are asked to complete an implementation objective. As a first step, you will need to determine your implementation objective; this means describing how you will apply what you’ve learned during this CE cycle to your practice. With your professional portfolio due November 30, now is a good time to focus on developing your implementation objective

When considering how you might apply your learning, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can I improve my practice/organization using what I’ve just learned?
  • Can I transfer this new knowledge to a patient or colleague?
  • Can I demonstrate my competence in this newly acquired/reinforced skill to a peer?

To determine whether your implementation meets the requirements of the competence program, ensure that your implementation:

  • Results in either an improvement, transfer of knowledge, or verification of competence;
  • Involves another individual (e.g., a patient, a co-worker, another healthcare professional);
  • Produces evidence of implementation;
  • Directly involves the application of at least 1 CEU of newly acquired or reinforced knowledge and/or skills;
  • Relates to one of the pharmacy domains (pharmacy practice, medication/device knowledge, systems-based practice).

Additional information and tips on how to complete the CCP is available in the mandatory CCP tutorial which is located in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal. For more information on the program, please refer to the CCP requirements and/or contact a member of the competence department.

Feedback on proposed amendments to ACP bylaws due September 7, 2016
August 10, 2016

ACP is proposing amendments to its bylaws which further define "good character" as it relates to the eligibility of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians for election to council, as well as amendments respecting resolutions to council.

We invite all voting members to visit pharmacists.ab.ca/consultations to view the proposed amendments and submit your comments online. Feedback is due by September 7, 2016 at 12 p.m. (noon)

Participation is private and voluntary. All feedback will be reviewed in aggregate by ACP and considered by council at its September 2016 council meeting.

Alberta Blue Cross Pharmacy Benefact #627 - Enhanced validation of correct prescriber identification numbers
August 10, 2016

Following the release of the recent Alberta Blue Cross Benefact #627, we have received some questions about the prescriber lists posted on the ACP website. As a reminder, these prescriber lists are not updated in real-time. We rely on other colleges to provide us with their registrant data for these lists. They provide the lists to us as a courtesy to support you in your practice.

Most colleges provide updates regularly. However, gaps can occur, usually due to vacation or staffing changes. Therefore, you should always regard the other colleges as the root source of information when it comes to their registrants’ prescribing authority.

The following colleges provide ACP with prescriber list updates:

The following colleges provide all or some prescriber data on their websites:

The Alberta Dental Association + College does not provide prescriber data online—please contact them directly with questions about dentist prescribers.

Moving Forward: 26th Annual PTSA Conference
August 10, 2016

ACP is pleased to sponsor the 26th Annual PTSA Conference coming up on September 16 and 17, 2016 at the Coast Plaza Hotel and Conference Centre in Calgary, Alberta. We are also excited to announce that our competence director Debbie Lee, will be speaking at the conference about the Continuing Competence Program (CCP) for pharmacy technicians.

This year’s conference theme is Moving Forward: Mind, Body, and Soul, and will focus on establishing and maintaining a work and life balance. Set over two days, the conference will provide registrants with the opportunity to expand their knowledge, network, and develop a peer support system through interactive sessions, workshops, and vendor exhibits.

The conference is currently being assessed by the Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy (CCCEP) for continuing education units (CEUs). 

Register here and view the conference brochure for more information.

July 2016 Health Product InfoWatch now available
July 29, 2016

The goal of the Health Product InfoWatch is to raise awareness and to provide clinically relevant information to healthcare professionals concerning marketed health products and their safety. In some cases, information is intended to stimulate reporting of similar adverse reactions. Each publication includes a monthly recap of health product advisories and summary safety reviews, as well as a growing selection of new health product safety information.

In this issue:  

Reminder: pharmacists MUST NOT prescribe drugs listed in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, including narcotics, benzodiazepines, and other targeted substances
July 27, 2016

ACP has recently been notified by the Triplicate Prescription Program (TPP) that approximately 150 pharmacists have recently prescribed narcotics, benzodiazepines, and other targeted substances.

As per Standard 11.7 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians, pharmacists must not prescribe any drugs listed in the schedules of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Actincluding but not limited to drugs listed in the Narcotic Control Regulations and the Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substances Regulations. 

Please carefully review these schedules to ensure that you are familiar with all drugs listed to avoid inadvertently prescribing a drug falling under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. For example, although Zopiclone and Zolpidem are both typically used to treat insomnia, Zopiclone can be prescribed by pharmacists but Zolpidem cannot because it is listed as a class 1 targeted substance (see links above).

ACP receives regular reports from the TPP identifying all pharmacists who have prescribed narcotics, benzodiazepines, or other targeted substances. If you have been identified in the most recent report, you will receive a letter from ACP’s complaints director in the coming weeks. If the reported information is correct, and you have prescribed a controlled drug or a narcotic, we ask that you not repeat this practice. If the reported information is incorrect, you will be asked to liaise with Alberta Netcare to correct the patient record.

Changes to OCS policy on destructing narcotics and controlled drugs
July 27, 2016

The Office of Controlled Substances (OCS) policy for destructing narcotics and controlled drugs has changed. Although the information has not been updated on the Health Canada website, the following information has been provided to pharmacists who have requested permission to destroy narcotics and controlled drugs:

Health Canada no longer requires pre-authorization requests for local destruction of unserviceable narcotics and controlled drugs. This means pharmacists may proceed with destruction without notifying or receiving acknowledgment from Health Canada in advance.

Local (on-site) destruction is one option available to pharmacists and persons in charge of hospitals when destroying unserviceable narcotics and/or controlled drugs. Importantly, any record or written order requiring retention under the regulations made under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), or any relevant CDSA exemption, must be retained for auditing compliance pursuant to sections 41 and 64 of the Narcotic Control Regulations and sections G.03.011 and G.05.002 of Part G of the Food and Drug Regulations.

1. Before any destruction, the pharmacist should record information with respect to the destruction, including the destruction date, name, strength per unit and quantity of the controlled substance to be destroyed. This information should be kept for a period of two years. Beyond the two-year period, it is up to the hospital administrators, pharmacists or practitioners to determine if these records should be kept for a longer period based on other regulatory requirements such as provincial or professional practice regulations.

2. The pharmacist should destroy the drugs in the presence of another health professional. Both witnesses should record their names and destruction date on a statement indicating they witnessed the destruction. For these purposes, a health professional could be a pharmacist, practitioner, nurse, pharmacy intern, pharmacy technicians (in those provinces where they are registered with the pharmacy licensing authority) or an inspector from the provincial pharmacy licensing authority.

3. The controlled substance should be destroyed using a method of destruction that conforms with applicable federal, provincial and municipal environmental legislation.

4. The controlled substance should be altered or denatured to such an extent that its consumption has been rendered impossible or improbable. For the regulatory requirements for the destruction of benzodiazepines and other targeted substances, please refer to sections 2, 55 and subsection 65(1) of the Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substances Regulations.

Pharmacists and persons in charge of hospitals who do not wish to destroy narcotics or controlled drugs on site may, through an exemption under section 56 of the Controlled Substances and Drugs Act, sell or provide these substances, to a licensed dealer who is licensed to destroy narcotics or controlled drugs. 

We want to hear from you! Send us topics or issues you'd like us to facilitate discussion about
July 27, 2016

We are inviting pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to identify issues/ topics you would like the college to facilitate discussion about.

Our goal is to provide you with a forum to discuss items of importance to you, your peers, and the practice of pharmacy in Alberta as a whole. Suggestions must fit within the scope of ACP’s mandate and our role in ensuring quality pharmacy practice in Alberta.

All suggestions can be sent directly to communications@pharmacists.ab.ca.  When submitting your request, please clearly identify the particular issue or topic you would like discussed, and indicate whether you are a pharmacist or pharmacy technician. Please provide context about the issue, clarifying the challenge it presents and what you wish to achieve from the discussion. We look forward to receiving your suggestions!

What forum will be used for discussion?

Discussion will be facilitated through face-to-face meetings, webinars, and/or other electronic mediums.

How will the topics be prioritized?

Some factors that we will consider in prioritizing topics will be the level of interest expressed about the subject, the strategic importance of the subject, any time-sensitivities, and how the subject fits within the college’s strategic direction.

Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) assessors needed in Calgary and Edmonton
July 27, 2016

PEBC is looking for assessors for the pharmacy technician OSPE in Calgary on September 11, 2016 and the pharmacist OSCE in Edmonton and Calgary on November 12, 2016.

Each year, PEBC invites interested pharmacists who have been licensed in Canada for at least two years and who are currently providing or directly supervising patient care services (including dispensing, clinical and/or drug information services) to apply as assessors for both the OSCE and the OSPE. PEBC also invites interested pharmacy technicians who are currently registered in Alberta to apply as assessors for the OSPE.

If interested, please complete the PEBC assessor recruitment form and return to the contacts listed on the form.

PharmD Poster Presentations: August 5, 2016
July 27, 2016

The University of Alberta’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is hosting PharmD for Practicing Pharmacists Poster Presentations on August 5, 2016.

As part of the Pharm 505: Seminar course, PharmD students prepare a scholarly poster presentation which can be based on a patient case or a research project from their practice experience.

The poster presentations will be held on Friday, August 5 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Edmonton Clinical Health Academy (11405-87 avenue) 2nd floor Main Street (main hallway).

This year’s topics include:

  • antimicrobial prescribing practices for UTIs in a suburban emergency department
  • development of learning objectives and content outline for licensee education module (ACP)
  • a collaborative care model for chronic disease management in diabetes

Stop by and see the students’ excellent work! If you are unable to attend in person, abstracts and posters will also be available online after the event.

Please visit https://sites.google.com/a/ualberta.ca/pharmd-seminars/ for additional event information and archived presentations.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Opioid Dependence Treatment Course available online
July 27, 2016

The Office of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development at the University of Calgary is offering an online course in CAMH Opioid Dependence Treatment from September 26 to November 25, 2016. 

This course is the foundation of the Opioid Dependence Treatment Certificate Program. In this course, pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and counsellors learn skills and review guidelines for effective and safe management of clients receiving methadone and buprenorphine maintenance treatment for opioid dependence. The course is designed to promote collaboration among health care professionals involved in opioid dependence treatment.

For more information and to register for the course, please visit: https://cmeregistration.ucalgary.ca 

Reminder: opportunity to provide feedback on proposed amendments to ACP bylaws
July 13, 2016

ACP is proposing amendments to its bylaws which further define "good character" as it relates to the eligibility of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians for election to council, as well as amendments respecting resolutions to council. We invite all voting members to visit pharmacists.ab.ca/consultationsto view the proposed amendments and submit your comments online. Feedback is due by September 7, 2016 at 12 p.m. (noon)

Participation is private and voluntary. All feedback will be reviewed in aggregate by ACP and considered by council at its September 2016 council meeting.

CAPhO Oncology Fundamentals Day: Saturday, October 1, 2016
July 13, 2016

Are you new to oncology or a general pharmacy practitioner with cancer patients in your practice? Are you looking for core education about common oncology diseases and cancer treatment toxicities? 

Oncology Fundamentals Day is a full-day online learning event hosted by the Canadian Association of Pharmacy in Oncology (CAPhO) on Saturday, October 1, 2016.

Oncology Fundamentals Day will feature three core sessions streamed online:

  • Session 1 - Fundamentals of Hematologic Cancers: Lymphoma, Chronic Leukemias, Multiple Myeloma
  • Session 2 - Fundamentals of Solid Tumours : Breast Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Lung Cancer
  • Session 3 - Chemotherapy Toxicity Management: Chemotherapy Induced Nausea and Vomiting, Other GI Toxicities, Febrile Neutropenia, Skin, Nail, and Hair Toxicities

For more information about #OFD16, to register, and to sign up for the e-newsletter, visit www.capho.org/oncology-fundamentals-day or contact online@capho.org

Have an issue or topic you would like to discuss? Tell us about it!
July 13, 2016

ACP council has identified engagement with registrants as a key initiative to ACP’s success. We are inviting pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to identify issues/topics you would like the college to facilitate discussion about.

Our goal is to provide you with a forum to discuss items of importance to you, your peers, and the practice of pharmacy in Alberta as a whole.

Topics will be prioritized and discussion facilitated through face-to-face meetings, webinars, and/or other electronic mediums. Suggestions must fit within the scope of ACP’s mandate and our role in ensuring quality pharmacy practice in Alberta. Some factors that we will consider in prioritizing topics will be the level of interest expressed about the subject, the strategic importance of the subject, any time-sensitivities, and how the subject fits within the college’s strategic direction.

How do I suggest an issue/topic for discussion?

All suggestions can be sent directly to communications@pharmacists.ab.ca. When submitting your request, please clearly identify the particular issue or topic you would like to see discussed, and indicate whether you are a pharmacist or pharmacy technician. Please provide context about the issue, clarifying the challenge it presents and what you wish to achieve from the discussion. We look forward to receiving your suggestions!

Insights from our June council meeting
July 13, 2016

Following are highlights from council’s deliberations on June 23-24, 2016:

  • Standards for Compounding Sterile Non-hazardous Products - Council approved standards for Pharmacy Compounding of Non-Hazardous Sterile Products based on the national model developed by NAPRA. Watch for future communication from ACP about implementation requirements and timelines. In the months ahead, council will also be considering Standards for the Compounding of Hazardous Products and also for Non-Sterile Compounding.
     
  • Compounding and Repackaging Agreement – Council reviewed the standard agreement required between Compounding and Repackaging Pharmacies and other licensed pharmacies that they provide services to. Direction has been provided to amend the required agreement to make it contemporary with current legislation, to ensure that it clearly and adequately addresses professional responsibilities, and to address governance in the event that services are delivered outside of Alberta.
     
  • International Pharmacy Graduates (IPGs) – Council received presentation from Dr. John Pugsley, CEO of the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada, and Carole Bouchard, CEO of the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities, about federal and national considerations important to the registration of IPGs. This has provided council with a foundation for further discussion about policy direction to better prepare IPGs for entering practice in Alberta.
     
  • Using Analytics to Assist in Improving Pharmacy Practice – Council received presentation from Dr. Larry Svenson, Executive Director of Epidemiology and Surveillance at Alberta Health, illustrating trends in pharmacy practice. The data and trending information introduced new possibilities to better understand trends in practice and their relationship to population needs. ACP will continue to work with Dr. Svenson and his team to learn more about how we can use analytics to inform better policy decisions and improve pharmacy practices to better meet patient and population health needs.
     
  • Narcotic Security in Community Pharmacies – Council received presentation from ACP’s complaints director, Jim Krempien, about the status of pharmacy security in Alberta and alternatives that council may consider to enhance this. Insight was provided about successes experienced in British Columbia and other jurisdictions, where “time-release” safes are now a requirement. Council provided direction for ACP to work with provincial policing agencies to inform and develop an enhanced policy for their consideration.
     
  • Pharmacy Roadmap – A Vision for the Future” – Council approved a roadmap that outlines a vision for the future of pharmacy practice in Alberta. The roadmap is a narrative that describes a future state for pharmacy practice 10 years forward. It was developed in partnership with RxA through the input and advice of individuals (pharmacists, technicians, nurses, physicians, patients, policy makers, and others) who participated in a two-day workshop last November. The narrative is built on six themes identified by participants. It provides a foundation for discussion with other provincial pharmacy organizations, educators, pharmacy owners, and registrants. It also provides a foundation from which common provincial strategies can be developed. The roadmap is also one reference that ACP will use in modernizing role statements for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
     
  • Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) – Council was briefed about changes resulting from the royal assent of federal legislation (Bill C-14) on Medical Assistance in Dying. Council also reflected on feedback received from pharmacists who had provided services to support physicians who prescribed for MAID during the transition period of February 6, 2016 - June 6, 2016.
     
  • Joint Guidelines for Hand Hygiene – Council approved guidelines for hand hygiene that have been developed collaboratively with CPSA and CARNA. Watch for future information to assist you in incorporating these within your practice.

    In the fall, council will consider DRAFT guidelines for the administration of medications that have also been developed collaboratively with CPSA and CARNA.

    Council will convene next on September 14, 2016.
The Office of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development at the University of Calgary is offering an online course in CAMH Opioid Dependence Treatment from September 26 to November 25, 2016. This course is the foundation of the Opioid Dep
July 13, 2016

On July 7, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed (with costs) the application of Sobey’s West Inc. to appeal the decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal resecting the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia (CPBC) bylaw that prohibits incentives. This means that the bylaws of CPBC prohibiting inducements stand, and are not subject to further appeal. This is an important decision, not only with respect to the merits of the bylaw, but also with respect to the authority of regulating bodies.

While this decision is important to the case of Sobey’s West Inc. vs the Alberta College of Pharmacists, ACP must continue its appeal of the decision of Court of Queen’s Bench Justice V.O. Ouellette, whose decision failed to support the amendments to ACP’s Standards and Code of Ethics respecting inducements. Further to the article in the spring edition of aφnews, ACP has filed its intention to appeal with the Alberta Court of Appeal, and our legal counsel is in the process of writing our factum to support our application. We hope to have a hearing date this calendar year.

ACP’s position on this subject and concern about pharmacies offering inducements on the condition that an individual purchase a drug or professional service, remain unchanged. While the appeal process is making its way through the court, we do not support encouraging individuals to transfer their care through any type of inducement. We respect the right of individuals to exercise choice in transferring care; however, we do not support this being encouraged and incented by health professionals for reasons that do not relate to the health care of the patient. Principle 1 of the Code of Ethics remains in full effect. It requires that each pharmacist and pharmacy technician “Hold the well-being of my patient to be my primary consideration.”

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) - important information for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
July 13, 2016

On June 17, 2016, federal legislation on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) received royal assent. This provides a national foundation for MAID and addresses important protection for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who compound or dispense drugs when supporting a physician or nurse practitioner who prescribe drug protocols for MAID.

What does Bill C-14 mean for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians?

  • Administration of Drugs for MAID - Nothing in Bill C-14 allows a pharmacist or pharmacy technician to administer a drug or substance to a patient with the intention of causing death even if that patient meets the Carter Criteria. In this scenario, the pharmacist or pharmacy technician will be vulnerable to prosecution for culpable homicide or administration of a noxious substance under the Criminal Code (homicide, Criminal Codesection 222 or administering a noxious thing, Criminal Codesection 245). 
     
  • Counseling Suicide - Nothing in Bill C-14 allows a pharmacist or a pharmacy technician to counsel someone to commit suicide (Criminal Codesection 241(a)). Note that “counsel” in this context means to encourage or incite and not to advise or inform as is generally meant in the health care context.
     
  • Protection against Prosecution for Homicide - The amendments in Bill C-14 (new section 227) exempt physicians and nurse practitioners who provide medical assistance in dying, in accordance with the Criminal Code, from prosecution for homicide. Significantly, the exemption also applies to physicians and nurse practitioners who had a reasonable but mistaken belief of patient consent. 

The exemption from prosecution is also extended to any person who aids a physician or nurse practitioner in providing medical assistance in dying. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians would appear to be included in this category.

  • Protection against Prosecution for Assisting Suicide - Bill C-14 amends section 241 to exempt physicians and nurse practitioners from being prosecuted for aiding a person to commit suicide if they are providing medical assistance in dying in accordance with the Criminal Code. Section 241 also exempts people who may assist a physician or nurse practitioner to provide medical assistance in dying from prosecution for being party to an offence.

Significantly, section 241(4) exempts pharmacists who dispense drugs directly to a patientfor the purpose of medical assistance in dying from the offence of aiding suicide, so long as the dispensing occurs further to a prescription from a physician or nurse practitioner for the purpose of providing medical assistance in dying. No such exemption is provided for pharmacy technicians.

Again, Bill C-14 provides added protection for those exempt from prosecution if the person had a reasonable but mistaken belief to support their actions.

  • Protection against Prosecution for Administering a Noxious Substance - Bill C-14 provides an exemption for physicians and nurse practitioners from prosecution for the offence of administering a noxious substance or poison to another person in the context of providing medical assistance in dying.

A person who assists a physician or nurse practitioner in the provision of medical assistance in dying is also exempt from prosecution for the offence of administering a noxious substance or poison to another person.

  • Reasonable Knowledge, Care and Skill - Bill C-14 requires that medical assistance in dying must be provided with reasonable knowledge, skill, and in accordance with any provincial laws, rules or standards. This would include any (yet to be passed) provincial legislation, standards of practice for the profession, or protocols.
     
  • Notification of the Purpose of Prescription - Bill C-14 requires physicians and nurse practitioners to inform the pharmacist if a prescription is for the purpose of providing medical assistance in dying before the drugs are dispensed.

ACP Guidance for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians:
ACP will be replacing the two guidance documents published earlier this spring with a single document that reflects the new environment resulting from the federal legislation. Until this revised guidance is published, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should review and can rely on the previous guidance subject to the following changes:

  • With the expiry of the transition period (June 6, 2016) granted by the Supreme Court of Canada to accommodate the development of legislation, a provincial Court Order is no longer required to authorize MAID.
  • The standards prescribed by the Minister of Health to amend the Standards of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta in June have been repealed. The context of those standards is reflected in the new federal legislation.
  • Subject to the new federal legislation, a physician or nurse practitioner must specifically inform a pharmacist when the purpose of a prescription is for MAID, in advance of the prescription being dispensed.
  • AHS policy continues to require that prescriptions for MAID be dispensed directly to the prescribing physician. While this is not an absolute requirement when MAID is to be provided in non-AHS facilities, it is strongly recommended by both ACP and CPSA. The protocol is a standardized requirement in Alberta, and requires discussion between the pharmacist and prescribing physician. We encourage this discussion to include arrangements for receiving the dispensed drugs, and the return of any unused drugs.

To protect patient autonomy and to comply with the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the preparation of the drug protocol should not be contracted from a licensed pharmacy to a Compounding and Repackaging pharmacy for preparation. Being “ready and willing” to compound and dispense drugs for MAID means that the pharmacy team has reviewed ACP’s guidance documents, has kept informed about changes in the guidance as the regulatory environment has changed, understands the protocol, and has the environment and skills to prepare (and compound if required) the prescribed drug protocol.

Prescribed activity for pharmacists for the 2016/2017 CE cycle
July 13, 2016

One of ACP’s strategic goals is for pharmacy technicians to be integrated into pharmacy practice teams, exercising responsibility for roles they are authorized to fulfill. Accordingly, the prescribed activity for the 2016/2017 CE cycle is to complete a Jurisprudence Self-Assessment that focuses on the scope of practice for pharmacy technicians. This self-assessment tool will test your knowledge and understanding of the role and responsibilities of a pharmacy technician and help you consider how pharmacy technicians may be more effectively incorporated into practice.

Get an early start on your annual Continuing Competence Program (CCP) and complete this Jurisprudence Self-Assessment found in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal today!

Summary of CCP requirements for pharmacists

A new CE cycle started June 1, 2016. If you plan to renew your practice permit, you must complete the following Continuing Competence Program (CCP) requirements by May 31, 2017:

  1. Complete the Jurisprudence Self-Assessment - available in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal (Note: you may claim non-accredited CEUs for the jurisprudence self-assessment. The number of CEUs is equivalent to the time you spend completing it, e.g., if it took you 30 minutes you may claim 0.5 CEUs for it.) 
  2. Complete learning activities – Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle (June 1, 2016 to May 31, 2017) and document each activity on a Learning Record
  3. Put your learning to use – Implement a minimum of one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an Implementation Record (you only need to complete one record)

Access all program materials in the CCP portal. For more information on the program, please refer to CCP requirements, review the CCP tutorial, and/or contact a member of the competence department.

In partnership with ACP and RxA, the Pharmacy Technician Society of Alberta (PTSA) has developed a quick reference poster that outlines the scope of practice for Alberta pharmacy technicians. A printable PDF of the poster can be viewed here.

 

June 2016 Health Product InfoWatch now available
July 4, 2016

The goal of the Health Product InfoWatch is to raise awareness and to provide clinically relevant information to healthcare professionals concerning marketed health products and their safety. In some cases, information is intended to stimulate reporting of similar adverse reactions. Each publication includes a monthly recap of health product advisories and summary safety reviews, as well as a growing selection of new health product safety information.

In this issue:

Taciana Pereira takes the helm as new ACP council president
June 29, 2016

 

News Release

For Immediate Release
June 29, 2016

Edmonton, AB - The Alberta College of Pharmacists and its council is delighted to welcome Taciana Pereira as council president for the 2016-2017 term. She was first elected to council in 2014, and has since served for three consecutive years. Taciana officially begins her term as president on July 1, 2016.

“Taciana brings with her a passion for our profession, great humility, and a courageous spirit,” reflects outgoing president Rick Hackman. “Taciana is a bridge builder. She truly seeks to understand alternate points of view, assimilates the conversation, and only then weighs in. She has an incredible analytical mind that enables her to get to the heart of the critical issues and develop a plan of action.”

“For me, the most exciting thing about pharmacy practice in Alberta right now is the increase we've seen in pharmacists with Additional Prescribing Authorization and also the regulation of pharmacy technicians,” says Taciana. Pharmacists who have been granted Additional Prescribing Authorization privileges are able to initiate treatment and manage drug therapies for chronic conditions. “Since 2013, the number of pharmacists with Additional Prescribing Authorization has tripled. As pharmacy technicians become more integrated into pharmacy teams, I think pharmacists’ ability to use their Additional Prescribing Authorization will only increase. With both professions working to full scope, we’ll be in an optimal position to meet our patient's needs.”

A graduate of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta, Taciana began her career balancing her time between community and hospital pharmacy. Having gained valuable expertise and vast knowledge in two different practice environments, Taciana accepted a full-time role as a clinical pharmacist in Psychiatry and Family Medicine at Misericordia Community Hospital in Edmonton. With six years of hospital experience under her belt, Taciana’s career took an exciting turn when she moved into a non-traditional pharmacist role with what is now Alberta Health Services (AHS). In her current role as Director of Program Performance and Informatics for Pharmacy Services, Taciana and her team are responsible for measuring the impact pharmacy services has within AHS, and supporting pharmacy information systems and the integration of technology in hospital pharmacies.

“Every day is exciting. I get to engage in the health system in a way that I had never really contemplated back when I was in school,” says Taciana. When asked about the challenges she faces in both her role at AHS and as council president, Taciana comments, “I think our challenge is to ensure pharmacists and pharmacy technicians – each with their own unique expertise – are being used in a way that makes the most sense for Albertans. At the end of the day, it all comes down to providing the best possible care for our patients.”

Media contact:

Ashley Edwards Scott
Communications Coordinator
Alberta College of Pharmacists
Phone: 780-990-0321
ashley@pharmacists.ab.ca

 

 

Pharmacy technicians: Have you reviewed the CCP tutorial yet?
June 29, 2016

One of the first steps you should take in your Continuing Competence Program (CCP) journey is to complete the CCP tutorial. This will help you gain a better understanding of the program and its requirements. The tutorial is available in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal, and can be accessed using your ACP registration number and password.

In the tutorial, you will explore how to apply and document your learning by reviewing different examples. Did you know there are four simple ways you could apply your learning? For example, you could:

  1. collaborate with the pharmacist to support patient care;
  2. develop and/or implement a new procedure or tool;
  3. educate a patient/colleague; or
  4. perform a new/reinforced skill and demonstrate competence to a peer.

Remember, you can claim non-accredited CEUs for the tutorial, so by completing it you’re already a couple steps closer to meeting the program requirements!

“The online tutorial was fantastic! I was very pleased with the amount of in-depth thought that went into each scenario and example … the learning and implementation records were thoroughly explained and demonstrated. I have a much better understanding of what is required and how it is required.”

– Pharmacy Technician

Alberta's own Dr. Nesé Yuksel named Pharmacist of the Year by the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA)
June 29, 2016

Alberta pharmacist Dr. Nesé Yuksel was presented with the Pharmacist of the Year award at the Canadian Pharmacists Conference this past Saturday, June 25 in Calgary.

One of the first 15 pharmacists in Alberta to receive Additional Prescribing Authorization (APA) in 2007, Nesé has been a vocal advocate for expanded pharmacist practice and has contributed many hours to committees, publications, interviews and more in support of APA. She is now turning that passion into evidence and collaborating on research to support the uptake of pharmacist prescribing in Alberta.

Nesé is currently the Division Chair of Pharmacy Practice and a Professor at the University of Alberta and practises on an interdisciplinary team at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women’s menopause clinic. Nesé holds a BSc (Pharm) Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree from the University of Alberta and a PharmD from the State University of New York.

ACP welcomes Class of 2016 to the profession at annual Grad Breakfast
June 29, 2016

On June 14, 2016, ACP hosted a fresh new crop of pharmacy graduates, along with proud families, friends, and faculty members, at the college’s annual Grad Breakfast event.

ACP’s outgoing president, Rick Hackman, shared a message of inspiration on what he revealed was the 30th anniversary of his own Grad Breakfast. “You have all worked hard. You have an education from one of the best schools of pharmacy in the country, and are about to start your career in a province with the broadest and most progressive scope of practice in North America, and arguably, the world,” said Rick. “I promise you that pharmacy has prosperity and satisfaction to offer you. You get to write your own story and decide how it unfolds,” he added.

Rick went on to encourage the graduates to become lifelong learners and passionate advocates for the patients they care for. He reinforced the need to also be an advocate for the profession of pharmacy, to practice with integrity, and never stop reaching for more.

Later in the program, two graduates already well poised to share their own words of wisdom at a future Grad Breakfast someday, Humirah Sultani and Megan Hanks, were recognized for their achievements. Humirah received both the Value Drug Mart Leadership Award and the APSA Past President Award. Megan was awarded the prestigious Alberta College of Pharmacists Gold Medal, recognizing her unparalleled academic achievement. Pharmacists Craig MacAlpine and Charles Au were also acknowledged by their student nominators for the Preceptor of the Year Awards.

Q: Can pharmacists prescribe or adapt prescriptions for animals?
June 29, 2016

A: No, pharmacists are not permitted to prescribe or adapt prescriptions for animals. In the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians (SPPPT), a patient is defined as any person to whom a regulated member provides a service that is within the scope of the practice of pharmacists or the practice of pharmacy technicians.

Considering a patient is defined as human, prescribing or adapting a prescription for an animal would fall outside a pharmacist’s scope of practice. 

Pharmacists: thank you for submitting your professional portfolios!
June 15, 2016

Congratulations to all pharmacists who completed and submitted their professional portfolios for the 2015/2016 Continuing Education (CE) cycle!

We invite you to share your feedback on the Continuing Competence Program (CCP) with us through this short survey.

Your feedback is extremely valuable as it helps us understand what’s working well and what could be improved in the future. Here’s one of the comments we’ve received so far: “It is nice to link our ongoing learning to 'action' we can put into place in our work environments. [The program] made me focus in on a particular weakness in my practice and how to improve this area going forward.”

Every year, ACP selects a small sample of professional portfolios for audit. Selected portfolios (learning records, implementation record, and supporting documents) will be reviewed by at least two pharmacist peer assessors. If your portfolio is selected for audit, you will be informed as to whether your portfolio has met the established standards and will receive feedback based on the seven key indicators of a successful Implementation Record. For more information about the audit process, please refer to the CCP audit section of our website

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) Update
June 15, 2016

On June 10, 2016, the Alberta government approved an Order in Council amending the standards of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID). Government also approved a directive, requiring that Alberta Health Services (AHS) establish a coordination service to facilitate MAID. Our college encourages you to review each of these documents to further familiarize yourself with new requirements about the provision of MAID in Alberta.   

Earlier this year, ACP surveyed pharmacy licensees to determine their pharmacy’s readiness and willingness to provide pharmacy services to support MAID; primarily for the purpose of facilitating registrants wishing to exercise conscientious objection. The information collected through this survey has been kept strictly confidential; and has served its purpose. It will be destroyed to ensure confidentiality.

Now that Alberta Justice has issued a directive protecting pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who compound and dispense drugs to support MAID – and with the advent of the amended standards and the requirement for AHS to establish a coordinating service – our college will again survey pharmacy licensees to determine their pharmacy’s readiness and willingness to provide compounding and dispensing services to support MAID. Our intention will be to share this information with AHS to support their role in coordinating MAID when individuals qualify for this service and wish that it be provided outside of AHS facilities.

Next steps and important considerations

Consistent with the most recent Message from the Registrar on MAID (June 6), ACP will be reviewing its previous guidance documents, with the intent of merging them into a single current version to reflect the current regulatory environment. Again, this guidance will be based on information available to ACP at the time of publication, and will be subject to change should federal or provincial legislation be passed. In the interim, we encourage you to:

  • familiarize yourself with the MAID protocols (June 3 version), the standards of practice for physicians approved by Alberta Health, and the guidance provided by ACP with respect to compliance with the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians and ACP’s Code of Ethics when supporting MAID;
  • familiarize yourself with the sources of drugs, excipients, and other products that you may require to compound and dispense a MAID protocol;
  • discuss your readiness and willingness to provide services to support MAID with your pharmacy team;
  • understand any limitations about your ability to provide services that support MAID, and be prepared to respond appropriately to individuals and family members;
  • should you intend to exercise conscientious objection, review the Code of Ethics for guidance about how to do this properly,
  • familiarize yourself with the AHS Coordinating Service, and prepare to forward individuals to that service if they are seeking information about MAID and if your pharmacy is unable to provide compounding or dispensing services to support MAID.
  1. Should you receive a prescription for MAID requesting the euthanasia protocol, clarify with the prescribing physician whether they wish the drugs to be dispensed in the manufacturer’s package, or whether they wish the drugs to be dispensed in pre-loaded syringes.

    All licensed pharmacies may dispense drugs in the manufacturer’s original packaging. However, the pre-loading of syringes must only be performed in a sterile environment, and therefore, only a limited number of licensed pharmacies with the necessary infrastructure and environment to perform sterile compounding are able to provide this service.
     
  2. Prescriptions for MAID protocols should only be dispensed through a direct relationship between the prescribing physician and the pharmacy providing the compounding and dispensing services. MAID protocols should not be facilitated and dispensed through a relationship between a licensed pharmacy and a secondary compounding and repackaging pharmacy. The protocols require the dispensing of controlled substances which are not accommodated through compounding and repackaging agreements. Secondly, the 1:1 relationship should be preserved, to respect patient confidentiality.

 

Provincial Immunization Records now available in Alberta Netcare
June 15, 2016

As of June 24, 2016, immunization records from across Alberta will be available through the Alberta Netcare Portal. Previously, this data was only available from the Edmonton area.

At the click of a button, authorized clinical users will be able to view their patients’ immunization records and determine if their immunizations are up to date. Users can expect to see immunization details including: date, vaccine/antigen, and service location. This data will help immunizers, primary care providers, emergency clinicians, and specialists make clinical decisions.

The immunization records come from Alberta Health Services (publicly-funded vaccine and some travel clinics) and community pharmacies (influenza vaccine). Immunization data from Alberta Health Services facilities goes back 20-50 years, and data from pharmacies goes back 6-10 years.

For detailed information about the immunizations that will be available from each source, or to view training opportunities, please visit: 
http://www.albertanetcare.ca/LearningCentre/Immunizations.htm

Administration of methotrexate injections
June 15, 2016

We have received several questions about administering methotrexate injections in pharmacies. Although we do not have a specific policy about methotrexate, we have been working with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta and the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta to develop guidelines regarding medication administration.

The draft guideline document includes directions for hazardous drugs. The complete document has not yet been finalized, but it has been approved in principle by ACP council. Therefore, we are providing the following section on administration of hazardous drugs as interim advice:

If hazardous drugs are administered in the practice setting,they are stored, handled and used safely.

  • A written procedure is in place for the management of hazardous drugs.
  • Hazardous drugs are stored separately from other medications if possible.
  • Employees and others at risk from handling hazardous drugs are identified and provided with adequate training and equipment.
  • Cytotoxic spill kits are available and staff are trained in spill management.
  • Adequate personal protective equipment including, but not limited to gloves, disposable gowns, and eye protection is worn for administration of hazardous drugs.
    • Additional personal protective equipment is used where there is potential for splash, spill or aerosolization.
    • Personal protective equipment is disposable where possible.
  • Hazardous drug waste and equipment is disposed at point-of-use into a cytotoxic waste container with minimal manipulation (e.g., needles and syringes are left intact).

Within the confines of the steps described above, single doses of methotrexate may be drawn up for immediate administration outside of a biological safety cabinet. However, pre-filling of methotrexate syringes should only occur in an appropriate sterile compounding environment. Employers may wish to consider implementing an acknowledgement of reproductive risk for pharmacist staff members who prepare and administer a hazardous product by injection.  

Finally, you are reminded that multi-dose vials must be discarded within 28 days of puncture.

Practice Reminder - limiting treatment of self and family members
June 15, 2016

ACP has recently been made aware of instances where pharmacists have provided pharmacy services to themselves and members of their immediate family.

Pharmacists are reminded that in almost all circumstances, they are not permitted to provide pharmacy services to themselves, their immediate family members, or those with whom they have a close personal relationship.

Not only is this practice not clinically sound – as it’s difficult to ensure an independent, objective assessment of appropriateness occurs – it often leads to colleagues questioning the pharmacist’s motives for providing self-treatment. As health professionals who recognize the importance and value of the services we provide, we must seek out appropriate pharmacy services for ourselves and family from an objective, independent pharmacy provider. This needs to take precedence over business relationships.

As a reminder, SPPPT 1.17 and Code of Ethics Principle 3 (guideline 4) state:

SPPPT 1.17
A pharmacist must not prescribe a drug or blood product for:

a) the pharmacist,
b) a family member of the pharmacist, or
c) anyone else with whom the pharmacist has a close personal relationship; except for minor conditions, in an emergency, or when another prescriber is not readily available to prescribe the drug or blood product.

Principle 3
Limit treatment of myself or members of my immediate family only to minor conditions, emergency circumstances or when another appropriate health professional is not readily available.

Examples of self-treatment that are likely inappropriate, include:

a)    Dispensing drugs that have a potential for misuse/abuse for yourself or family members.

b)    Dispensing drugs for chronic conditions for yourself or family members. Dispensing medications for chronic conditions requires ongoing monitoring by a pharmacist. It is likely inappropriate for a pharmacist to dispense drugs for self and family for these conditions.

 Examples of self-treatment that may be appropriate, include:

a)    Selling a Schedule 2 drug to yourself or a family member on one occasion (for a minor, self-limiting condition).

b)    Dispensing a drug to your 12 year old child to treat a minor condition on an evening when another pharmacist is not readily available. 

Hearing notice: Curtis Crough
June 10, 2016
Hearing status Scheduled
Registrant Curtis Crough
Charge Unprofessional Conduct
Date August 23, 2016
Time 9:30 a.m. 
Location

Alberta College of Pharmacists
1100-8215 112 Street NW
Edmonton, AB 

 

In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.

To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre- registering is required.
 

Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.

Media inquiries are to be directed to Shirley Nowicki, Communications Director, at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca

Reminder about requirements for clozapine therapy
June 1, 2016

ACP recently received a report about a community pharmacy dispensing clozapine to a patient without contacting a clozapine registry, or ensuring it was appropriate for the patient to be dispensed this medication. The patient previously experienced a significant adverse reaction to clozapine therapy and was assigned “non-challengeable status”.

Pharmacists are reminded that patients who are initiated on clozapine therapy – along with their treating physician and dispensing pharmacist – must be enrolled in a clozapine registry. Since 2003, there have been three manufacturers of clozapine, (Novartis, Apotex and GenCan) each with its own registry.

When patients enroll, the registry assigns a patient-specific number for tracking and monitoring. If a patient switches to a different treating physician, pharmacy, or laboratory, a modification form must be sent to the appropriate registry to notify them of the change.

Patients must undergo regular hematological tests (i.e., complete blood count or CBC) to monitor their white blood cell count (WBC) and absolute neutrophil count (ANC). The pharmacist must ensure that a CBC has been performed within the appropriate time frame before dispensing clozapine. Weekly CBC is required of all patients on clozapine for the first 26 weeks, after which the frequency may be reduced to every two weeks.

When dispensing clozapine for the first time, in addition to verifying the patient’s hematological status, the pharmacist should verify the patient’s non-rechallengable status. Pharmacists can call the clozapine networks to assess previous clozapine exposure and risk of agranulocytosis. If a patient is found to be non-rechallengable, they must not be restarted on any brand of clozapine.

Please note that the three different brands of clozapine are not interchangeable. Health Canada specifically states that pharmacists must not switch a patient from one brand of clozapine to another unless they obtain a new, registry-specific patient registration form completed by the prescribing physician

Novartis (Clozaril Support and Assistance Network (CSAN)
Tel: (514) 631-6775
1-800-267-2726
Fax: 1-800-465-1312
General Info: www.csan.ca

Apotex (Apo-Clozapine Risk Management Program)
Tel: 1-877-276-2569
Fax: 1-866-836-6778
General Info: www.apoclozapine.com

Mylan
Tel: 1-800-497-9592

Input needed for future kidney health education event
June 1, 2016

In partnership with the Alberta Renal Programs and Divisions of Nephrology, the Kidney Health Strategic Clinical Network is planning on hosting Alberta Kidney Days, an educational event targeted at providers with an interest in kidney health. 

Organizers are conducting a needs assessment survey to help determine content for this event and future education opportunities. If your practice includes patients with kidney disease, please consider completing this survey. It will take approximately five minutes to complete, and will be open until midnight on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 https://survey.albertahealthservices.ca/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=n25J4m7L

If you have any questions about the survey or the Kidney Health Strategic Clinical Network, please contact: kidneyhealth.scn@ahs.ca

Green and Gold Pub Night - June 24, 2016, Calgary
June 1, 2016

Calling all U of A Pharmacy alumni! The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is kicking off this year’s Canadian Pharmacists Conference with a bang and you’re invited! The University of Alberta Calgary Centre, located just minutes from the conference hotel, will be converted into the “Green and Gold Pub” for the night. Come out for a fun evening of music, socializing, appetizers and beverages. Bring your friends along and they’ll be considered honorary alumni for the night!

Don’t forget to wear your green and gold U of A gear for a chance to win some great prizes. Top prize will go to the person with the best U of A spirit!

Date: June 24, 2016
Time: 8:30 p.m. - midnight
Location: University of Alberta Calgary Centre – 120, 333 5 Avenue SW, Calgary
Details: Cash bar

Please RSVP by June 17 to phalumni@ualberta.ca

May 2016 Health Product InfoWatch now available
May 26, 2016

The goal of the Health Product InfoWatch is to raise awareness and to provide clinically relevant information to healthcare professionals concerning marketed health products and their safety. In some cases, information is intended to stimulate reporting of similar adverse reactions. Each publication includes a monthly recap of health product advisories and summary safety reviews, as well as a growing selection of new health product safety information.

In this issue:

- Monthly recap

- Vaccine Safety Review: Report for July 1, 2015 to September 30, 2015

- Product Monograph Updates: Holkira Pak (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir and dasabuvir), Technivie (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir)

CCP Team Challenge - almost there!
May 18, 2016

With less than two weeks to go, a total of 3,910 pharmacists have completed the prescribed Jurisprudence Self-Assessment available in the CCP portal!

By now, many of you are likely at the stage where you’re submitting your professional portfolio. The competence team has developed a help guide to address frequently asked questions in regards to submitting a professional portfolio. The guide includes screen shots from the CCP portal to help you along the way.

Here are some additional tools to assist you in completing your professional portfolio by May 31:

Have a question? Check out the FAQ’s on ACP’s website to see if it has been answered already. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can always contact a member of the competence team at competence@pharmacists.ab.ca.

Take time to reflect with our 2015-2016 Annual Report
May 18, 2016

It is our pleasure to share our 2015-2016 Annual Report, Going the distance to care for Albertans, with you. We encourage you to review the report and reflect on our professions’ achievements over the past year.

Thank you for your continued efforts, commitment, and contributions to the health and well-being of all Albertans. We are proud of our pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who continue to go the distance in caring for Albertans – and making our professions the envy across many borders!

View our report: Going the distance to care for Albertans

Naloxone moves to Schedule 2 - guidance for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
May 18, 2016

On May 11, the Government of Alberta passed amendments to the Scheduled Drugs Regulation designating “Naloxone and its salts for use in emergency treatment of opioid overdose outside of hospital” as a Schedule 2 drug. This change took effect as of Friday, May 13, 2016. 

To support our professions, ACP provided pharmacists and pharmacy technicians with guidance to comply with ACP’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for dispensing or selling Naloxone as a Schedule 2 drug.

ACP’s guidance document can be accessed on our website’s resource centre under tools and guidelines, or by clicking here. For information on billing and compensation for THN kits, please refer to the Alberta Blue Cross Benefact.

Pharmacists play an integral role in the delivery of care to Alberta’s vulnerable populations, and are encouraged to participate in the Naloxone Program.

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) Pharmacy Protocols
May 18, 2016

The standardized pharmacy protocols developed by Alberta Health Services for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) has been updated. You can access the updated protocol on ACP’s website. Again, your username and password will be required. You are encouraged to review this protocol to be familiar with the drugs you will require if called upon to support a physician providing MAID.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are also reminded to review the guidance provided by ACP respecting their limited role in supporting physicians in MAID. ACP’s preliminary and supplementary guidance documentscomplement one and other, and should be read concurrently.

IMPORTANT: Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are reminded that the standardized prescription protocols are written as a standardized “basket of drugs.” If the prescribing physician or nurse practitioner requires additional doses of a drug (i.e. popofol); then a separate standardized prescription should be written for the additional drugs and they should be dispensed separately. Therefore, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should be aware that multiple standardized prescriptions may be received; and, discussion should occur with the prescriber to clarify their intent. The bottom line is that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must ensure that the prescriber is accurately dispensed all of the drugsthey need.

Please also visit Alberta Health Services portal, providing access to additional resources on MAID. Please access these should you wish additional background information and guidance on MAID.
Alberta Health hosting open houses for Nursing Homes and Home Care Regulations review
May 18, 2016

Alberta Health is undertaking a review of continuing care regulations that expire in 2017. The review includes: Nursing Homes Operation RegulationNursing Home General Regulation, and Co-ordinated Home Care Program Regulation.

To inform the Nursing Homes and Home Care Regulations review, Alberta Health will be hosting open houses across the province. If this review is of interest to you and your practice, we encourage you to share your feedback at an open house near you. Please click on the invitations below for open house dates, times, locations, and RSVP details.

This review is happening alongside the review of the Supportive Living Accommodation Licensing Regulation and Accommodation Standards. For more information on this review contact Allison Lacey at Allison.lacey@gov.ab.ca

Home Care General Invite.pdf

Nursing Home General Invite.pdf

ACP employees support for Fort McMurray evacuees with donation
May 18, 2016

Across the country, and especially in Alberta, there has been an outpouring of support for those displaced by the Fort McMurray wildfires. Canadians have opened their homes, hearts and wallets to support the people who live and work in Fort McMurray.

For their part, the staff at ACP felt compelled to make a donation to a local relief society. The fundraising effort was spearheaded by Kathy Kalyta, complaints resolution administrator, who collected funds and purchased much-needed items for the Edmonton Emergency Relief Services Society. The organization has been providing relief for victims of fire and disaster since 1986, as well as providing affordable goods and services to low income families, and the working poor.

ACP thanks all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who have provided pharmacy services to those displaced by the fire. We appreciate the time and energy you put in to ensure that evacuees requiring drug therapy receive quality care, in addition to managing the needs of your regular patients. Please refer to the initial guidance provided by ACP or give us a call at 780-990-0321 with any questions about providing pharmacy services to temporarily displaced individuals.

Hearing notice: Moustafa Alrefaey
May 17, 2016
Hearing status Scheduled
Registrant Moustafa Alrefaey
Charge Unprofessional Conduct
Date September 13, 2017
Time 9:30 a.m.
Location

Alberta College of Pharmacists
1100 - 8215 112 Street NW
Edmonton, AB

 

In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.

To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre-registering is required.

Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.

Media inquiries are to be directed to Barry Strader, Communications Director, at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca

Naloxone moves to Schedule 2 - Guidance for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
May 11, 2016

Today, the Government of Alberta passed amendments to the Scheduled Drugs Regulation designating “Naloxone and its salts for use in emergency treatment of opioid overdose outside of hospital” as a Schedule 2 product (available without a prescription). This change takes effect as of May 13, 2016. This amendment is one more step to help address the rising number of opioid (including fentanyl) overdoses and deaths by increasing access to take-home naloxone (THN) kits for at-risk Albertans.

To support our professions, ACP is providing pharmacists and pharmacy technicians with guidance to comply with ACP’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for dispensing or selling Naloxone as a Schedule 2 drug. The guidance document can be accessed here: Guidance for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians - Dispensing or Selling Naloxone

Hearing notice: Robert Stadnyk
May 5, 2016
Status Decision pending
Registrant Robert Stadnyk
Charge Unprofessional Conduct
Date June 22, 2016
Time 9:30 a.m. 
Location

Varscona Hotel – Rutherford Room
8208 106 Street NW
Edmonton, AB

 

In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.

To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre registering is required.

Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.

Media inquiries are to be directed to the Communications Director, at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca

Hearing notice: Evan King
May 5, 2016
Hearing status                Decision pending
Registrant Evan King
Charge Unprofessional Conduct
Date June 22, 2016
Time 9:30 a.m. 
Location

Varscona Hotel – Rutherford Room
8208 106 Street NW
Edmonton, AB

In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.

To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre registering is required.

Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.

Media inquiries are to be directed to Shirley Nowicki, Communications Director, at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca

Hearing notice: Kathryn Kieser
May 5, 2016
Hearing status         Decision pending
Registrant Kathryn Keiser
Charge Unprofessional conduct 
Date June 22, 2016
Time 9:30 a.m.
Location

Varscona Hotel – Rutherford Room
8208 106 Street NW
Edmonton, AB

 

In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.

To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre-registering is required.

Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.

Media inquiries are to be directed to Shirley Nowicki, Communications Director, at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca

Pharmacy services for displaced Fort McMurray residents
May 4, 2016

Along with all Albertans, the Alberta College of Pharmacists extends its deepest sorrow to all residents of Fort McMurray for their great loss during this extremely devastating, difficult and emotional time.   Your bravery and courage under these formidable circumstances is beyond what most of us can ever understand.

In this stage of crises, many individuals may require pharmacy services to ensure their drug therapy is continued.  The college has provided guidance and direction to all community pharmacies across Alberta to assist in providing pharmacy services to displaced individuals requiring drug therapy.

If you require support or assistance from a pharmacist, please visit any local community pharmacy.

In the event that individuals may require narcotics, or controlled drugs containing opiates or benzodiazepines, the college urges you to consult with a physician.

Please know that your health and wellbeing is our top priority and that pharmacy teams across the province are concerned and ready to help you.  Contact us at: communications@pharmacists.ab.ca should you need assistance finding a pharmacist. 

We will continue to provide advice and direction to our pharmacists as events continue to unfold.

Providing pharmacy services for displaced Fort McMurray residents
May 4, 2016

Due to the fires and resulting evacuations taking place right now in Fort McMurray, many individuals may be seeking temporary pharmacy services from other Alberta pharmacies.

ACP understands that this may significantly increase your workload, and we appreciate all your efforts to help your colleagues and their patients during this difficult time.

As a reminder, when providing care for a temporarily displaced patient, please:

  1. Check Netcare to confirm the patient’s health history and determine appropriateness.
  2. Follow the standards for prescribing in an emergency (Standard13). Specifically, the pharmacist must:
    • personally see and assess the patient,
    • obtain sufficient information about the patient’s health status and disease or condition to make the decision to prescribe,
    • assess whether the prescription will cause a drug-related problem,
    • be satisfied that the prescription will not place the patient at increased risk, and
    • follow up and appropriately monitor the response to the drug prescribed.
  3. As the duration of the recovery is unknown, consider providing patients an amount of medication up to the amount of their last dispensed event. This, of course, must be based on your assessment of the patient.
  4. Communicate your actions back to the patient’s other health care providers as soon as possible.

Look after yourself and those working with you. We recognize the burdens that these circumstances cause - the limited time you have to address all the issues you face; the challenges of looking after new patients with limited information; and the limits to your physical and emotional energy.

Pharmacists: do you have patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) or who are receiving dialysis?
May 4, 2016

If you have patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) or who are receiving dialysis, you may receive a letter from the Southern Alberta Renal Program (SARP) this spring. SARP will be faxing a letter to community pharmacies that fill prescriptions for patients with CKD.

The letter is intended to facilitate communication between the pharmacy and the renal health care provider. It includes information about reduced kidney function or dialysis that can be kept in the pharmacy patient profile, as well as readily available resources to support drug dosing. You’ll also find contact information for a renal health care provider at a SARP Clinic or Dialysis Unit. You are encouraged to contact the health care provider listed within the letter at any time with questions or concerns about your patient’s medications
Diphenhydramine vs. Dimenhydrinate - be aware of medications that sound or look alike
May 4, 2016

Although direct cancer treatment medications are filled by Cancer Services pharmacies, other supportive care medications are obtained from community pharmacies. One medication cancer patients may obtain from community pharmacies in their cancer treatment protocols is diphenhydramine, which is used for preventing infusion reactions related to chemotherapy. Alberta Health Services has become aware of several instances where patients have received dimenhydrinate (used for nausea and vomiting) in error, resulting in significant clinical consequences for the patient.

Pharmacists are reminded to read prescriptions carefully, being aware of look-alike and sound-alike medications, and ensuring that the correct product is provided to the patient

Physician-assisted death and regional meeting webinars available online
May 4, 2016

If you were unable to participate in ACP’s recent webinars, you can access the recorded events now posted on our website. Both the Physician-assisted Death webinar (originally streamed April 20) and the Regional Meeting webinar (originally streamed April 27) are accessible to all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians using your ACP log-in credentials.

Physician-assisted Death: https://pharmacists.ab.ca/physician-assisted-death-pad

Regional Meeting: https://pharmacists.ab.ca/regional-meeting-webinar

If you would like to submit any comments or questions about the subject matter presented in the webinars, please email them to communications@pharmacists.ab.ca.

Competence program team challenge update
May 4, 2016

As of today, a total of 3,182 pharmacists have completed the prescribed Jurisprudence Self-Assessment available in the CCP portal!

If you haven’t started your professional portfolio yet, or have started but need some additional guidance, we encourage you to check out the CCP tutorial. In addition to this, we’ve also developed a number of tools to help you successfully complete your professional portfolio by May 31:

Have a question? There’s a chance it could already be answered in the FAQ’s on ACP’s website. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can always contact a member of the competence team at competence@pharmacists.ab.ca

Chat, Check, and Chart tools get a new look
May 4, 2016

Checked out Chat, Check, and Chart lately? A total of seven tools in the Chat, Check, and Chart (CCC) series have been redesigned with a new look and feel that is more user-friendly for pharmacists. If you haven’t already implemented CCC into your practice, now is a great time to start!

It’s not just a new design; some of the tools also feature new and updated content. The CCC series – adapted from Chat Check, and Chart by Dr. Lisa Guirguis of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta – was created out of a need to help pharmacists meet ACP’s standards by providing guidance around patient conversations, assessment and monitoring. Electronic versions of the newly designed CCC tools can be found on ACP’s website. If you would like printed copies of any of these tools, please contact your Pharmacy Practice Consultant.
April 2016 Health Product InfoWatch now available
May 2, 2016

The goal of the Health Product InfoWatch is to raise awareness and to provide clinically relevant information to healthcare professionals concerning marketed health products and their safety. In some cases, information is intended to stimulate reporting of similar adverse reactions.

Each publication includes a monthly recap of health product advisories and summary safety reviews, as well as a growing selection of new health product safety information.

 

Pharmacist online renewal now open!
April 25, 2016

April 25, 2016

Online renewal is now open for pharmacists and associate pharmacists! Renewal is due by May 31, 2016.


How to renew

  1. Submit your CCP requirements. Before you can complete your online renewal, you must ensure you have submitted your Continuing Competence Program (CCP) requirements via the CCP portal. The option to submit all requirements was not available until the online renewal was turned on, and is now available. 
    • CCP Portal Login
    • Once you have submitted all CCP requirements, you can proceed with your online renewal.
  2. Renew permit online. Online annual permit renewal is available on our website at https://acp.alinityapp.com/webclient.
    • Log on using your username and password.
    • Select the Renewal tab and follow the directions. 

​Forgot your username and password? 

To log on to renew your permit online, you will need your username and password. Your username and password will be the same for all secure areas of the website including the CCP portal.

  1. Your username is your ACP registration number which is on your practice permit.
  2. ​If you have forgotten your password, use this link  to have a new password generated: https://acp.alinityapp.com/webclient/RequestCredentials.aspx?ScrollHeight=295&MPEID=MPERequestCredentials. Please note, passwords are case sensitive.
    • You will receive an email with your new password. As it is a computer-generated password, you may want to copy and paste your new password the first time you log on.
    • Once your new password has been issued, use this link (https://acp.alinityapp.com/webclient) and your newly-issued password to sign in.
    • Choose the "change password" button directly under your name to change your password. 

Fees

Clinical pharmacist: $842.10 ($802 plus $42.10 GST)

Associate register: $244.65 ($233 plus $11.65 GST)

Non-compliance fee: $86.10 ($82 plus $4.10 GST)
This fee will be assessed to any clinical pharmacist whose practice permit renewal remains outstanding after May 31 and up to June 30, 2016. This fee is in addition to the practice permit fee for clinical pharmacists. Clinical pharmacists whose renewals are outstanding as of June 30, 2016 will be suspended effective July 1, 2016 and will be required to pay a reinstatement fee of $280.35 ($267 plus $13.35 GST) in addition to the annual practice permit fee before regaining their statuses as clinical pharmacists.


Questions? Contact us

Reinstatement requests: 
statuschange@pharmacists.ab.ca

Questions/problems regarding renewal:
ACP Registration Department, registrationinfo@pharmacists.ab.ca

Questions/problems regarding CEUs, Implementation Records, audits, etc.:
ACP Competence Department, competence@pharmacists.ab.ca 

Telephone: 780-990-0321
Toll-free: 1-877-227-3838
Fax: 780-990-0328

Ten days left to apply for the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) Patient Experience Awards!
April 20, 2016

Are you part of an initiative that has improved the patient experience in accessing and receiving health services in Alberta? The Patient Experience Awards have been established to recognize and celebrate individuals or teams of healthcare workers in Alberta involved in implementing an initiative that promotes a positive patient experience. The winner(s) will receive funding – up to a maximum of $2,500 – to attend a patient experience, quality, or patient safety education event.

Applications will be accepted from April 1 – 30, 2016. For more information on how to apply, visit www.hqca.ca.
Outpatient Cancer Drug Benefit Program
April 20, 2016

Community pharmacists are reminded that most medications used in the direct treatment of cancer are provided to eligible Alberta patients at no cost through the Outpatient Cancer Drug Benefit Program.

In order for patients to receive the medications at no cost, the medications must be obtained from an Alberta Health Services Cancer Services pharmacy. There is no mechanism for reimbursement or billing to Alberta Health Services after the prescription has been filled. If a patient presents a prescription for cancer treatment medications to a community pharmacy, the pharmacist should determine whether the patient should be referred to a Cancer Services pharmacy.

If a patient presents a prescription for cancer treatment medications to a community pharmacy, the pharmacist should determine whether the patient should be referred to a Cancer Services pharmacy:

Cross Cancer Institute

11560 University Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
T6G 1Z2
Telephone: 780-432-8771 (Switchboard)

Tom Baker Cancer Centre

1331 29 Street NW
Calgary, Alberta
T2N 4N2
Telephone: 403-521-3723 (Switchboard)
 

Central Alberta Cancer Centre

3942 50A Avenue
Red Deer, Alberta
T4N 4E7
Telephone: 403-343-4526 (Switchboard)

Grande Prairie Cancer Centre

10409 98 Street
Grande Prairie, Alberta
T8V 2E8
Telephone: 780-538-7588 (Switchboard)
 

Jack Ady Cancer Centre

960 9 Street S
Lethbridge, Alberta
T1J 1W5
Telephone: 403-388-6860 switchboard
 

Margery E. Yuill Cancer Centre

666 5 Street SW
Medicine Hat, Alberta
T1A 4H6
Telephone: 403-529-8817
 

To determine if a patient is eligible and/or whether the medication is included in the program, pharmacists can refer to the Outpatient Cancer Drug Benefit List located on the ACP website at:

https://pharmacists.ab.ca/provincial-legislation

As the list changes regularly, it is recommended that pharmacists refer to online version rather than relying on printed copies that may be out of date.

NAPRA is looking for an Executive Director
April 20, 2016

Established in 1995, NAPRA is the national voluntary association of provincial and territorial pharmacy regulatory bodies as well as the Canadian Forces Pharmacy Services. Providing national leadership in pharmacy regulatory practices that enhance patient care and public protection, NAPRA’s members regulate the practice of pharmacy and operation of pharmacies in their respective jurisdictions in Canada. Located in Ottawa, the association is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of practicing pharmacists as well as the Registrar or designated government representative of each member.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will have overall responsibility and accountability for the operations of the Association. He/She, through the direction of the Board, will be looked upon to develop and implement NAPRA’s next strategic plan. Leading a small team, the Executive Director will manage and provide support to NAPRA’s programs, including: the National Drug Schedules; the National Pharmacy Technician Bridging Education Program; the Pharmacists’ Gateway Canada for international pharmacy graduates; and maintaining the terms of the Mobility Agreement for Canadian Pharmacists (and, in the future, pharmacy technicians).

As the primary spokesperson for NAPRA, the Executive Director will advocate and promote regulatory standards to the federal government, in particular Health Canada, other national professional associations, and stakeholders at the provincial, national, and international levels.

As the ideal candidate, you are a leader with vision and have experience managing in a complex, multi-stakeholder environment with changing and shifting priorities. You have proven skills in strategic and financial planning, and are a strong team mentor. You are an exceptional relationship builder and espouse respect, trust, and integrity in all of your interactions. Your strong communication and facilitation skills, as well as political acumen will be key in advising and supporting the Board, understanding and respecting the issues faced by each member, creating NAPRA’s next strategic plan, and representing NAPRA as a key spokesperson. Written and oral fluency in English and French is highly desirable. Preference will be given to a licensed pharmacist.

If you are interested in leading NAPRA and being at the centre of pharmacy regulation in Canada, please contact Michael Naufal or Kathy Rahme of Boyden global executive search at 613-742-3204 or via email at krahme@boyden.com.

Pharmacoeconomics position on the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) - apply by April 27, 2016
April 20, 2016

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) provides the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) with ongoing and timely medical, scientific, and public health advice relating to the prevention of disease/infection and certain prophylactic agents (e.g., immunoglobulin) for humans.

NACI members include experts in a number of disciplines essential to the development of recommendations and the provision of advice on immunization, including but not limited to: pediatric infectious diseases, adult infectious diseases, allergy, immunology, pharmacology, microbiology, community medicine, public health, nursing and epidemiology. NACI is expanding this list to now include expertise in pharmacoeconomics to assist the committee in developing recommendations and guidance for immunization programs. NACI is comprised of voting members, and liaison and ex-officio representatives. A voting membership term on NACI is 4 years, with the possibility of renewing for an additional 1 to 4 years.

PHAC is inviting individuals with relevant expertise/designations to submit their nomination to fill the pharmacoeconomics position for a NACI voting member.

NACI currently meets face-to-face up to three times per year for two days, and additionally via teleconference/WebEx as required. The face-to-face meetings are held in Ottawa, Ontario. Members are expected to attend the face-to-face meetings, unless exceptional circumstances arise. Members are also expected to be actively involved in NACI activities by chairing and participating on working groups, participating in the review and updating of Canadian Immunization Guide chapters, reviewing literature, drafting and reviewing documents, and taking part in discussions and voting processes. Meeting expenses for NACI voting members, including transportation, accommodations, and meals and incidentals, are paid for by the Agency in accordance with the Government of Canada Travel Directive (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpubs/tbm_113/menu-travel-voyage-eng.asp).

Interested candidates must submit the following items: 

1. A current curriculum vitae, including manuscripts, presentations, research activities and full contact details (mailing address, telephone number and email address);

2. A cover letter, not exceeding 600 words, providing general details on your background, experience and expertise related to pharmacoeconomics and area(s) of interest relating to immunization/vaccines; and

3. At least one letter of recommendation from a person(s) not employed by the Agency.

The deadline for receipt of all application materials is April 27, 2016. All materials must be submitted electronically as email attachments to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization Secretariat at naci-ccni@phac-aspc.gc.ca. If you have difficulties submitting your materials to this email address or have any questions, please contact Louise Pagé at 613-410-7097.  

Instructions: Please submit the documents indicated below via email to naci-ccni@phac-aspc.gc.ca and include the following in the subject line, your full name and “NACI Membership Submission.”

Candidates will be assessed on:

  • Depth and breadth of expertise, knowledge and experience as it relates to pharmacoeconomics.
  • Depth and breadth of expertise, knowledge and experience related to immunization/vaccines.
  • Experience working with NACI and/or similar committees.

A review of all submissions and final selection of a candidate will be made by the Agency with recommendations from the NACI Chair and Vice-Chair. The selected candidate will be appointed by the Assistant Deputy Minister, Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Branch and will be notified of his/her selection in writing. Candidates not appointed will be notified accordingly. Please note that for those who are not appointed, your contact information will be retained so we may contact you regarding future calls for membership. If you do not wish your contact details to be retained for future calls please indicate this when you submit your application materials.

Preceptors wanted: EX-citing changes to EX-Ed program
April 20, 2016

Have you ever considered sharing your knowledge, skills and expertise with a pharmacy student? If yes, please consider becoming a preceptor with the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta.

The faculty is seeking new preceptors for its experiential education program. The plan is to expand the experiential program from 22 to 40 weeks to meet the curriculum change in the proposed PharmD program.

Given the diverse role of pharmacists, this new program will provide all students with more time in various practice settings to complement their on-campus learning. In addition, the faculty will be expanding both the patient care opportunities as well as the chance for students to experience other professional roles such as management, leadership, advocacy, research, teaching, and drug information, to name a few. The majority of additional experiential opportunities for students are being added in the fourth year of the program.

Consider your practice - how is it unique, challenging, and rewarding? Can you envision a student growing and contributing within your practice environment?

Students learn the “building blocks” in class but preceptors have the wisdom of practice. Students, like any health care professional, need pharmacists to coach and guide them on applying their knowledge/skills in order to become competent and confident future practitioners.

As the faculty embarks on preparing for new experiential preceptors and sites, all practicing pharmacists with an interest in teaching, mentoring, and coaching are invited to consider becoming a preceptor.

Check out the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences website and contact the Experiential Education office by email at phexed@ualberta.ca or phone 780-492-9780 for more information.

Council election results
April 20, 2016

The 2016 council elections closed at 4:30 p.m. on April 14, 2016. Congratulations to Rick Hackman, re-elected for a second term in District 3 (Edmonton), and to Stan Dyjur elected by acclamation in District 4 (Central Alberta). Their term on council starts July 1, 2016.

ACP also thanks Mary Gunther (candidate – District 3) for her interest in providing leadership, as well as thanks to all voters for participating in this year's council election.

Council and ACP wishes to extend its appreciation to Kelly Olstad (outgoing council member - District 4) for his leadership and commitment to the profession during his six years on council; one of which he served as President.

Reminder: protect patient privacy through masking information in Alberta Netcare
April 20, 2016

ACP recently received information from Alberta Health indicating that some pharmacists (who are custodians under the HIA) may not be fully aware of their responsibilities about patient requests for Global Person Level Masking. 

The Health Information Act (HIA) requires that Alberta Netcare users, including pharmacists, must consider requests from Albertans wanting to limit their health information available on Alberta Netcare. If you are asked to mask an individual’s health information in Netcare, you can do so by applying for Global Person Level Masking (GPLM) with the individual requesting your help. Masking information within an individual’s health record, excludes demographic information (e.g., first and last name, date of birth, gender and personal health number). 

How does Global Person Level Masking work?

Once applied to an individual’s record, GPLM makes accessing patient health information through Alberta Netcare a two-step process. The Alberta Netcare user must select the reason for the unmasking before the health information can be viewed. Six reasons identified as being acceptable include:

  1. Patient consent
  2. Direct patient care/clinical need
  3. Medical emergency
  4. Public health follow-up
  5. For authorized release of patient information, and
  6. As required by law. 

Unmasking health information is logged within the system, and is subject to audit— a standard procedure with all activities on Alberta Netcare.

Complete the application form with the individual and submit the application on the individual’s behalf. A full set of guidelines and step-by-step instructions for completing the form are available on the Alberta Netcare Portal Login Page, under the heading of Administrative Forms: https://portal.albertanetcare.ca/ab/NetcareLogin.htm.

You may also wish to refer to the Netcare bulletin: Protecting Patient Privacy through Masking Information in Alberta Netcare. This article can be found on the Netcare website at:

http://www.albertanetcare.ca/gplm_fact_sheet_for_custodians.pdf

 

Physician-assisted death (PAD) update
April 20, 2016

ACP has provided “Preliminary and Supplementary Guidance” to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians about physician-assisted death (PAD). Most recently, password protected protocols for PAD were posted on ACP’s website. Today, we have posted a password protected drug monograph and updated protocol. Important are instructions for compounding the oral formulation, which requires additional excipients in the formulation.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who are able and willing to compound and dispense these protocols to a physician, having received the necessary authorization to prescribe for PAD, should review the monograph, the updated protocol and the guidance documents.

Competence program congratulations and team challenge
April 20, 2016

Congratulations to the 2,634 pharmacists who have already completed the prescribed Jurisprudence Self-Assessment available in the CCP portal! Now, there are only three more steps remaining for you to meet program requirements by May 31, 2016. 

If you’re still working on your professional portfolio, you’re not alone. To support you with completing the program requirements, in addition to the CCP tutorial, we’ve developed a number of tools, including:

Let’s track our progress collectively. In the next few issues of The Link, we will provide you with a visual update on our team’s progress. Remember, our goal is to achieve a 100 per cent completion rate.  Ready…set…go!

  1. Complete the Jurisprudence Self-Assessment - Available in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal
  2. Complete learning activities – Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle (June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016), and document each activity on a Learning Record
  3. Put your learning to use – Implement a minimum of one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an Implementation Record (you only need to complete one record)
  4. Submit your Learning and Implementation Records to ACP by May 31, 2016

All pharmacists are required to complete these program requirements prior to renewing their practice permits. Exception: Only individuals who become licensed as a pharmacist for the first time between January 1 and June 30, 2016 are exempt from submitting their professional portfolios at renewal.

For assistance, please contact a member of the competence team at competence@pharmacists.ab.ca; and/or review the FAQ’s on the ACP website.

Help your patients understand what air quality means to their health
April 6, 2016

The Air Quality Health Index is a tool that pharmacists can use to counsel patients on how to limit exposure to air pollution. The index helps patients make decisions to protect their health by limiting long-term exposure to air pollution and adjusting activity levels during increased levels of air pollution.

The higher the number on the index, the greater the health risk. Numbers one to three indicate a low health risk. At this low level the population is able to enjoy their usual outdoor activities and should be encouraged to be physically active outdoors. Numbers four to six on the scale indicate health risk, when the at-risk population should consider reducing or rescheduling their outdoor activities. Numbers seven to ten indicate a high risk. At these levels, children and the elderly and those with preexisting respiratory or cardiac disease should reduce or reschedule their outdoor activities.

For more information about the Air Quality Health Index, pharmacists and patients can visit www.airhealth.ca and www.theweathernetwork.com
Cast your ballot in ACP's council election
April 6, 2016

District 3 pharmacists: don’t miss the opportunity to vote in ACP’s council election! Take a moment to get familiar with each candidate by having a look at their biography and message to voters. This will help you decide who can best provide leadership to govern and advance pharmacy practice in Alberta. It’s an important role and important decision, so make sure your voice is heard.

Voting closes at 4:30 p.m. on April 14, 2016 and can be done at http://pharmacists.ab.ca/vote2016

Save the date - upcoming ACP webinars
April 6, 2016

Two webinars are being planned by ACP to engage with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. The first webinar will cover ACP’s guidance to the professions on physician-assisted death and allow participants an opportunity to have their questions addressed by ACP’s Registrar Greg Eberhart.

A second webinar is planned for those registrants who were unable to attend their local regional meeting this Spring. Council President Rick Hackman and Registrar Greg Eberhart will lead participants through a discussion surrounding the role of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in an evolving landscape of patient care.

Our commitment to these outreach opportunities will allow us to connect with you, share and discuss issues related to pharmacy practice, and through dialogue, gain an understanding of the issues affecting you locally.

An email invitation will be sent to you in the near future with an RSVP request coupled with instructions on how to join the webinar. Meanwhile, please put a placeholder in your calendar.

  • Physician-assisted death 
    Wednesday, April 20, 2016
    7:30 - 8:30 p.m. 
     
  • Regional Meeting 
    Wednesday, April 27, 2016 
    7:30 - 9:00 p.m.
Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) launches first annual Patient Experience Awards
April 6, 2016

Are you part of an initiative that has improved the patient experience in accessing and receiving health services in Alberta? The Patient Experience Awards have been established to recognize and celebrate individuals or teams of healthcare workers in Alberta involved in implementing an initiative that promotes a positive patient experience. The winner(s) will receive funding – up to a maximum of $2,500 – to attend a patient experience, quality, or patient safety education event.

Applications will be accepted from April 1 – 30, 2016. For more information on how to apply, visit the HQCA website.

Change Day Alberta wraps up with over 6,000 pledges!
April 6, 2016

On April 4, 2016 organizations across Alberta, including ACP, celebrated the success of Change Day Alberta over a slice of cake. At the end of this inspiring campaign of action, which originated in the UK and made its debut in Alberta just five months ago, a total of 6,008 pledges for change were made by Albertans.

Check out the Change Day Alberta pledge gallery to see what people committed to change for their patients, family, friends, community, and themselves. On behalf of everyone at ACP, thank you for supporting Change Day by making a pledge for change and encouraging others to do the same. We hope you’re successful in turning your pledges into action!

What can be done to improve your practice environment? Take 20 minutes and tell us about it!
April 6, 2016

In 2015, pharmacists told ACP that more can be done to improve their practice environment. In response to this, ACP has engaged Dr. Carlo Marra, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, Memorial University, and his team to conduct a province-wide survey to seek direct feedback on pharmacy working conditions.

We encourage you to take the opportunity to complete this 20-minute survey which can be accessed here. The results will support council and the college’s administration to identify strategies for improvement. Deadline to complete the survey has been extended to 11:59 p.m. on April 13, 2016.

For more information, please refer to the email you received on March 1 or contact the study coordinator at 604-822-4590.

March 2016 Health Product InfoWatch now available
April 1, 2016

The March 2016 issue of Health Product InfoWatch, published by the Marketed Health Products Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, is available. This newsletter is a monthly publication providing safety information on pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and natural health products.

In this issue:

Anticoagulation in 2016: concepts of care for community-based pharmacists
March 23, 2016

The Collaborative Learning on Thrombosis (CLOT) group will host an anticoagulation learning event for community-based pharmacists at the University of Alberta on Saturday, April 23, 2016. The event will use case vignettes to provide up-to-date information on anticoagulation therapies covering common thrombosis topics relevant to community pharmacy practice.

Register at www.eply.com/CLOTWorkshop2016 by April 14, 2016. For more information, check out the Conference Brochure or email CLOTpharmacists@gmail.com

The Collaborative Learning on Thrombosis (CLOT) group consists of pharmacists from the Prairie Provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) with an interest or practice in the management of thrombosis/anticoagulation therapies. It provides a forum to network and gain expertise to facilitate knowledge transfer to other pharmacists and healthcare practitioners to optimize the care of patients with thromboembolic disease.

 

Physician assisted death
March 23, 2016

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are reminded to review the guidance provided by ACP respecting their limited role in supporting physicians in physician assisted death (PAD), ACP’s preliminary and supplementary guidance documents complement one and other, and should be read concurrently.

We have posted a copy of the inaugural decision from the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, authorizing PAD for an individual on March 1, 2016. You will be asked for your username and password to view the document. This is a good reference for you to better understand considerations of the courts when considering an application for PAD during the period up to June 6, 2016.

A standardized prescription protocol has been developed for PAD, and can also be accessed on ACP’s website. Again, your username and password will be required. You are encouraged to review this protocol to be familiar with the drugs you will require if called upon to support a physician providing PAD.

Alberta Health has initiated a public consultation on PAD, to better inform government about public perspectives when developing provincial legislation on PAD. ACP’s working group will be developing a response on behalf of ACP.  Should you wish to contribute personally the survey can be accessed here

Alberta Health Services has developed a new portal, providing access to additional resources on PAD.  Please access these should you wish additional background information and guidance on PAD.

Council highlights
March 23, 2016
Council convened on March 3 & 4, 2016. Highlights of council’s deliberations can be reviewed here.
Implementation Record tips & tools
March 23, 2016

Stuck on the Implementation Record portion of your 2015/2016 professional portfolio?  Here are some tips you may find helpful:

  • Write a specific implementation objective that clearly describes how you will apply your learning. What are you going to do with what you’ve learned? For more help on this subject, check out How to Write SMART Objectives.
  • Be specific in your answers and highlight how your practice has improved and/or who has been affected by/benefited from your implementation.
  • Submit the one* piece of evidence that best showcases what you’ve achieved; and ensure it directly relates back to your implementation objective and outcome. *Your one piece of evidence can have multiple pages if scanned into one file.

Need some inspiration? Last year, 91 per cent of audited portfolios met/exceeded the established standards. For a sample of excellent real-life implementation objectives, visit our new resource Examples of Implementation Objectives

If you plan to renew your practice permit, you must complete the following Continuing Competence Program (CCP) requirements by May 31, 2016:*

  1. Complete the Jurisprudence Self-Assessment - available in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal;
  2. Complete learning activities – Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle (June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016) and document each activity on a Learning Record; and
  3. Put your learning to use – Implement a minimum of one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an Implementation Record (you only need to complete one record).

Access all program materials in the CCP portal. For more information on the program, please refer to CCP requirements, review the CCP tutorial, and/or contact a member of the competence department.

*Only exemption: pharmacists who register on the clinical register for the first time between January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2016.

Pharmacists: tell us about how your practice environment is impacting you
March 23, 2016

If you haven’t already done so, please take the opportunity to complete the 20-minute survey on practice environment working conditions sent to you via email earlier this month. You can access the survey here.

Pharmacists told ACP through its 2015 survey that more can be done to improve their practice environment. In order to further explore this question, Dr. Carlo Marra, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, Memorial University, and his team have been engaged to conduct a province-wide survey on behalf of the Alberta College of Pharmacists, to seek direct feedback on pharmacy working conditions. The results will support council and the college’s administration to identify strategies for improvement.

For more information, please refer to the email you received or contact the study coordinator at 604-822-4590.

Naloxone continues to require a prescription until further notice
March 23, 2016

As reported in the media this week, Naloxone, when indicated for emergency use for opioid overdose outside of hospital settings, has been removed from the Prescription Drug List (PDL) by Health Canada. However, this does not mean that the drug is automatically available without a prescription.

In Alberta, the Scheduled Drugs Regulation to the Pharmacy and Drug Act dictates which drugs are in which schedule. These regulations state that all drugs set out in Schedule 1 by National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) Drug Schedules are Schedule 1 drugs unless the drug is listed as an exception in the regulations. Therefore Naloxone will remain on Schedule 1 in Alberta until either the NAPRA drug schedules are changed or the Scheduled Drugs Regulation is amended to list Naloxone as an exception.

We are aware that both NAPRA and Alberta Health are considering schedule changes. We will notify you of any schedule change regarding Naloxone, and the implications for your practice, when they occur. In the meantime, the Take Home Naloxone (THN) Program continues to operate unchanged. For questions about the THN program, please contact RxA or Alberta Health Services. For questions relating to standards of practice, please contact ACP.

Hearing notice: Basel Alsaadi
March 22, 2016
Hearing status Continuation
Registrant Basel Alsaadi
Charge Unprofessional conduct
Date November 6-8, 2017
Time 9:30 a.m.
Location

Varscona Hotel – Rutherford Room, 8208 106 Street NW, Edmonton, AB 

In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.

To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre registering is required.

Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.

Media inquiries are to be directed to Barry Strader, Communications Director, at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca

Hearing notice: Saeed Sattari
March 22, 2016
Hearing status Scheduled
Registrant Saeed Sattari
Charge Unprofessional conduct
Date May 26, 2016
Time 9:30 AM
Location Alberta College of Pharmacists
1100-8215 112 Street NW
Edmonton, AB

In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.

To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre registering is required.

Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.

Media inquiries are to be directed to Shirley Nowicki, Communications Director, at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca

ACP office closed for Easter
March 16, 2016
Our office will be closed on Good Friday (March 25) and Easter Monday (March 28). We will reopen on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. 
Voting for council elections now open!
March 15, 2016

Voting officially opened on March 15 at 8:00 a.m. for a council position for a pharmacist in District 3 (Edmonton). All voting will be online at http://pharmacists.ab.ca/vote2016. Voting closes April 14 at 4:30 p.m. The elected member will serve a two year term, commencing July 1, 2016; ending June 30, 2018.

The candidates for District 3 (Edmonton) are:

  • Rick Hackman 
  • Mary Gunther

Congratulations to Stan Dyjur who was elected to council by acclamation in District 4 (Central Alberta).

 

Over 1,700 Albertans have joined the Change Day movement - have you?
March 9, 2016

With less than a month to go before the province-wide celebration on April 4, now is the time to make your pledge for change! Change Day is based on the idea that one act can lead to improvement in care for patients, clients, residents, families, and the system. Your pledge can be related you your practice or your personal life. It’s entirely up to you. Click here to see some examples of what others have pledged.

Help spread the word – share your pledges with us and the rest of the pharmacy community! You can tag us on Facebook, mention us on Twitter, or email us at communications@pharmacists.ab.ca. Don’t forget to use the official Change Day hashtag #ChangeDayAB in your post.

Pictured above: ACP council members proudly display their Change Day pledges at the March Council Meeting.

Pharmacists: does your practice environment support you in providing the level of care you aspire to?
March 9, 2016

If you haven’t already done so, please take the opportunity to complete the 20-minute survey on practice environment working conditions sent to you via email last week. You can access the survey here.

Pharmacists told ACP through its 2015 survey that more can be done to improve their practice environment. In order to further explore this question, Dr. Carlo Marra, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, Memorial University, and his team have been engaged to conduct a province-wide survey on behalf of the Alberta College of Pharmacists, to seek direct feedback on pharmacy working conditions. The results will support council and the college’s administration to identify strategies for improvement.

For more information, please refer to the original email you received, or contact the study coordinator at 604-822-4590.

Double-check manufacturer quantity on foil/blister packaged medications before dispensing
March 9, 2016

ACP has recently received reports of pharmacies inadvertently dispensing a smaller amount of medication than was labelled, recorded and billed for. The error stems from the pharmacy dispensing the medication in the original manufacturer’s box (containing the tablets in foil/blister packs). While many manufactured foil/blister packaged medications come from the manufacturer in boxes of 30, some also come in boxes of 28. In some cases pharmacies have mistakenly labelled, recorded and billed for 30 tablets but only dispensed a “full” box of 28 tablets.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are reminded to check the quantities per box of commercially manufactured foil/blister packaged medications and be vigilant in confirming the correct quantity is dispensed.

Pharmacy students: apply for ACP's Leadership Development Award by May 15
March 9, 2016

Imagine joining thousands of young and newly graduated pharmacists from around the world to learn, share, and exchange views. This could be your opportunity to travel and participate in an international conference. If you are an aspiring leader with a desire to strengthen and develop your leadership skills, tell us about yourself. University of Alberta Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences students are encouraged to explore this life-changing opportunity. Apply for ACP's Leadership Development Award by May 15, 2016.

About the Award
ACP will award up to $5,000 to advance one recipient’s leadership skills through attendance at a single pharmacy leadership conference or high-level professional development opportunity. Need some inspiration? Check out our story about last year’s Leadership Development Award recipient, Cassandra Woit, in the December issue of acpnews.

Electronic transmission of prescriptions allowed in limited circumstances
March 9, 2016

A new College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) standard entitled Prescribingcomes into effect this month. The prescribing standard, which replaces the CPSA Faxing Prescriptions standard, now applies to all forms of prescription transmission. Additional details are included as Advice to the Profession.

The CPSA standard is designed to allow electronic transmission of prescriptions in the future when approved or official secure system-to-system messaging between physician’s Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Netcare and/or Pharmacy systems become available. Until such systems are available, the standard allows prescriptions to be faxed directly from a physician’s password-protected EMR when all requirements of the standard are met. It is the responsibility of the physician to ensure that the system meets the requirements of the standard and that their password is kept private and secure. This is currently CPSA’s recommended electronic method of transmission of prescriptions. TPP prescriptions still require handwritten signature authorization on a TPP form (process is unchanged). Click here to learn more about the Triplicate Prescription Program.

The CPSA documents identify the required content of a prescription and emphasize security to prevent diversion and safeguard patients. The Advice to the Professionemphasizes the importance of collaboration between prescribers and dispensers and explicitly indicates that patients have a right to choose where to have their prescriptions filled. Consult the documents on the CPSA website and this week’s edition of CPSA’s Messenger for additional information.

  • You may accept prescriptions faxed directly to your pharmacy from the physician’s EMR. In the absence of a handwritten signature, the physician’s password access to their EMR may be considered the prescriber’s direct authorization. (i.e. meets the requirement for a signature in ACP’s standards)
  • The obligation for a pharmacist or a pharmacy technician to determine the authenticity of prescriptions [1] has not been removed. It is expected that you will assess authenticity of the prescription as you have done in the past for prescriptions faxed to your pharmacy. This may include such things as considering the origin, phone number, header etc. of the fax; your history and knowledge of the prescriber etc.
  • If you have any doubts or concerns about the authenticity of the prescription you should contact the prescriber for confirmation. If you are not familiar with the physician or you have not received prescriptions via this method in the past you may wish to contact the prescriber to confirm.

[1] Standard 6 – Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians

 

Additional Information

  • The CPSA standard only authorizes transmission of prescriptions directly from the physician’s EMR to the fax machine in the licensed pharmacy of the patient’s choice. Prescriptions must not be sent electronically via patients or other third parties. Images of prescriptions transmitted by patients to the pharmacy are not valid prescriptions.
  • Handwritten signatures are required for all prescriptions delivered to the pharmacy by patients.
  • The standard does not authorize transmission of prescriptions or sharing of patient specific information via email.
  • It is unlikely that any physicians-pharmacies have an on-line secure system-to-system messaging service that meets the requirements of the standard. Development of a provincial wide system for electronic transmission of prescriptions continues to be a consideration in Alberta. Until such a system is available, electronic transmission of prescriptions via any method other than directed fax from EMR must be closely scrutinized and may require privacy impact assessments at both the pharmacy and the physician’s office.   
Reminder: re-order more Take Home Naloxone (THN) kits as you dispense them
March 9, 2016

The purpose of the Take Home Naloxone (THN) Kit program is to disseminate kits to as many at risk individuals as possible. There is no need to limit or restrict access to THN kits if a patient has a valid prescription, regardless of whether or not they are a regular customer of the pharmacy.

Pharmacists are reminded that they can re-order more kitsas many times as they need to, in order to ensure patients are able to have their prescription filled for a THN kit. Pharmacies are advised that ample kits are available from McKesson and can be obtained through existing re-order processes, often resulting in next day and in some circumstances even same day delivery. Patients should not be charged for THN kits dispensed as part of the THN program. 

Currently over 400 pharmacies are registered to participate in the THN program. To register your pharmacy and learn more about the program, please visit the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA) website.

Council elections open March 15
March 9, 2016

Voting opens at 8 a.m. on March 15 for council positions for a pharmacist in District 3 (Edmonton). All voting will be online via ACP's website. Voting closes April 14 at 4:30 p.m. The elected member will serve a two year term (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018).

The candidates for District 3 (Edmonton) are:

  • Rick Hackman 
  • Mary Gunther

Congratulations to Stan Dyjur who was elected to council by acclamation in District 4 (Central Alberta).

Watch your inbox for a message from the candidates. To support the election process, ACP will send two emails on candidates’ behalf to voters in District 3. A biographical sketch of each candidate will be posted on the election site, so voters can learn about each candidate to make a more informed decision when casting their ballot

February 2016 Health Product InfoWatch now available
March 4, 2016

The February 2016 issue of Health Product InfoWatch, published by the Marketed Health Products Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, is available. This newsletter is a monthly publication providing safety information on pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and natural health products.

In this issue:

  • Monthly recap
  • New information:
    • Review article: Pseudoephedrine and ischemic colitis
    • Product confusion alert: Risk of eye injury with improper use of hydrogen peroxide-based contact lens solutions
    • Vaccine safety review: Report for April 1, 2015 to June 30, 2015​
    • Product monograph updates: Piperacillin/Tazobactam for Injection and Piperacillin for Injection
Hearing Notice: Adel Agina
February 26, 2016

Hearing Status              

Appeal Pending
Registrant  Adel Agina
Charge Unprofessional conduct
Date June 17, 2015
Time  9:30 a.m.
Location

Alberta College of Pharmacists
1100-8215 112 Street NW
Edmonton, AB

 

In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.
 
To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 orhearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre-registration is required.
 
Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.
 
Please direct media inquiries to Ashley Edwards Scott, Communications Coordinator at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca.
Apply by April 1 for ACP's third annual Leadership Forum
February 24, 2016

ACP has engaged the Banff Centre for Leadership to facilitate the third annual Leadership Forum. ACP invites applications from aspiring pharmacist and pharmacy technician leaders to participate in this professional development opportunity.

Council has identified strong leadership as a critical success factor in pharmacy practice, and for the work of the college. Leadership skills are important across our professions, whether it means being a practice leader, or an organizational leader. These skills are valuable in our family and community lives too.

The forum will introduce aspiring pharmacy leaders to thought processes and skills to help them lead in a world of constant change. Skilled facilitators will guide participants through group and individual learning activities to build new skills and confidence. The end learning will be applicable to any practice setting.

Event details
Dates: Wednesday evening May 11, 2016 to late afternoon Friday, May 13, 2016
Location: Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta

ACP will cover accommodation and meal costs for candidates selected to attend. Transportation and out-of-pocket expenses will be personal responsibilities.

How to apply
To apply, please submit:

  • A covering letter describing your leadership aspirations, particularly as they relate to your professional role and ACP; and
  • A copy of your CV, outlining your professional background, achievements, leadership experiences, and awards received.

This information will be the foundation for selecting candidates for the limited number of positions available.

Application deadline April 1
Please forward your application and supporting documentation to leslie.ainslie@pharmacists.ab.ca by noon on Friday, April 1, 2016. We will notify selected candidates prior to April 20, 2016.

Western Canada Addiction Forum: May 13-15, 2016
February 24, 2016
Registration is now open for the 3rd Annual Western Canada Addiction Forum, once again taking place at Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon, BC from May 13-15, 2016. Enjoy sessions from international leaders in addiction medicine and take part in a variety of networking opportunities. Visit wcaforum.ca to register and learn more.
FAQ: Is my learning activity valid for Continuing Education Units (CEUs)?
February 24, 2016

A number of pharmacy technicians and pharmacists have been contacting the college to confirm whether their learning activity is acceptable for CEUs. Essentially, any learning activity that is relevant to pharmacy practice may be claimed towards CEUs. When in doubt, we recommend that you refer to NAPRA’s Professional Competencies for Pharmacists or Pharmacy Technicians.

If your learning activity is related to one or more of the listed competencies, then you may claim CEUs for it by completing a Learning Record. On the Learning Record, you will need to identify whether the learning is accredited or non-accredited.

What is accredited learning?

Accredited learning includes any learning activity that has been accredited for pharmacists/pharmacy technicians by a recognized accrediting body. Accredited programs or learning activities have gone through a review process to ensure that it:

  • Has current, evidence-based, and unbiased content;
  • Is relevant to pharmacists/pharmacy technicians; and
  • Provides a quality learning experience.

The Alberta College of Pharmacists recognizes the following accrediting bodies:

  • The Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy (CCCEP), and
  • The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
    • Note: ACPE’s “0.1 CEU” is equivalent to “1 CEU” in the competence program

Where can I find accredited learning activities?

You may find accredited programs by visiting the CCCEP or ACPE websites. Alternatively, you may find potential accredited programs or events directly on the website of organizations that offer accredited programs, such as:

·         Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA)

·         Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA)

·         Pharmacy Technician Society of Alberta (PTSA)

·         Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP)

·         Canadian Healthcare Network

·         rxBriefCase

·         Pear Healthcare Solutions Inc.

·         Teva Pharmacy Solutions

·         Pharmacist’s Letter/Pharmacy Technician’s Letter

Do I have to complete a minimum number of accredited learning activities?

No, there is no minimum requirement for accredited CEUs. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians may complete any combination of accredited or non-accredited learning activities to a minimum of 15 continuing education units each CE cycle.

What is non-accredited learning?

Non-accredited learning includes any learning activity related to pharmacy practice that has NOT been accredited by CCCEP or ACPE or the accreditation has expired. Examples:

  • Online programs, courses (e.g., PharmD course), or presentations that have not gone through the accreditation process or the accreditation has expired
  • Structured learning activities accredited for another health professional (e.g., programs that have been accredited for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, physicians)
  • Informal, independent learning activities such as reading, research, or discussing practice issues with colleagues (e.g., journal club, in-services)

How do I determine the number of CEUs I can claim for a non-accredited activity?

One hour of non-accredited learning is equivalent to 1 CEU. You may claim to the nearest quarter of an hour for the time spent on a non-accredited learning activity. Since you may only claim up to 8 CEUs of non-accredited learning per Learning Record, you may need to document your learning on two or more Learning Records if your non-accredited activity is more than 8 hours.

Reminder to review ACP's guidance to the professions on physician-assisted death
February 24, 2016

Between February 6, 2016 and June 6, 2016, in the absence of federal or provincial legislation, the Supreme Court has permitted individuals seeking physician assistance, to apply to the courts for authorization to proceed with physician-assisted death. During this period individuals in Alberta who receive authorization from the Court of Queen’s Bench may proceed with physician-assisted death.

ACP reminds pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to observe the following guidance as a preventative measure to mitigate personal risk:

DO NOT process a prescription for release to a physician for physician-assisted death before receiving a copy of a court order authorizing it.

DO NOT provide advice to any patients or families about physician-assisted death. Rather, refer the individuals to their physician; and if they do not have a physician, to Health Link (call 811).

You are urged to review ACP’s Preliminary and Supplementary Guidance to the Professions on Physician-assisted death and are encouraged to have a discussion about this with your pharmacy team. The guidance documents are available in the Tools and Guidelines section of ACP’s website. Additional information on physician-assisted death can be found on AHS’s website.

Protocols and a standardized prescription form are being finalized and will be available on ACP’s secured member portal. Watch closely for more information coming to you soon.
Reminder - Nurse Practitioners have the ability to prescribe controlled drugs and substances
February 24, 2016

Back in February of 2014, the College and Association of Registered Nurses in Alberta (CARNA) authorized nurse practitioners (NP) to prescribe controlled drugs and substances. The nurse practitioner prescriber list on ACP’s website is a great resource for confirming the NPs who have this authorization. ACP receives an updated list from CARNA weekly, which is posted to the prescriber list section of our website. As with other prescriber lists, you are required to log in to access it.

What is the authorization process for NPs?

To be authorized to prescribe controlled drugs and substances, Alberta NPs must:

  1. Complete a prescribing course recognized by CARNA; and
Complete the CARNA controlled drugs and substances jurisprudence module.
Canadian Association of Pharmacy in Oncology (CAPhO) Conference 2016
February 10, 2016

CAPhO 2016, presented by the Canadian Association of Pharmacy in Oncology (CAPhO), will take place April 14 – 17, 2016 at the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The theme of CAPhO 2016 - Can We Talk? - brings to light our communication styles in the new age of personalized medicine and technological advancement.

Research has found that effective communication improves treatment outcomes. During the conference, CAPhO will present current practices as well as showcase new ways of interacting with patients, peers and other healthcare professionals in a more standardized and meaningful way. 

For more information about CAPhO 2016 visit www.capho.org/conference

Pharmacy technicians: start with the CCP tutorial
February 10, 2016

Pharmacy technicians: have you accessed the CCP portal yet? If not, a good place to start is the CCP tutorial, available in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal. This tutorial provides an in-depth look at the program and helps you become familiar with its requirements.

The tutorial, along with all other program materials, is available in the CCP portal and can be accessed using your ACP registration number and password.

Influenza Immunization Program - update from Alberta Health
February 10, 2016

A message from Alberta Health:

Pharmacists immunized just over 465,000 Albertans during the 2015-2016 Influenza Immunization Program. Thank you for your participation!

Next Steps:

The 2015-2016 Influenza Immunization Program ends on March 31, 2016.

  • All influenza vaccine (FluMist®, Influvac®, Fluad® and Fluviral®) must be removed from cold chain storage for appropriate destruction by your pharmacy’s standard of practice (Standard 5.13 of the Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies) on April 1, 2016.
  • All expired FluMist® must be removed from cold chain storage for appropriate destruction by your pharmacy (some FluMist® expired February 4, 2016)
  • Do not return publicly funded influenza vaccine to pharmacy wholesalers as they will not be accepting such returns.
  • You are responsible for the proper destruction of unused/expired vaccine. The cost for destruction will not be reimbursed.
  • Alberta Health will be reconciling doses distributed and doses billed factoring in vaccine waste. This information will be considered in setting program minimum and maximum ordering thresholds for the 2016-2017 influenza season.

Communications for the 2016/2017 influenza season will occur in summer 2016. We look forward to continuing our partnership in the 2016-2017 influenza season. The goal for 2016-2017 is to immunize 35% of Albertans. Your assistance will help us reach this goal.

If you have any questions, please contact health.imm@gov.ab.ca
Reminder - council nominations now open
February 10, 2016

Interested in being an ACP council member? ACP will hold council elections for two pharmacist positions this spring in District 3 (Edmonton) and District 4 (Central Alberta).

Nominations are now open! Nominations must be received by the registrar by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, February 29, 2016.

Who can be a candidate?

You are an ideal candidate if you:

  • are motivated to advance public safety;
  • want a hands-on role in advancing pharmacy practice in Alberta;
  • model safe, effective, responsible pharmacy practice;
  • have demonstrated leadership skills; and 
  • are able to commit about 15 days per year over a three-year term.

Successful candidates will join 10 other individuals including elected pharmacists (5), pharmacy technicians (2) and members of the public appointed by the Minister (3) to form the council. Council members provide leadership through compliance with the following Code of Conduct when fulfilling their responsibilities.

Council responsibilities

Councillor code of conduct

 

Nomination Lists (eligible registrants)

District 3 (Edmonton)

District 4 (Central Alberta)


Nomination Resources

Nomination information letter

Nomination form

ACP bylaws (election process covered in points 17 to 27)

Pharmacists: less than 4 months to complete your professional portfolios!
February 10, 2016

The May 31st deadline may seem far away now, but your professional portfolios will be due sooner than you think!

If you’ve already been working on your professional portfolio we encourage you to keep the momentum going. If you haven’t started yet, now is a good time to take the first step. Wherever you are in the process the Competence Team is here to support you along the way.

In order to renew your practice permit, you must complete the following Continuing Competence Program (CCP) requirements by May 31, 2016:

  1. Complete the Jurisprudence Self-Assessment - available in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal
  2. Complete learning activities – Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle (June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016) and document each activity on a Learning Record
  3. Put your learning to use – Implement a minimum of one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an Implementation Record (you only need to complete one record)

As part of the Continuing Competence Program, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are asked to state and achieve an implementation objective. An implementation objective is where you describe how you will apply your learning to practice. This is different from a learning objective, where you describe what you will learn. To assist you with writing an implementation objective, please review the How to Write SMART Objectives tool in the Competence section of the ACP website.

Access all program materials in the CCP portal. For more information on the program, please refer to CCP requirements and/or contact a member of the Competence Team.
Physician-Assisted Death - ACP's Supplemental Guidance to the Professions
February 10, 2016

In the January 27, 2016 issue of The Link, ACP provided preliminary guidance to the professions about practice considerations related to physician-assisted death.

In this issue of The Link, ACP is providing Supplemental Guidance on physician-assisted death to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians with further direction on how to comply with ACP’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice in context with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Carter v. Canada. This guidance document supplements ACP’s initial advice sent to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians and should be read hand-in-hand. To the extent possible, ACP’s goal is to guide practice in a manner that may mitigate risks when responding to a physician’s prescription for physician-assisted death.

As of February 6, 2016 in the absence of federal or provincial legislation, the Supreme Court is permitting individuals seeking physician-assisted death to apply to the courts for authorization to proceed with physician-assisted death. During the extension period granted by the Supreme Court (February 6 - June 6, 2016) individuals in Alberta who receive authorization from the Court of Queen’s Bench may proceed with physician-assisted death.

The college will be providing further guidance to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians over the next two weeks. Should you receive a prescription from a physician for physician-assisted death prior to February 25, 2016, please contact ACP at PAD-advice@pharmacists.ab.ca. Please note this email is intended for questions from pharmacists and pharmacy technicians only.

Protocols and a standardized prescription form are being finalized and will be available on ACP’s secured member portal. Watch closely for more information coming to you soon.

Supplemental Guidance to the Professions - February 10 2016.pdf

January 2016 Health Product InfoWatch now available
January 28, 2016

The January 2016 issue of Health Product InfoWatch, published by the Marketed Health Products Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, is now available. This newsletter is a monthly publication providing safety information on pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and natural health products.

In this issue:

 
    Council elections - call for nominations
    January 27, 2016

    ACP will hold council elections for two pharmacist positions this spring:

    • District 3 (Edmonton)
    • District 4 (Central Alberta)

    Nominations open on January 29, 2016. Nominations must be received by the registrar by 4:30 p.m. on February 29, 2016.

     

    Who can be a candidate?

    You are an ideal candidate if you:

    • are motivated to advance public safety;
    • want a hands-on role in advancing pharmacy practice in Alberta;
    • model safe, effective, responsible pharmacy practice;
    • have demonstrated leadership skills; and 
    • are able to commit about 15 days per year over a three-year term.

    Successful candidates will join 10 other individuals including elected pharmacists (5), pharmacy technicians (2), and members of the public appointed by the Minister (3) to form the council. Council members provide leadership through compliance with the following Code of Conduct when fulfilling their responsibilities.

    Council responsibilities

    Councillor code of conduct
     

    Nomination Lists (eligible registrants)

    District 3 (Edmonton)

    District 4 (Central Alberta)
     

    Nomination Resources

    Nomination information letter

    Nomination form

    ACP bylaws (election process covered in points 17 to 27)

    Take Home Naloxone (THN) program now live
    January 27, 2016

    The Take Home Naloxone (THN) program for Albertans is now live. On January 20, 2016, the Alberta Blue Cross Benefact #575 was sent to pharmacies across Alberta with details on how to participate in the THN program. Pharmacists can access the 30-minute, accredited training program on the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA) website.

    Pharmacists are expected to complete the training program prior to dispensing Naloxone kits. Upon completion of training pharmacists will be required to register with AHS and will only then be able to order kits from McKesson.

    Naloxone is currently only available by prescription to those at risk of opioid overdose. Pharmacists are reminded that Naloxone is a Schedule 1 drug, which means it can only be dispensed pursuant to a prescription. Third party prescribing is not permitted. Friends and family members of those who use opioids are encouraged to take part in the THN training however they cannot receive a prescription for a THN kit.

    For questions about the THN program, please contact RxA or Alberta Health Services (AHS). For questions relating to standards of practice, please contact ACP.

    General information about Naloxone, opioids (including fentanyl), overdose, signs and symptoms, and more is available on the AHS website at www.drugsfool.ca.
    Physician-assisted death (PAD) - what you need to know
    January 27, 2016

    Effective February 6, 2016, all provinces and territories must ensure access to physician-assisted death (PAD). While the Supreme Court has provided a four month extension (June 6, 2016) to develop legislation, it has provided for individuals to apply to the courts to access PAD in advance. In the absence of federal and provincial legislation, ACP is providing guidance to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians about complying with ACP’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice in a manner that is consistent with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Carter v. Canada. To the extent possible, our goal is to guide practice in a manner that may mitigate risks faced by our professions when providing supporting services for PAD.

    ACP has engaged with the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, Alberta Health, and Alberta Health Services to address how PAD will be implemented in Alberta and what is required of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. A working group continues to address protocols, processes, accessibility to drugs, procedural safeguards and the integration of AHS and community-based services.

    Please click on the link below for preliminary guidance about practice considerations related to PAD, in the absence of federal and provincial legislation. It is important that you continually monitor information from ACP about PAD, as the guidance provided in this document is based on facts known only on the date of publishing. Any development in policies, legislation and regulations may impact this guidance, and will be communicated to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians as it unfolds.

    You are encouraged to engage with your colleagues and teams and discuss PAD. You should be considering personal decisions about this critical social policy, what that means to you in your patients and your practice; and, the role you may play.

    Physician-Assisted Death - ACP Guidance to the Professions.pdf

    Tool for monitoring the safety of antipsychotic use in adults
    January 27, 2016

    Antipsychotics can play a key role in the treatment of mental health disorders. Early identification of side effects from antipsychotics may not only help to improve adherence, but may improve long term health outcomes as well. 

    AHS has developed an Antipsychotics Monitoring Record to help clinicians monitor side effects. This guidance document is designed for adults who are taking antipsychotics and can also be used as a patient engagement tool to help identify needs and formulate care plans. Clinicians are encouraged to consider the recommendations in the context of their patient’s specific clinical situation. This document is not intended to reflect a complete list of appropriate monitoring, but provides many examples of information that may be helpful to consider for patients taking antipsychotics.

    If you have questions about completing the record, a list of FAQs is available on the AHS website. You will also find a list of additional tools that may be helpful in monitoring antipsychotic use in adults.

    Article submitted by Margaret Agnew, Director, Zone Integration, Clinical Standards, Provincial Addiction and Mental Health; Rekha Jabbal, Pharmacy Clinical Practice Leader, Pharmacy Services; and Heather Scarlett-Ferguson, Manager, Knowledge Exchange Provincial Addiction and Mental Health

    PEBC assessors needed
    January 27, 2016

    PEBC invites interested pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to apply as assessors. Exams will be held on the following dates:

    • Pharmacy Technician PEBC Qualifying Examination – Part II (OSPE) - Saturday, April 2, 2016 in Edmonton
       
    • Pharmacist PEBC Qualifying Examination – Part II (OSCE)  - Sunday, May 29, 2016 in Edmonton & Calgary
    Please refer to the PEBC Assessor Application Form for further eligibility and application details.
    ACP employees share their Change Day pledges!
    January 27, 2016

    ACP employees kicked off the New Year by making personal pledges for change through Change Day Alberta - an exciting social movement centered on the idea that one act can lead to improvement in care for patients, clients, residents, families, and the health system.

    Change Day allows every Albertan, whether they work in healthcare or not, to share their ideas freely and contribute to an improved health system. Pledges are divided into three main categories: My Health, Caring for Others, and Start Something New.

    To make a pledge of your own, visit the Change Day Alberta website. Don’t forget to share your pledge on social media using the official Change Day hashtag #ChangeDayAB. 

     

    Pharmacy technician scope of practice poster
    January 27, 2016
    Want to learn more about the role of pharmacy technicians in pharmacy practice? In partnership with ACP and RxA, the Pharmacy Technician Society of Alberta (PTSA) has developed a quick reference poster that outlines the scope of practice for Alberta pharmacy technicians. A printable PDF of the poster can be viewed here.
    Reminder to RSVP for ACP regional meetings
    January 27, 2016

    ACP is receiving a great response to its regional meetings invitation. If you have not sent your RSVP and are still interested in joining us please click here for a list of locations, dates, and to RSVP.

    The sessions will be facilitated by ACP Council President Rick Hackman and Registrar Greg Eberhart, and will take place from 7:00 - 9:30 pm.

    Calgary Regional Meeting Update:

    Due to an overwhelming number of individuals wanting to participate, we booked a larger room at the Sheraton Cavalier in Calgary to accommodate the number pharmacists and pharmacy technicians wanting to attend the Calgary meeting. The meeting will now take place in the McKnight Ballroom at the Sheraton.

    Announcing the 2016 APEX Awards recipients
    January 21, 2016


    The Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA) and the Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) are proud to announce this year’s APEX Awards recipients. These individuals champion excellence in their practice and provide exceptional patient care to Albertans. We applaud their efforts in advancing the pharmacy profession and are excited to celebrate them! 

    Your 2016 APEX Awards recipients are...

    Award of Excellence

    Serena Rix
    Pharmacist, Grey Nuns Community Hospital, Edmonton

    Friend of Pharmacy

    Dr. Sadia Shakil
    Physician, Horizon Family Practice, Edmonton

    W.L. Boddy Pharmacy Team

    Melissa Dechaine, Tara Grimstead, Lisa Tate, Lindsay Torok-Both and Andrea Pickett
    St. Albert and Sturgeon Primary Care Network, St. Albert

    M.J. Huston Pharmacist of Distinction

    Val Langevin
    Pharmacist, Shopper's Drug Mart, Sylvan Lake

    Future of Pharmacy

    • Taryn Heck, Clinical Pharmacist, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, Edmonton
    • Ashten Langevin, Pharmacist, Foothills Medical Centre Inpatient Pharmacy, Calgary
    • Robert (Graham) Anderson, Owner/Pharmacist, Sherwood Dispensaries and Homecare, Sherwood Park

    Watch for full profiles of all recipients in upcoming editions of The CapsuleRxPress, and aφnews. 

    For more information on the awards and categories, please visit our APEX Awards section. 

    Mantoux Testing Q&A
    January 13, 2016

    Question: Can pharmacists with authorization to administer injections perform Mantoux tuberculin skin tests? 

    Answer: No, ACP does not support pharmacists administering Mantoux tests. The authorization for injections in the section 16(5) of Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Profession Regulation indicates that pharmacists with authorization may administer injections “within the scope of practice of pharmacists.” The Mantoux intradermal tuberculin skin test is not drug therapy. Rather it is a diagnostic procedure that requires interpretation and follow up that is outside the scope of practice of a pharmacist.
    PharmD for Practicing Pharmacists - now accepting full-time applications!
    January 13, 2016

    The University of Alberta is accepting applications for the full-time PharmD for Practicing Pharmacists Program starting this September. The application deadline is February 1, 2016. 

    The Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) academic credential is an undergraduate, professional doctorate. Unlike the PhD that focuses on research, the undergraduate PharmD is a clinical doctorate degree. The University of Alberta's PharmD for Practicing Pharmacists program is a post-professional (post-Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy) degree program recognizing advanced education in patient care.

    Upon completion of the PharmD for Practicing Pharmacists program, graduates will be prepared to:

    • Become strong practitioners and lead the profession by engaging in full scope of practice
    • Advance their career through innovative practices
    • Demonstrate a competitive advantage when applying for unique and interesting positions
    • Develop the skills and knowledge to provide enhanced patient care
    • Utilize evidence-based information and clinical judgement to inform decisions
    • Contribute to collaborative decision-making for patients with complex pharmacotherapy
    • Develop strategies for continued learning throughout their careers
    • Provide education for a variety of audiences including patients and professionals

    To learn more, visit the University of Alberta Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences website.  

    Save the date - Regional Meetings tour with ACP
    January 13, 2016

    All pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are invited to join the Alberta College of Pharmacists for an evening of robust discussion surrounding the role of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in an evolving landscape of patient care. Our commitment to these outreach opportunities will allow us to connect with you, share and discuss issues related to pharmacy practice, and through dialogue, gain an understanding of the issues affecting you locally.

    A formal email invitation will be sent to you within the next week; however for planning purposes, please find a list of dates, times and locations that we will be visiting, allowing you an opportunity to put a placeholder in your calendar.

    All sessions take place from 7:00 – 9:30 p.m.

    Date

    City

    Venue

    9-Feb

    Killam

    Killam Agriplex

    10-Feb

    Red Deer

    Red Deer Sheraton

    11-Feb

    Edmonton

    Chateau Louis Conference Centre

    17-Feb

    Medicine Hat

    Medicine Hat Lodge

    18-Feb

    Lethbridge

    The Coast Lethbridge

    25-Feb

    Calgary

    Sheraton Cavalier

    1-Mar

    Grande Prairie

    Pomeroy Hotel & Conf. Centre

         

    2-Mar

    Vermillion

    Lakeland College-Vermillion Campus

    The sessions will be facilitated by ACP Council President Rick Hackman and Registrar Greg Eberhart. Where possible, our Practice Consultants, Senior Leaders and Council members will be joining us.

    At a glance, we will be inviting discussion about:

    • some of the results returned in our 2015 Pharmacist survey;
    • specialties in pharmacy practice; and
    • the inter-relationship between ACP's Standards of Practice and developing patient care plans. 

    Please note: pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can claim participation at Regional Meetings as non-accredited learning.

    Look for your invitation coming to you very soon!

    NAPRA Model Standards for Pharmacy Compounding of Non-hazardous Sterile Preparations - now available
    January 13, 2016

    The National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) has approved the final version of standards for compounding non-hazardous sterile preparations.

    The new national standards were adapted from standards originally developed by the Ordre des pharmaciens du Quebec. Quebec based their standards on the General Chapter <797> of the United States Pharmacopeia – National Formulary (USP–NF) that been in effect in the United States since 2004.

    The process to develop national standards was led by NAPRA's ad hoc Committee on Pharmacy Compounding; and involved extensive consultation with experts and stakeholders across Canada. Concurrently, ACP also consulted with registrants and stakeholders; and feedback received contributed to shaping the new standards.

    Based on a previous version of the document, ACP council has approved these standards in principle. Council will consider these standards for final approval at their June 2016 meeting. At that time, council will also determine an appropriate schedule for implementation of the standards.

    In the near future, ACP’s Professional Practice Consultants (PPCs) will be scheduling visits to pharmacies where sterile products are prepared. The purpose of these visits is:

    • to ensure those who prepare sterile products are aware of the standards;
    • to assist licensees in assessing their compliance with the standards; and
    • to collect information that will assist council in determining an appropriate implementation schedule.

    If you are involved in compounding sterile products, please become familiar with the NAPRA standards.

    Pharmacy Technicians: Check out your new Continuing Competence Program (CCP)
    January 13, 2016

    The Continuing Competence Program for pharmacy technicians is now available! All program materials are available in the CCP portal and can be accessed using your ACP registration number and password. Pharmacy technicians have until November 30, 2016 to complete the program requirements, including:

    1. Prescribed activities:
    2. Continuing Competence Program (CCP) tutorial
    3. Jurisprudence Self-Assessment
    4. Learning activities – Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle (December 1, 2015 to November 30, 2016) and document each activity on a Learning Record
       
    5. Implementation of learning – Implement a minimum of one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an Implementation Record (you only need to complete one record)

    To help you become familiar with the competence program requirements, we have developed a CCP tutorial that provides an in-depth look at the program. We recommend completing the tutorial first, available in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal.

    Pilot program participant feedback:

    • “The program is focused on helping pharmacy technicians improve their practice by developing professionally. The portal is easy to use and contains all the information needed to achieve the program's objectives.”
    • “I am very happy to see all of the tools and resources available to assist Technicians with their portfolios each year. It seems to me that any question I could come up with has an explanation or answer.”
    • “After completing [the tutorial], I feel confident in my ability to accurately complete each learning and implementation record.”
    New HQCA website targets the issue of abbreviation use in healthcare
    January 13, 2016

    The Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) recently launched a new website, abbreviations.hqca.ca, specifically targeting the use of abbreviations in healthcare. Abbreviation use is a risk to patient safety – abbreviations and acronyms can mean different things to different people or can be misread, potentially resulting in patient harm.

    The new website identifies why abbreviations are a problem and provides resources to make changes at the team and organization level. It provides a practical step-by-step guide for implementing an abbreviation initiative and includes case studies and downloadable resources that will help reduce abbreviation use in many different care settings.
    Visually confirm prescriptions with patients
    January 13, 2016

    Recently, ACP has heard concerns about patients receiving a different version of their regular medication. In some cases, this is due to a change in the manufacturer of the medication. In others, it is a change from the brand name medication to the generic version; or from one generic version to another.

    Although Schedule 19 of the Health Professions Act gives pharmacists the authority to substitute a brand name medication for a generic version, Standard 8 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians indicates that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should clearly identify the medication that is being dispensed or sold to the patient (including noting any changes in the manufacturer), so the patient can decide if they want that particular version of their medication. A good practice is to show the medication to the patient before placing it in the bag.

    As a refresher, check out ACP’s YouTube video and refer to the excerpt below from the Standards of Practice. 

    December 2015 Health Product InfoWatch now available
    December 22, 2015

    The December 2015 issue of Health Product InfoWatch (formerly Canadian Adverse Reaction Newsletter), published by the Marketed Health Products Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, is now available. This newsletter is a monthly publication providing safety information on pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and natural health products.

    In this issue:

    Pharmacy reimbursement under Interim Federal Health Program
    December 16, 2015

    The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) is a program funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that provides limited, temporary, taxpayer-funded coverage of health care benefits to people, including protected persons, refugee claimants, rejected refugee claimants and other specified groups. RxA will communicate information in their upcoming issue of the Capsule about the Interim Federal Health Program to help you understand how pharmacies are reimbursed directly for covered services rendered to eligible clients. Information is also available at the following links:

    Interim Federal Health Program - Information for health care providers

    Information Handbook for Health Care Professionals
    Pharmacists, have you started your 2015/2016 Continuing Competence Program portfolio yet?
    December 16, 2015

    Only five months left before your 2015/2016 professional portfolios are due! All pharmacists who are renewing their practice permits are required to complete the Continuing Competence Program (CCP) requirements by May 31, 2016.

    Tip from CCP assessor: “Start early, set goals/objectives [early in the year] and continually work on your portfolio over several months vs. 1-2 weeks before it’s due.”

    Progress check:
    1. Have you completed the prescribed Jurisprudence Self-Assessment tool?
    2. Have you participated in learning activities?
    3. Have you started documenting your Learning and Implementation Records?

    If not, now is a good time to log in to the CCP portal and get started! The earlier you start, the more you will benefit from the CCP experience. For more information, please refer to CCP requirements and/or contact a member of the competence department. We’re here to help!

    Help your patients stay healthy during the holidays - encourage influenza immunization
    December 16, 2015

    Influenza has begun to spread across Alberta, and, as the holiday season approaches, all Albertans six months and older are encouraged to get immunized as soon as possible. Alberta Health Services reports that while many Albertans have already chosen to get the flu vaccine, immunization rates in our province are lower than at this time last year.

    Pharmacists have the opportunity to play a key role in communicating the importance of immunization and encouraging patients to get immunized. While it can affect Albertans of all ages, including healthy adults, it is especially serious for seniors, infants, pregnant women, and those with chronic medical conditions. Getting the flu vaccine is the best way for Albertans to protect themselves, their families, friends, and coworkers.

    Patients should be encouraged to get immunized well in advance of holiday plans or winter vacations, as it can take up to two weeks to be fully protected after receiving the vaccine. Albertans nine years of age and older can be immunized at pharmacies. Patients with children under nine years of age can be directed to www.ahs.ca/influenza for flu clinic hours and schedules. 
    Understanding the prescriber lists
    December 2, 2015

    Scenario: You receive a prescription from a nurse practitioner (NP) for a controlled drug or substance. You look up the NP on the nurse prescriber list on ACP’s website, and notice that her restriction from prescribing controlled drugs and substances is still in place.

    Answer: Before you refuse a fill, contact the College & Association of Registered Nurses (CARNA) to confirm the registrant’s prescribing status.

    Why contact another college?
    The prescriber lists on the ACP website are not updated in real-time. We rely on other colleges to provide us with their registrant data for these lists. They provide the lists to us, and ACP registrants, as a courtesy.

    Most colleges provide updates regularly. However, gaps can occur, usually due to vacation or staffing changes. Therefore, you should always regard the other colleges as the root source of information when it comes to their registrants’ prescribing authority.

    The following colleges provide ACP with prescriber list updates:

    The following colleges provide all or some prescriber data on their websites:

    The Alberta Dental Association + College does not provide prescriber data online—please contact them directly with questions about dentist prescribers.

    Patient safety courses offered by the Health Quality Council of Alberta and the University of Calgary in 2016
    December 2, 2015

    Looking for additional Continuing Education Units (CEUs)?

    The Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA), in partnership with the University of Calgary, will offer two patient safety courses in early 2016, “Introductory Investigating & Managing Patient Safety Events” and “Advanced Investigating & Managing Patient Safety Events.” Completion of both courses will earn participants a Certificate in Investigating and Managing Patient Safety Events from the University of Calgary’s Office of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development. 

    Introductory Investigating & Managing Patient Safety Events           
    February 3 - 5, 2016
    Foothills Hospital Campus, University of Calgary                                                                           

    Advanced Investigating & Managing Patient Safety Events
    March 9 - 11, 2016 
    Foothills Hospital Campus, University of Calgary                                           

    Registration for both courses is now open and space is limited!

    To register and learn more, visit www.patientsafetymanagement.ca

    Alberta pharmacist wins national award for her life-changing patient care efforts
    December 2, 2015
    Melissa Hozack recognized with ‘Commitment to Care & Service Award for Health Promotion’

    About 300 people in Redcliff, Alberta shed a collective 7,000 pounds over the past two years thanks to a comprehensive weight loss program provided by Melissa Hozack, clinical pharmacist and co-owner of the town’s Pharmasave. But such impressive weight loss isn’t the only measure of the pharmacy program’s success. Melissa also demonstrated a range of positive clinical results such as improved blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels; and even the elimination of some prescription medications, and improvements in mental health and self-esteem.

    The initiative started in 2013 when Melissa herself struggled to lose extra pounds following the birth of her third child. After researching various weight loss strategies, she decided to transform her pharmacy practice and offer patients a weight loss method that targets the physical and mental health aspects of obesity. Melissa’s approach takes advantage of pharmacists’ scope of practice and reimbursement under the Alberta Pharmacy Services Framework.

    Melissa’s personal participation in the weight loss program –– she lost 100 pounds over seven months –– helped engage patients and boost her program’s reputation for success. “With Melissa’s help, I feel like a totally different person and I cannot thank her enough for having the foresight to find a protocol to help so many of us struggling with weight and blood sugar issues,” comments one of Melissa’s patients. “It is great that she went on the protocol herself and lost weight too, as she knows the struggles we all face.”

    “The leadership shown by Melissa is an inspiration to other pharmacists and physicians within the community,” says Melissa’s nominator for the award. “Her leadership has elevated the quality of care delivered by all health professionals in the community and advanced the quality of care in pharmacy practice in Redcliff.”

    To learn more about the Commitment to Care and Service Awards, visit: http://www.canadianhealthcarenetwork.ca/commitmenttocare 

    November 2015 Health Product InfoWatch now available
    November 26, 2015

    The November 2015 issue of Health Product InfoWatch (formerly Canadian Adverse Reaction Newsletter), published by the Marketed Health Products Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, is now available. This newsletter is a monthly publication providing safety information on pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and natural health products.

    In this issue:

    • Case report: International case of respiratory depression in a child with ultrarapid CYP2D6 metabolism after tramadol use
    • Product confusion alert: Health product name confusion: Bio-K Plus and Bio K 20 Potassium
    • Vaccine safety review: Report for January 1, 2015 to March 31, 2015
    • Product monograph and medical device instructions for use updates:  Hormonal and non-hormonal intrauterine systems/devices 
    Pharmacy students compete to raise money for Movember at Mr. Pharmacy 2015
    November 18, 2015

    The Alberta Pharmacy Students' Association invites you to join them on Saturday, November 28th for their annual mock male beauty pageant in support of Movember Canada. Eight bold pharmacy students will showcase their talents and compete for the coveted title of Mr. Pharmacy.

    According to Aliaksandr Savin, second-year pharmacy student and event organizer, one of the goals behind Mr. Pharmacy is “to highlight the important impact pharmacists can make in promoting health advocacy and awareness.”

    “Mr. Pharmacy is not only about raising money during Movember,” says Savin. “It’s also a great opportunity to raise awareness for men’s health and showcase the vital role pharmacists play in the health-care system and patient care.”

    Now in its sixth year, Mr. Pharmacy is an opportunity for pharmacy students, alumni and faculty to come together in a fun evening for an important cause. And it’s not just an APSA event; Savin says all U of A students and the public are welcome.

    “It’s a great opportunity to showcase our profession in a fun way, and we hope students from across campus will support the event,” says Savin. “Participants will need to be creative, but also draw from what they’ve learned in class to demonstrate their professionalism and empathy.”

    In the past five years, pharmacy students have raised over $50,000. This year’s goal is set at $20,000.

    The event takes place at the Myer Horowitz Theatre in the Students’ Union Building on Saturday November 28, starting at 6:00 pm. All proceeds from the event go to support Movember Canada.

    Watch the promotional videopurchase tickets, and learn more about Mr. Pharmacy 2015!

    Pharmacy Technicians: online renewal available until midnight on November 30
    November 18, 2015

    Online Renewal Preparation Checklist:

    Pharmacy technician applications for annual permit renewal (2016) must include:

    • A valid email address
    • Declaration of compliance with professional liability insurance coverage
    • Declaration of holding a minimum of one million dollar claims-made or occurrence-based professional liability insurance policy that is personal and transportable to any place of practice in Alberta, and provides coverage for the time period being renewed (January 1 to December 31, 2016)
    • The required fee payment

    Associate, Cancelled or Retired Pharmacy Technician statuses are inactive statuses. If you choose any one of these, you cannot practice as a pharmacy technician.

    A non-compliance fee of $85.05 ($81.00 plus $4.05 GST) will be assessed to any pharmacy technician whose annual permit renewal remains outstanding after November 30 and up to December 31, 2015. This fee is in addition to the annual permit fee for pharmacy technicians.

    The annual permits of pharmacy technicians who do not complete renewal requirements prior to January 1, 2016, will be cancelled. Candidates whose permit is cancelled will be required to pay a reinstatement fee of $277.20 ($264.00 plus $13.20 GST) in addition to the annual permit fee before regaining their status as a pharmacy technician.

    Tips for 2016 Online Renewal

    When accessing your online renewal, proceed through the tabs in the order presented (i.e., you cannot go from tab one to tab three). When you have finished reviewing the information on each tab, select “next” to proceed. You can move back if you wish to review your information, providing that you have not submitted your renewal (submission occurs under the “declarations” tab).

    Tab 1:  Welcome
    Provides some tips on completing your online renewal. Throughout the online renewal process, you will find “edit” buttons that will provide information specific to the section you are reviewing.

    Tab 2:  Profile
    Review your demographic information, email address, consent choices, places of employment, etc. Make changes if required. Note: online renewal cannot be completed without a valid email address. Allow 2 business days for address changes to be processed by ACP. Some changes cannot be performed online; you must contact ACP if changes are required (e.g., name changes, employment changes). If a change can be made online, you will see an “edit” button for that section.

    Tab 3: Confirmation
    Our online renewal includes a feature that allows pharmacy technicians to change their status to associate, retired, or cancelled technician. Please confirm the status of your permit that you wish to be effective January 1, 2016.

    If you wish to change to a non-active status [associate technician, cancelled technician, or retired technician (must be 55 years of age or older)], or if you're an associate technician wishing to change to cancelled or retired technician, you can complete this status change online under this tab. Note that associate, cancelled or retired technicians do not receive a receipt or practice permit.

    If you wish to reinstate from a non-active status to a pharmacy technician status, you must contact ACP at statuschange@pharmacists.ab.ca to determine the requirements for your reinstatement.

    Tab 4:  Statistics – Not required for Pharmacy Technicians

    Tab 5:  Declarations
    If you are renewing as a Pharmacy Technician (2016), you will need to complete the following professional declarations:

    • declaration of the status you are renewing to (i.e. Pharmacy Technician (2016);
    • declaration of compliance with professional liability insurance coverage requirements.

    If you are renewing as an Associate Technician (2016), you will need to complete one (1) declaration:

    • declaration of the status you are renewing to (i.e. Associate Technician (2016).

    Submission of Renewal

    When you have reviewed and are satisfied that the information is complete and correct, you must submit your renewal. Once your renewal has been submitted you cannot review or change any of the information provided.

    Tab 6:  Payment
    Payment can be made online by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) or via mail by cheque. Select your preferred method of payment and fill in the appropriate information. If payment is being made by cheque, record your registration number on the bottom right hand corner of your cheque and ensure it is mailed in sufficient time to reach the ACP office before November 30, 2015.

    If your employer is paying your fees, select the cheque payment option, print your payment page and submit this form to your employer. You will receive an official receipt and practice permit (if applicable) from ACP.

    Think one idea can make a difference? Join the Change Day movement!
    November 18, 2015

    Leading up to April 4, 2016, Change Day Alberta is asking Albertans to make a pledge and act on their ideas for change. Change Day is a social movement centered on the idea that one act can lead to improvement in care for patients, clients, residents, families, and the system. Pledges are divided into three main categories: My Health, Caring for Others, and Start Something New. Pledging is simple and anyone can participate.

    Along with industry partners such as Alberta Health Services and the University of Alberta, ACP is a proud sponsor and supporter of Change Day Alberta. We encourage you to join the campaign by making a pledge for change at http://changedayab.ca/. Your pledge can be personal or professional – it’s entirely up to you!

    Check out the Change Day Alberta video and visit the website to learn more.
    Pharmacists: watch for abbreviations and always assess for appropriateness
    November 18, 2015

    Recently, a patient at an Edmonton hospital was discharged with a new prescription for Lantus insulin, 8 units, to be injected subcutaneous every morning. The patient’s medication profile was used for the discharge prescription, which contained a handwritten, unacceptable abbreviation for units (incorrectly written as “U”). The prescription was then faxed to a community pharmacy. The community pharmacy filled the prescription as 80 units rather than 8 units, which resulted in the patient receiving ten times the prescribed dose of insulin. The community pharmacist mistakenly interpreted the notation “8U” as “80”.

    U is an unacceptable abbreviation that should not be used. The standard terminology is to write out the word “units” to avoid this type of error. A listing of dangerous abbreviations like this one can be found at the ISMP website: https://www.ismp-canada.org/download/ISMPCanadaListOfDangerousAbbreviations.pdf 

    Another area of concern is that 80 units of insulin is not a routine dose. Had the community pharmacist questioned this unusually high dose more closely, this error may not have occurred.

    Pharmacists are reminded about their responsibilities to always assess the appropriateness of prescriptions they dispense, even when the prescription’s source is a hospital. When potential drug related problems are identified, pharmacists must take steps to investigate and resolve these problems. These steps can include collaborating with the prescriber and chatting with the patient.

    Safeguarding patient information when using delivery services
    November 18, 2015

    We recently received a concern where a pharmacy’s use of delivery services resulted in the inadvertent disclosure of patient health information.

    In this case, the medication, an injection, was dispensed at the pharmacy, but was to be administered by a nurse at another location. The pharmacy had the patient’s medications prepared, labelled, and packed for delivery by a third party delivery service. Although the prescription label and medication were not visible, the package was labelled externally with the patient’s name and the location to be delivered. The location to be delivered was labelled as the “Mental Health Unit” of the hospital.

    In this case, it would have been more appropriate to provide only a street address and unit number for the delivery address. Pharmacists are reminded to scrutinize any health information they might disclose when using delivery services.

    Changes to the ACP Structured Practical Training (SPT) Program - effective October 15, 2015
    November 18, 2015

    Changes to the Structured Practical Training (SPT) program rules came into effect on October 15, 2015. Changes have also been made to the Notification of Preceptor Siteand the Certification of Completion of Structured Practical Training forms.

    Please visit our website at https://pharmacists.ab.ca/forms#SPTforms to access the new forms.

    What has changed?

    1. The maximum SPT hours allowed per week has been increased to 44 hours.
      • Approval from ACP for 44 hours per week is no longer required. Hours above 44 hours per week will NOT be approved or recognized.
         
    2. All preceptors must have been licensed practicing pharmacists in Alberta or in another Canadian jurisdiction for a minimum of two years. 
      • Individuals who have started internship before October 15, 2015 with a preceptor who does not meet this requirement will be allowed to continue, providing that they remain with the current preceptor and complete the SPT level(s) by December 31, 2015 without taking a break between levels.
         
    3. ACP will no longer allow split internship levels. 
      • The minimum hours required for each level must be completed with one preceptor and at one pharmacy location. Interns who are currently completing a SPT level under two preceptors will be allowed to continue until December 31, 2015.

    Interns and preceptors are also reminded of the following rules:

    • A preceptor must not be in a close personal relationship with the intern, cannot be related to the intern (in-laws included) and cannot reside in the same residence as the intern.
       
    • All SPT hours must be completed in Alberta, with an ACP licensed pharmacist as preceptor within an ACP licensed pharmacy or institutional (i.e. hospital) setting.

    Criteria for extension of provisional pharmacist practice permits:

    • Interns are registered on the provisional pharmacist register and provided a practice permit for a period of two years from their initial date of registration to allow for completion of requirements for licensure. If requirements for licensure have not completed within the two year period, the intern may apply for an extension.

    • Individuals who have successfully completed the PEBC Qualifying Exam Part I and II (MCQ and OSCE), MAY be granted an extension for up to 1 year depending on the circumstances of the request.  
       
    • Those who have not completed the PEBC Qualifying Exam Part I and II (MCQ and OSCE), will not be granted an extension to their practice permit and their ACP file will be closed. These individuals may reapply to ACP once they have successfully completed both parts of the PEBC Qualifying exam. At the time of reapplication, they will be provided a practice permit for a maximum of 1 year to allow for completion of SPT hours and the ACP jurisprudence exam.
    Identifying yourself to the public and other health care providers
    November 18, 2015

    Clearly identifying all members of the pharmacy team is an essential part of establishing trust with patients and collaborating with others. This is critical to building professional relationships with patients and other members of their health team that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians collaborate with.

    Members of the public and other health care providers have a right to know who you are. This is important to them in identifying and relating to roles and responsibilities of pharmacy team members. They need to know that when they require the advice of a pharmacist; that in fact, they are speaking to a pharmacist.

    • When providing any written correspondence, ensure you identify yourself by first and last name, clinical designation (e.g., RPh or pharmacist), and practice location.
    • When greeting a patient or other health professional in person or by telephone, identify yourself by name, and identify whether you are a pharmacist or pharmacy technician.
    • When members of the public (including other healthcare providers) ask you for your name and registration number, you are required to provide this information (see Standard 1.11 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians and Section 36(5) of the Health Professions Act).
    • Licensees must ensure that all members of their pharmacy team and their roles are clearly identified for the public. (See Standard 3.3 of the Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies.)
    Cassandra Woit presented with first annual ACP Leadership Development Award
    November 18, 2015

    On November 17, 2015, ACP’s registrar, Greg Eberhart, presented the first annual ACP Leadership Development Award to 4th year pharmacy student, Cassandra Woit, in front of her peers at the University of Alberta.

    Created to support the development and advancement of professionalism, citizenship, and leadership in pharmacy, the award provides up to $5,000 for an exemplary third or fourth year University of Alberta pharmacy student to participate in a high-level professional development course or leadership conference. Cassandra used this opportunity to attend the FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences 2015 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

    More to come on Cassandra’s trip to the FIP World Conference in the next issue of aφnews

    October 2015 Health Product InfoWatch now available
    November 4, 2015

    The October 2015 issue of Health Product InfoWatch (formerly Canadian Adverse Reaction Newsletter), published by the Marketed Health Products Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, is now available. This newsletter is a monthly publication providing safety information on pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and natural health products.

    In this issue:

    • Monthly recap of health safety product information 
    • New information - Safety Brief: Brilinta (ticagrelor) safety reminders
    Office Closed on November 11, 2015
    November 4, 2015
    The ACP office will be closed on Wednesday, November 11 for Remembrance Day. The office will reopen on Thursday, November 12 at 8 a.m. 
    Moving Long-Acting Methylphenidates to Type 2 TPP
    October 20, 2015

    Effective immediately, to increase patient access while ensuring continued safety, the Triplicate Prescription Program (TPP) steering committee has moved all long-acting methylphenidate medications from the Type 1 list to the Type 2 list.

    Medications on the Type 1 list require prescriber registration and a triplicate prescription, while medications on the Type 2 list are electronically monitored only, no longer requiring physician registration or a triplicate prescription to prescribe them.

    Long-acting methylphenidate medications are one of the most effective first line treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), according to the Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance practice guidelines.

    The College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) administers the TPP on behalf of program partners including Alberta pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians and nurse practitioners. The program tracks the prescribing and dispensing of drugs with a potential for misuse and abuse, resulting in improved prescribing and improved patient safety.

    If the TPP identifies high-risk patient medication use, including the use of three or more prescribers for the same drug class, the program alerts prescribers of the potential concern.

    The TPP program data helps the Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) to assess opioid management and dispensing trends, and work with pharmacists to enhance pharmacy practices, diminish patient risk, and improve care.

    The TPP program will also add codeine-containing drugs to the Type 2 TPP list in 2016.

    For more information please visit: http://www.cpsa.ab.ca/Services/Triplicate_Prescription_Program.aspx.

    U of A Pharmacy Business Plan Competition
    October 20, 2015

    Pharmacy practice in Alberta has undergone substantial changes over the past few years, and while many of us are still finding our way in this changing world, U of A Pharmacy Students are innovating and preparing to engage in the exciting opportunities offered by our profession.

    Pharmacists and leaders in pharmacy are invited to join us for the Annual Pharmacy Business Plan Competition. Third Year Pharmacy Students at the U of A will be competing for bragging rights and potentially, a cash investment, for the "Most Innovative" and "Best Overall" business plan presentations. Come be inspired and network with these rising stars in Pharmacy.

    When: Tuesday, November 17, 2015 (5:00PM - 8:00PM) - reception follows presentations

    Where: Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (Room 2-190)

    If interested in attending, please contact Jody Shkrobot via email at shkrobot@ualberta.ca.

    Protect your confidential information from phishing attempts
    October 20, 2015

    What is phishing?

    "Phishing” (also known as “carding” or “spoofing”) is a general term for emails, text messages and websites sent by criminals that are designed to look like they come from well-known and trusted businesses, financial institutions and government agencies in an attempt to collect personal, financial and sensitive information.

    How to spot a phishing attempt:

    On the surface, phishing attempts may appear to be from a legitimate source. The content of a phishing email or text message is intended to trigger a quick reaction from you. Typically, phishing messages will ask you to "update", "validate", or "confirm" your account information or face dire consequences. You are often prompted to click on a link to a phony website where you’re asked for personal information such as identifiers or passwords. Sometimes you can tell that a website or email is not legitimate if there are spelling and grammatical errors. 

    How ACP manages and protects your credentials:

    ACP would like to remind registrants that we do not solicit your credentials, via email or otherwise. At all times, ACP keeps your confidential information secure. As a general rule, never reply to email or text messages with requests for personal information including password or credit card information. More information about phishing can be found on the RCMP website.

    Get your nominations in for the 2016 APEX Awards!
    October 20, 2015

    Don’t miss the opportunity to recognize a friend, colleague, or healthcare team for an Alberta Pharmacy Excellence (APEX) Award.

    Nominations are being accepted online until October 30, 2015. Visit the ACP website for a list of award categories, guidelines and helpful hints for submitting your nomination letter. You’ll also find profiles and videos of past award recipients.

    Online renewal for pharmacy technicians coming soon!
    October 20, 2015

    Testing of the online renewal system for pharmacy technicians is in progress. Once complete, it is expected that online renewal will open later this week and remain open until November 30.

    Note: Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are not required for the renewal process this year. The pharmacy technician continuing competence program (CCP) will be launched and implemented in 2016.

    In January, technicians will be able to access the Continuing Competence Program (CCP) portal. The portal will include a program tutorial and all the supporting tools you will need to record your learning activities in 2016. Watch for more information in the New Year. 

    Pharmacist survey - deadline extended to October 25, 2015
    October 20, 2015

    ACP’s survey plays an important role in helping the college understand the viewpoints of pharmacists. We have extended the survey deadline to offer you additional time to participate and share your valued opinions with us.

    You now have until October 25, 2015 to share your feedback on:

    • the awareness and expectations you have of your college
    • your satisfaction levels with the services provided by ACP
    • the threats and opportunities facing pharmacy today and in the future
    • your readiness to take on expanded roles and responsibilities in your practice settings
    • your satisfaction levels with ACP’s communication tools and preference for engagement with ACP

    Watch for survey findings to be shared in an upcoming issue of aφnews

    Office Closed on October 12, 2015
    October 7, 2015
    The ACP office will be closed for Thanksgiving on Monday, October 12, 2015. We will reopen at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, October 13, 2015. 
    Alumni/student mentorship program seeking volunteers
    October 6, 2015

    The U of A Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is seeking mentors to share knowledge and provide advice to current students as they transition from academic to professional life.

    This program is a great opportunity for students to learn from pharmacists and explore various career paths.

    To learn more about the mentorship program or sign up, please visit: https://www.ualberta.ca/pharmacy/alumni-and-giving/mentorship 

    Shine the light on someone you admire!
    October 6, 2015

    Nominate a friend, colleague, or healthcare team for an Alberta Pharmacy Excellence (APEX) Award. Now in its ninth year, the APEX Awards recognize role models, celebrate great patient care, and raise the profile of pharmacy in Alberta.

    There are categories for up-and-coming pharmacists (Future of Pharmacy Award), dedicated and longtime professionals (M.J. Huston Pharmacist of Distinction), pharmacists who give back to their community (Pfizer Consumer Healthcare Bowl of Hygeia), and more. 

    Nominations are being accepted online until October 30, 2015. For more details and a full list of categories, please visit pharmacists.ab.ca/apex-awards.

    Upcoming Competence Program Requirements for pharmacy technicians: a sneak peek
    October 6, 2015

    ACP council recently approved the rules and requirements for the Continuing Competence Program (CCP) for pharmacy technicians. Here is a summary of the program requirements. The program will mirror the pharmacist program and will be implemented in 2016.

    Here is a summary of the program requirements:

    1. Complete a minimum of 15 CEUs of learning activities during the CE cycle (December 1 - November 30) and document each learning activity on one or more Learning Records.
    2. Implement at least one CEU equivalent of learning into practice and document this on an Implementation Record.
    3. Complete any prescribed learning directed by the Competence Committee.

    Pharmacy technicians will access the program materials through the CCP portal. This portal will be available in January 2016 and you will have until the end of your CE cycle (November 30, 2016) to complete the program requirements. You may only claim learning activities that have been completed during the corresponding CE cycle (i.e., December 1, 2015 – November 30, 2016).

    All pharmacy technicians are required to complete the competence program to be eligible to renew your practice permit for the following registration year. If you are on the provisional pharmacy technician register, you are not required to complete the program.

    Once the portal is available, you will have to complete the mandatory CCP tutorial. This tutorial will help you to understand the program requirements and review how to use the CCP portal. Stay tuned for more information about your competence program through aφnews and The Link.

    September 2015 council meeting
    October 6, 2015

    Council convened in Banff on September 23 - 25, 2015.

    Here is a summary of council discussion and decisions from that meeting:

    Proposed amendments to the Scheduled Drugs Regulation

    The Scheduled Drugs Regulation expires in the fall of 2016.  In preparation for the review of the Scheduled Drugs Regulation, Council discussed the possibility of seeking amendment to move non-prescription codeine containing drugs from schedule 2 to schedule 1. A more comprehensive discussion will take place in December.

    System-to-system interfaces between pharmacy practice management systems and NETCARE

    Council supports the importance of a real time (system-to-system) interface between pharmacy practice management systems and NETCARE.  A more comprehensive discussion will take place in December to determine how ACP and government might work together to develop a strategy for improving accessibility to patient information for pharmacists.

    Guidelines for Medication, Vaccine and Injection Safety (including hand hygiene)

    ACP is working with representatives from CPSA and CARNA to develop guidelines based on infection prevention and control (IPAC) principles. The intent is for all three colleges to create standard expectations for pharmacists, nurses and physicians for hand hygiene; and medication, vaccine and injection safety. In addition to standardization across professions, expectations of practice will be consistent throughout the province.  Council held a discussion on the proposed guidelines and recommended amendments for the IPAC committee’s consideration. 

    Competence program for pharmacy technicians – approval of rules

    Council approved the rules for the Continuing Competence Program (CCP) for pharmacy technicians. The program will mirror the pharmacist program and will be implemented in 2016.

    More details about ‘coming into effect’ and implementation will follow throughout the fall. Tools that are currently available to pharmacists for managing their professional development, will equally be made available to pharmacy technicians.

    Business priorities for 2016

    Council provided direction to move forward with developing ACP’s 2016 business plan based on the following priorities and goals.  Prior to the end of 2016 ACP will:

    • Secure a new vendor for our information management system, and programming to support ACP’s business will be underway (system implementation to be completed by end of 2017)
      • Complete an analysis of reports that will be required from the new system (implement 2018)
    • Modernize role statements for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians
    • Propose amendments to the Scheduled Drugs Regulation to Alberta Health
    • Complete a review and analysis of registration policies and procedures for regulated members and pharmacies
    • Facilitate pharmacy technicians complete learning and implementation records in fulfilling their competence requirements
    • DRAFT a Framework to guide pharmacists and pharmacy technicians use Point of Care Technologies

    The next regular meeting of council is scheduled November 30 – December 1, 2015.

    Can interns and students administer injections?
    October 6, 2015

    As you prepare for the upcoming flu season, we are sharing an updated version of information first shared in the October 7, 2014, edition of The Link regarding whether interns and students can administer injections. 

    As you prepare for the upcoming flu season, we are sharing an updated version of information first shared in the October 7, 2014, edition of The Link: 

    When interns and students are completing structured practical training (SPT) or extracurricular work experience and are being supervised by a pharmacist who has authorization to administer injections, the supervising pharmacist may allow the intern or student to perform an injection, but only if the following three conditions are met.

    1. The intern or student must be under the direct supervision of a pharmacist who has authorization to administer drugs by injection.
    2. The intern or student must have completed a recognized training program.
    3. The intern or student must be enrolled in the ACP SPT program, or be completing a clinical placement as part of their university program, or working within a structured extracurricular student work experience program provided either by the Alberta College of Pharmacists or the U of A Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

    Note: Interns and students cannot receive authorization to administer injections. The supervising pharmacist is responsible and accountable for all components of the preparation and administration of the injection including meeting the requirements of Standards 16 and 17 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians.

    Standards and Details

    Section 17 and 19 of the Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Profession Regulation indicates that provisional pharmacists (interns) and pharmacy students who are under the supervision of a clinical pharmacist or a courtesy pharmacist may perform the same restricted activities as clinical pharmacists.

    The rules for supervision outlined in Section 23 of the regulations and Standard 20 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians require that:

    • Supervision take place in accordance with the rules of the SPT program;
    • The regulated member supervising remain responsible for all components of restricted activities that require the skills or training of a pharmacist; and
    • The regulated member must not supervise any individual performing a restricted activity unless they are satisfied that the individual will perform the activity safely and effectively.

    It is the opinion of the college that, to meet these requirements, the intern or student must have completed a formal training program and that their injections must be administered under direct supervision. 

    What is “direct supervision”?

    Direct supervision requires that the supervising pharmacist be present when the restricted activity is being performed and be able to observe and promptly intervene to stop or change the actions of the individual under supervision.

    What formal training qualifies?

    Individuals on the provisional and the student register cannot receive authorization to administer injections from ACP; therefore, there will be no authorization noted on their practice permit. The supervising pharmacist must ensure that training has been completed.

    • Interns must complete a CCCEP Stage 2 accredited training program. Pharmacy students may complete training as part of a faculty of pharmacy curriculum. In both situations, the intern or student should be able to show you a certificate indicating successful completion of the training.

    Application for the authorization to administer injections may be made upon transfer to the Clinical Pharmacist Register. Students must apply for the authorization within six months of graduation and interns must apply within one year of completing an accredited training program.

    A note about SPT and extracurricular work experience

    Extracurricular hours spent working in a pharmacy are not eligible as SPT; however, interns and students must notify ACP of any extracurricular work experience being undertaken as a provisional pharmacist or student pharmacist.

    Students who work in pharmacies outside of clinical rotations and interns who have completed their SPT program, but continue to work in a pharmacy, must complete and forward the Extracurricular Student Work Experience Notification Form. This notification requires identification of a preceptor who will be responsible for the work of the intern or student.  

    The opportunity to perform restricted activities under the supervision of a clinical pharmacist is an important part of developing competency. Administration of injections by interns or students should be considered in this context. Preceptors and supervising pharmacists are responsible for ensuring this occurs in an appropriate environment.  See the Lessons Learned section of the September/October 2015 issue of aφnews for more information.

    Seasonal influenza campaign update
    October 6, 2015

    Ensuring the health and wellness of our communities is a collective responsibility.

    Influenza is ranked among the top 10 infectious diseases affecting the Canadian population and, as healthcare professionals, you play an important role in the battle to stop its spread.

    Ensuring the health and wellness of our communities is a collective responsibility.

    Influenza is ranked among the top 10 infectious diseases affecting the Canadian population and, as healthcare professionals, you play an important role in the battle to stop its spread. 

    As you prepare for the upcoming influenza season, Alberta Health Services encourages you to get immunized as soon as possible, recommend immunization to your patients or clients, and encourage prevention practices such as respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene. Even if you don't administer vaccine, you can still play a key role in immunizations as educators and facilitators. 

    Your participation can help protect high risk groups including children, seniors, pregnant women and those working in close contact with vulnerable patients and seniors – such as your colleagues in Alberta’s healthcare facilities.

    For more information on this year’s influenza immunization campaign, ACP encourages you to visit Alberta Health Services website for health professionals.  The website provides resources and information on the Influenza Immunization Program, and outlines the policy, protocols and guidelines for 2015.

    Also refer to previous issues of ACP's The Link and aφnews for articles related to influenza. 

    If community pharmacists have any questions related to the Influenza Immunization Program, please email Alberta Health at health.imm@gov.ab.ca.  All questions regarding billing are to be directed to Alberta Blue Cross.

    Inaugural winner of ACP award for pharmacy technicians
    October 6, 2015

    Congratulations to Sue Allen! Sue is the first recipient of the ACP award for highest marks on the PEBC Qualifying Exams for pharmacy technicians.

    ACP council president Rick Hackman presented Sue with a framed certificate of achievement and a $1,000 cheque at the Pharmacy Technician Society of Alberta (PTSA) 25th annual conference which took place September 18-19, 2015, in Edmonton.

    Read more about Sue and her award in the September/October 2015 issue of aφnews.

    Pharmacist survey reminder
    October 6, 2015

    ACP is surveying pharmacists on the clinical register.

    Instructions were sent in late September to pharmacists who have elected in their registrant profile to accept survey invitations.  

    Advanis, an independent research company, has been commissioned by ACP to survey pharmacists on the clinical register. ACP is interested in gathering opinions, measuring awareness, and examining the views of how the college is performing in its work to govern pharmacists in Alberta.

    Survey instructions were emailed in late September to pharmacists on the clinical register who have elected in their registrant profile to accept survey invitations.  If you are a pharmacist  (who has provided consent to receive survey invitations) and have not yet completed the survey, please visit http://surveys.advanis.ca/acp2015 to have your voice heard.  

    The survey will explore: 

    • the awareness and expectations registrants have of their college
    • satisfaction levels with the services provided by ACP
    • the threats and opportunities facing pharmacy today and in the future
    • pharmacists’ readiness to take on expanded roles and responsibilities in their practice settings
    • satisfaction levels with ACP’s communication tools and preference for engagement with ACP

    Provisional and regulated pharmacy technicians were surveyed in 2014 which will be the last time pharmacists and technicians are surveyed separately.

    ACP will be using the themes generated from this year’s survey as a foundation to build its 2018 survey which will be the first survey cycle to target all stakeholders at the same time - including the public, government, and all ACP registrants. 

    The survey deadline is October 12, 2015. Watch for survey findings to be shared in an upcoming issue of aφnews.

    If you have any questions, please call or email: 

    Advanis for technical support, quote project 3920: 1-866-542-6921 or sdayacp2015@advanis.ca.

    ACP for general questions about the survey: Shirley Nowicki, Communications Director at 780-990-0321 or via email at Shirley.Nowicki@pharmacists.ab.ca.

    September 2015 Health Product InfoWatch now available
    September 28, 2015

    The September 2015 issue of Health Product InfoWatch (formerly Canadian Adverse Reaction Newsletter), published by the Marketed Health Products Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, is now available. This newsletter is a monthly publication providing safety information on pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and natural health products.

    In this issue:

    • Monthly recap of health safety product information 
    • New information - Case report: Negative pressure wound therapy devices and the risk of bleeding 
    Tips for submitting your additional prescribing authorization application
    September 22, 2015

    When submitting your application for additional prescribing authorization, it’s important to ensure that all patient information is anonymous.

    For the protection of your patients, please ensure their name, personal health number, address, and phone numbers cannot be identified.

    If using a black marker, ensure that the patient’s personal information cannot be seen; white out correction tape works well.

    You don’t need to mask the physician or pharmacist information. In fact, it’s crucial that assessors know who did what. When several physicians are involved in the patient’s care, it’s important for them to know who you are sending information to, and when.

    Please take the time to ensure this is done correctly on both copies, otherwise your application may be returned to you.

    2015 National Health Informatics eSafety Summit
    September 22, 2015

    Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, and Canada’s Health Informatics Association (COACH) invite pharmacists to attend the 2015 National Health Informatics eSafety Summit on October 27, 2015, in Edmonton.

    This one-day event will feature the latest information on eSafety in the public and private sectors. The summit will attract national and international leaders, subject matter experts as well as key stakeholders working in the field of patient safety health informatics.

    For more information and to register, please visit: http://www.coachorg.com/en/newsandevents/national-esafety-summit.asp

    Audit of professional declarations
    September 22, 2015

    On September 8, 2015, five percent of pharmacists were notified by email that they’ve been randomly selected for audit of the professional declarations made during the registration renewal period. This consists of an audit of the pharmacist’s professional liability insurance, and for pharmacists with authorization to administer drugs by injection, an audit of the pharmacist’s CPR and First Aid certification.

    If you have received an email titled: ACP – Professional Declarations Audit, please submit a copy of your current:

    • Professional liability insurance policy (minimum of $2 million dollars in coverage), and
    • CPR (minimum Level C) and First Aid Certification (Standard or Emergency), if applicable.

    Check your emails to see whether you have been selected, and if so, please submit the requested documentation as outlined in the email by October 31, 2015.

    Remember, if you are on the clinical register it is your responsibility to ensure that you have current and valid personal professional liability coverage at all times; otherwise you are not permitted to practise. If you have authorization to administer injections, you must maintain current and valid CPR and First Aid certification; otherwise you are not permitted to administer injections.

    If you have any questions about this audit, please contact the competence department by email at PDAudit@pharmacists.ab.ca, by phone at 780-990-0321, or toll-free at 1-877-227-3838.

    Reminder to submit resolutions
    September 22, 2015

    Turn your ideas for change into proposed resolutions!

    ACP’s policies and standards of practice evolve from insights received from our members; best practices observed in other professions and systems; and needs identified by patients.

    Proposing a resolution is one way that you can identify opportunities that Council may deliberate to improve the practice of pharmacy in Alberta. Proposed resolutions must be consistent with the mission, vision, and values of the College. 

    The rules for resolutions and examples of past resolutions can be found on ACP’s website.  

    Proposed resolutions must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on October 2, 2015.                                          

    Submit your proposed resolution in writing, accompanied by the signatures and licence numbers of 10 voting members in good standing, to:

    Leslie Ainslie, Executive Assistant
    Alberta College of Pharmacists
    1100 - 8215 112 Street NW
    Edmonton, AB T6G 2C8
    Fax: 780-990-0328
    Email: leslie.ainslie@pharmacists.ab.ca

    U of A Job Shadow Week: November 9-13
    September 22, 2015

    Give a pharmacy student a day-in-the-life glimpse of your practice by hosting them during U of A Job Shadow Week, November 9-13 (excluding November 11).

    Through this program, you are matched with a U of A student, alumnus or post-doctoral fellow for a workplace visit during Reading Week. The participant will spend one to four days with you learning about the day-to-day realities of your field, gaining valuable advice and insight, and making connections.

    U of A provides mandatory training to all job shadow participants on professionalism, confidentiality and protocol. Any individual who works in the Edmonton Capital Region, or in Camrose for students at Augustana Campus, may volunteer to host a job shadow experience for U of A students and alumni. Hosts will need to be available at least one day during the designated U of A Job Shadow Week.     

    The deadline to sign up is Friday, October 2, 2015. To sign up and learn more about Job Shadow Week, please visit the U of A Career Centre website.

     

    Survey: community pharmacists' perceptions of palliative care
    September 22, 2015

    As most palliative care patients wish to remain at home as long as possible, there is an increasing need for community pharmacists to be involved in their care.  

    Dr. Serena Rix, Palliative Pharmacist at Grey Nuns Hospital in Edmonton, and her research team, invite you to participate in a 10-minute survey aimed at trying to identify the comfort level of community pharmacists providing service to this distinct population. The ultimate goal will be to create educational courses and clinical decision support tools to aid in this endeavor.

    If you’re interested in participating in the survey, click here.

    Responsible promotion of immunization services: they're not free
    September 22, 2015

    Patients may not have to pay out of pocket for publicly funded immunizations, but that does not mean the services are free.

    Further, there are situations where individuals, such as visitors from out of province, must pay for an immunization. Advertising these services as such could be determined to be misleading. 

    Section 24(1)(a) of the Pharmacy and Drug Regulation stipulates that, "A licensee and a proprietor must ensure that advertising in relation to a licensed pharmacy is not false or misleading.” If a third party is paying for the service, it is not free and patients should be aware that there is a cost to their health plan and the province.

    Therefore, ACP is requesting that all pharmacy licensees review the policies and practices at their pharmacy with respect to promotion of this year’s publicly funded immunization program.

    Please ensure that all internal and external promotion of your pharmacy’s immunizations services do not indicate that they are free. If you feel the need to advise patients that they will not be required to pay for services provided by your pharmacy; then more acceptable wording may be something akin to “…at no charge to you.”

    ACP previously provided guidance on his subject through The Link on December 4, 2014.

    What is the Continuing Competence Program prescribed activity for 2015/2016?
    September 9, 2015

    For the 2015/2016 Continuing Education (CE) cycle, pharmacists must complete the Jurisprudence Self-Assessment tool, found in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal. This self-assessment tool will test your jurisprudence knowledge and help you identify potential learning needs. The Alberta College of Pharmacists will NOT be monitoring or keeping track of your self-assessment results. This is for your own continuing professional development.

    Jurisprudence is not only about drug schedules and prescription regulations – it is about your everyday pharmacy practice, patient care, and prescribing. As a pharmacist, it is your responsibility, regardless of where you practise, to be aware of and understand the current Standards of Practice, Code of Ethics, and federal and provincial legislation that pertain to pharmacy practice.

    For assistance, please contact a member of the competence team at competence@pharmacists.ab.ca.

    Continuing Competence Program (CCP) for pharmacy technicians
    September 9, 2015

    A Continuing Competence Program (CCP) for pharmacy technicians will be implemented in 2016. All pharmacy technicians will be required to complete this program on an annual basis.

    Want a preview? ACP will be introducing and presenting on the Continuing Competence Program for pharmacy technicians at the upcoming Pharmacy Technician Society of Alberta's (PTSA) Technician Conference. Join us Saturday, September 19, 2015, between 8:00 am – 8:45 am (during breakfast and registration) to learn more about the program and get a preview of what you can expect in 2016.

    For more information and to register, please visit: www.pharmacytechnicians.ab.ca/pages/conferenceregistration.php

     

    University of Alberta Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Preceptor Workshops
    September 9, 2015

    Registration is now open for all 2015 U of A Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences preceptor workshops. Workshops are available in Grande Prairie, Calgary, Edmonton and via the Online Lync (AHS/Covenant/Capital Care employees only.)

    If you are located outside of Calgary or Edmonton and are interested in hosting a workshop in 2016, please contact the faculty at phexed@ualberta.ca.

    For more information and to register, please visit: https://www.cognitoforms.com/Phexedualbertaca/WorkshopRegistration.   

    What browser are you using to access the Continuing Competence Program portal?
    September 9, 2015

    Are you experiencing any technical issues with the Continuing Competence Program (CCP) portal? It may be because the browser or version of the browser you are using is not compatible with the CCP portal. It has come to our attention a number of pharmacists are accessing the portal through a shared work computer that uses Internet Explorer 8.

    Unfortunately, this version of Explorer has become obsolete and may result in technical difficulties, especially when completing the prescribed activity.

    To avoid any technical issues, we recommend that you use a different browser (e.g., Firefox or Google Chrome) or download a later version of Internet Explorer. 

    Nominations now open for the 2016 APEX Awards
    September 9, 2015

    ACP and the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA) are once again teaming up on March 3, 2016, for the ninth annual APEX Awards. These awards recognize excellence in pharmacy practice in Alberta and we want your nominations!

    Submit your nomination(s) today to help recognize role models, celebrate great patient care, and raise the profile of pharmacy in Alberta. Recipients are publicized at events, in print, and online across the province.

    Nominations are being accepted online until October 30, 2015. This year the nomination process has been streamlined. Now, a robust letter of nomination addressing the award criteria, along with supporting documentation (if available), is all that it takes.  

    For complete submission details and award categories, please visit pharmacists.ab.ca/apex-awards.

    Nominations due October 30 for the 2016 APEX Awards
    September 8, 2015

                                                                                    
    ACP and the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA) are once again teaming up on March 3, 2016, for the ninth annual APEX Awards. These awards recognize excellence in pharmacy practice in Alberta and we want your nominations!

    Submit your nomination(s) today to help recognize role models, celebrate great patient care, and raise the profile of pharmacy in Alberta. Recipients are publicized at events, in print, and online across the province.

    Nominations are being accepted online until October 30, 2015. This year the nomination process has been streamlined. Now, a robust letter of nomination addressing the award criteria, along with supporting documentation (if available) is all that it takes.  

    For complete submission details and award categories, click here.

    August 2015 Health Product InfoWatch now available
    August 28, 2015

    The August 2015 issue of Health Product InfoWatch (formerly Canadian Adverse Reaction Newsletter), published by the Marketed Health Products Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, is now available. This newsletter is a monthly publication providing safety information on pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and natural health products.

    In this issue:

    • Monthly recap of health safety product information 
    • New information - Review article: Rivaroxaban and liver injury
    U of A PharmD program application deadline: September 1, 2015
    August 25, 2015

    Apply to be in the first class of the University of Alberta’s new part-time PharmD for Practicing Pharmacists Program. This program includes course work (delivered primarily in an online format) and experiential learning. The program begins January 2016 with an application deadline of September 1, 2015.

    To learn more about the program, please visit http://pharm.ualberta.ca/programs/undergraduate-doctor-of-pharmacy

    Now available: Influenza Immunization Policy 2015/2016
    August 25, 2015

    Alberta Health Services has released its Influenza Immunization Policy for the 2015/2016 season. The public launch for the 2015-2016 Influenza Immunization Program is October 20, 2015. Community providers, including pharmacists, must not administer influenza vaccine prior to this date.Watch for more detailed pharmacy-related information and highlights coming from ACP in the near future.

    To read the Influenza Immunization Policy 2015/2016, please visit the AHS website: http://www.health.alberta.ca/documents/AIP-Influenza-Immunization-Policy-2015.pdf

    Labour Day office closure
    August 25, 2015
    Just a reminder that ACP will be closed for Labour Day, Monday, September 7, 2015. The office will reopen on Tuesday, September 8. ACP wishes you a safe and happy long weekend. 
    Continuing Competence Program for pharmacy technicians - a sneak peek
    August 25, 2015

    ACP will be introducing and presenting on the Continuing Competence Program at the upcoming Pharmacy Technician Society of Alberta’s (PTSA) Technician Conference. Join us Saturday, September 19, 2015, between 8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. (during breakfast and registration) to learn more about the program and get a preview of what you can expect in 2016. 

    For more information and to register, please visit: www.pharmacytechnicians.ab.ca/pages/conferenceregistration.php

    Symposium: Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists, Alberta Branch
    August 11, 2015

    The Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP) Alberta Branch invites all hospital pharmacists and pharmacists practicing in non-traditional settings to its annual symposium on September 11 and 12, 2015, in Edmonton.

    The symposium offers a broad selection of clinically-focused presentations as well as a one day leadership workshop designed to provide pharmacists with communications and change management training.

    For more information and to register, please visit: http://cshp-ab.ca 

     

    Reminder: report employment changes
    August 11, 2015

    Changing employers or moving into a new home can be a busy and exciting time! Just a reminder that updates to your contact information or employment must be reported to ACP within 14 days of the change. Employment changes can be reported via email, fax or by phoning ACP directly.  You can change your contact information online (https://acp.alinityapp.com/webclient) under your registration profile or by email, fax or phone.

    For more information, please refer to 41(1) and 41(2) of the Health Professions Act Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Profession Regulation, available online: https://pharmacists.ab.ca/provincial-legislation

    Continuing Competence Program for pharmacy technicians - a sneak peek
    August 11, 2015

    The development of a Continuing Competence Program for pharmacy technicians is underway and targeted to roll-out January 2016.

    In June, council approved a framework for the competence program based on the recommendations from a working group of pharmacy technicians and the competence committee. The program is modelled after that for pharmacists, with an emphasis on professional development and continuous improvement.

    ACP will be introducing and presenting on the Continuing Competence Program for pharmacy technicians at the upcoming Pharmacy Technician Society of Alberta’s (PTSA) Technician Conference. Join us Saturday, September 19, 2015, between 8:00 a.m. –8:45 a.m. (during breakfast and registration) to learn more about the program and get a preview of what you can expect in 2016. This info session is available to conference participants.

    For more information and to register, please visit: www.pharmacytechnicians.ab.ca/pages/conferenceregistration.php

    Pharmacist competency review survey - deadline extended
    August 11, 2015

    The Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) is looking for more Alberta pharmacists in active practice to participate in a national survey to evaluate competencies required at entry to professional practice.

    Your feedback is critical and important to developing entry to practice evaluations that will ensure candidates are competent before entering practice.

    If you currently practice in a patient care setting, ACP encourages you to participate in the survey to help accurately reflect practice in our jurisdiction. Registration to participate in the survey has been extended to August 26, 2015, with a survey completion date of September 13, 2015.

    Pharmacists are invited to register to participate at:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PEBC_Ph2015

    Please note that some institutions may block the links to SurveyMonkey. If this occurs, please use a home computer. If the link still does not work, please send your name, personal e-mail address, and province/territory to PEBC@proexam.org

    Forgery Alerts - it's a joint responsibility
    August 11, 2015

    As of last week, you may have noticed a change in how you have been receiving Forgery Alerts.  ACP is now using Industry Mailout – the very same email service we use to send you “The Link”, “ACPnews”, and other important notices. 

    Occasionally, we will hear from Registrants who do not want to receive the Forgery Alerts; and it is important for us to explain why it is a joint responsibility between the College and our Registrants to tap into this information.

    The primary mandate of the ACP is to protect the health and wellbeing of Albertans. An important part of this protection is ensuring the integrity of the drug distribution system. Forgery alerts are a key way we ensure registrants are aware of, and remain vigilant for behaviour that compromises Alberta’s drug distribution and health systems. This core responsibility is shared between the college and our registrants. Staying informed is a crucial responsibility we all share to support quality practice and ensuring patient safety.

    APEX Awards: Get Ready to Celebrate Pharmacy in Alberta!
    July 28, 2015

    It’s time to hear about all the outstanding pharmacists practicing across Alberta who have truly made a difference in the profession and in the lives of their patients.  ACP and RxA are eager to celebrate the people who define excellence, but we need your help.  Now is the time to start thinking about those superstars in the profession who deserve to be recognized and celebrated. Nominations for the APEX Awards will open first week in September.

    More good news…

    We realize the demands on people’s time can be very challenging, so we have streamlined the process to make it more comfortable and less time consuming to submit a nomination.  Stay tuned for more details about the NEW nomination process in upcoming issues of The Link. 

    For information on the awards, please visit:  https://pharmacists.ab.ca/apex-awards

    Triplicate Prescription Program reminder: Benzodiazepines added to Alberta prescription monitoring list
    July 28, 2015

    In 2013, half a million prescriptions for at least one benzodiazepine were issued in Alberta, similar levels to all opioid prescriptions combined. To help address the province’s growing health issue with drug abuse and misuse, benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-like medications have been added to Alberta’s Triplicate Prescription Program (TPP). The change is effective July 1, 2015.

    Benzodiazepines will be monitored electronically through Netcare via the Pharmaceutical Information Network (PIN), with no change to prescribing or dispensing. Unlike other drugs on the TPP list, benzodiazepines will not require a triplicate prescription, and prescribers are not required to register with the TPP to prescribe them.

    • There are no changes to the legislative or standards requirements for filling a prescription for a benzodiazepine or a benzodiazepine-like medication.

       

      1. TPP prescriptions pads are not required
      2. Record keeping requirements are unchanged
      3. Verbal prescriptions continue to be allowed
      4. Prescriptive authority is unchanged
      5. Notification to the TPP program occurs via your regular upload to PIN (Netcare)

       

    • Due to the potential for abuse or misuse, pharmacists are encouraged to review their processes for ensuring the appropriateness, effectiveness, and safety of prescriptions for benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-like medications

       

      1. Employ Chat, Check, and Chart when filling prescriptions for these medications
      2. Check Netcare prior to filling prescriptions for these medications
      3. Develop collaborative relationships with physicians and other health care professionals who are caring for the patient

       

      Why are benzodiazepine-like medications included?

    • Although Zopiclone is not included in the Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substances Regulations to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act it has similar properties, side effects and drug interactions. For this reason a decision was made to monitor it as part of the program. 
    • There are no changes to prescriptive authority. When appropriate, pharmacists may adapt prescriptions for Zopiclone, and pharmacists with additional prescribing authorization may prescribe it.

    If the TPP identifies high-risk prescribing patterns, the College of Physicians and Surgeons contacts the physician to discuss the case in more detail. Physicians are also alerted if their patients are seeing more than one physician for the same drug. In late 2013, The Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) began providing similar notifications to pharmacists when high risk patients were identified.

    The College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) operates the TPP on behalf of program partners including Alberta pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, and nurse practitioners. The program tracks the prescribing and dispensing of drugs subject to misuse and abuse, resulting in improved prescribing and better patient safety.

    The program will add codeine-containing drugs in 2016.  Likewise, it will not require a triplicate prescription or registration with the TPP to prescribe these drugs.

    For more information please visit: http://www.cpsa.ab.ca/Services/Triplicate_Prescription_Program.aspx

    Forgery Alerts and the importance of reporting a forgery
    July 28, 2015

    Drug abuse and diversion are ongoing problems which many pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in Alberta may encounter in the form of a forged prescription. If you suspect a forgery, take action – first, check with the prescriber to confirm, and then report the attempt to ACP and to the police.

    Reporting a forgery attempt to ACP:

    • promotes awareness of recent prescription forgery attempts and forgery tactics;
    • helps prevent diversion of drugs, thus maintaining the integrity of the drug system; and
    • helps us create a listing of forgery attempts for the calendar year, so that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have another tool to aid them in forgery detection.

    Did you know we have an ONLINE Forgery Reporting system? To report a forgery, visit https://pharmacists.ab.ca/forgery-alerts

    Follow us on Social Media
    July 28, 2015

    At ACP, we invite you to join in on the conversation and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Social media allows us to connect with a wider audience and engage in conversations about pharmacy practice in Alberta. We discuss ACP’s mandate, our expectations of pharmacy practitioners, current news stories, local and international events and the standards that both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians follow.  ACP is a trusted resource for people when they have questions or concerns about pharmacy practice. 

    We welcome your questions, and comments via social media. Our goal is to provide a community where individuals can share content, ideas and experiences and find helpful information.

    Visit us at https://www.facebook.com/ACPharmacists or Tweet to us @ACPharmacists

    Triplicate Prescription Program update
    July 21, 2015

    Benzodiazepines added to Alberta prescription monitoring list

    In 2013, half a million prescriptions for at least one benzodiazepine were issued in Alberta, similar levels to all opioid prescriptions combined. To help address the province’s growing health issue with drug abuse and misuse, benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-like medications have been added to Alberta’s Triplicate Prescription Program (TPP). The change is effective July 1, 2015.

    Benzodiazepines will be monitored electronically through the Pharmaceutical Information Network (PIN), with no change to prescribing or dispensing. Unlike other drugs on the TPP list, benzodiazepines will not require a triplicate prescription, and prescribers are not required to register with the TPP to prescribe them.

    Do I need to change my process of filling prescriptions for these drugs?

    • There are no changes to the legislative or standards requirements for filling a prescription for a benzodiazepine or a benzodiazepine-like medication.
      • TPP prescriptions pads are not required
      • Record keeping requirements are unchanged
      • Verbal prescriptions continue to be allowed
      • Prescriptive authority is unchanged
      • Notification to the TPP program occurs via your regular upload to PIN (Netcare)
    • Due to the potential for abuse or misuse, pharmacists are encouraged to review their processes for ensuring the appropriateness, effectiveness, and safety of prescriptions for benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine-like medications
      • Employ Chat, Check, and Chart when filling prescriptions for these medications
      • Check Netcare prior to filling prescriptions for these medications
      • Develop collaborative relationships with physicians and other health care professionals who are caring for the patient

    Why are benzodiazepine-like medications included?

    • Although Zopiclone is not included in the Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substances Regulations to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act it has similar properties, side effects and drug interactions. For this reason a decision was made to monitor it as part of the program. 
    • There are no changes to prescriptive authority. When appropriate, pharmacists may adapt prescriptions for Zopiclone, and pharmacists with additional prescribing authorization may prescribe it.

    If the TPP identifies high-risk prescribing patterns, the College of Physicians and Surgeons contacts the physician to discuss the case in more detail. Physicians are also alerted if their patients are seeing more than one physician for the same drug. In late 2013, The Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) began providing similar notifications to pharmacists when high risk patients were identified.

    The College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) operates the TPP on behalf of program partners including Alberta pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, and nurse practitioners. The program tracks the prescribing and dispensing of drugs subject to misuse and abuse, resulting in improved prescribing and better patient safety.

    The program will add codeine-containing drugs in 2016.  Likewise, it will not require a triplicate prescription or registration with the TPP to prescribe these drugs.

    For more information please visit the CPSA Triplicate Prescription Program page.

    Hearing notice: Melissa Kendrick
    July 21, 2015
    Hearing status                Appeal Pending
    Registrant Melissa Kendrick
    Charge Unprofessional Conduct
    Date September 25, 2015
    Time 9:30 AM
    Location

    Alberta College of Pharmacists
    1100-8215 112 St. NW
    Edmonton, AB   T6G 2C8

    In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.
     
    To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre-registration is required.
     
    Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.
     
    Please direct media inquiries to Ashley Edwards Scott, Communications Coordinator at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca.
    Continuing Competence Program news
    July 14, 2015

    "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”  - Benjamin Franklin

    Congratulations to all the pharmacists who submitted their first professional portfolio in the new Continuing Competence Program (CCP). We want to thank you for stepping up to the challenge, taking time to learn about the new program, and embracing it with an open-mind. We have appreciated all of your questions and feedback.  CCP was established based upon your initial input, and your ongoing feedback is important to us as we move forward in maturing the program.

    The main objectives of the CCP are to foster meaningful and relevant professional growth while empowering you to continuously enhance your practice.  The program provides you with essential tools to support your professional development while enabling you to take an active approach to learning.

    By applying your knowledge and skills and reflecting on your experiences, you are reinforcing your learning and evaluating your practice - ultimately leading to self-improvement and positive changes in your environment.

    CCP Survey Results

    Thank you to the over 1300 pharmacists who took part in our survey and provided feedback on the Continuing Competence Program. 

    82 per cent of pharmacists “strongly agreed/agreed”

    “I found this program excellent. It allowed me to better reflect on my learning, which I feel resulted in the information "sticking" better. It was very easy to use.”

    “The team that developed this program did an excellent job. I feel better knowing that all my colleagues are engaging in ongoing learning…This program ensures accountability. I think this is long time needed.”

    “At first I was unsure about this new system but I have found the format to be very user friendly and quite applicable to my practice setting.  It allowed me to easily incorporate the learning I needed to do for my job into something I could also report to the college.”

    “I found that by completing the learning record and implementation record I was more aware of my learning and how it fit into my practice.”

    18 per cent of pharmacists “disagreed/strongly disagreed”

    “Do not like reflection of learning. I have procrastinated completing this program because of all the steps involved and hassle of completing questions that do not apply to my practice.”

    81 per cent of pharmacists “strongly agreed/agreed”

    “I thought the portal was a very user-friendly way to record learning and found I was thinking deeper into each activity I did as to how I could use it in my practice.”

    “I really like it. It is very user friendly. It is far less cumbersome than the CCP we had last year. I appreciate writing up each course/learning activity because it gives reason to pause and reflect on the usefulness of that activity.”

    “I enjoyed the freedom to learn on my own terms. The implementation motivated me to try something new in my practice. The web portal is very easy to use and upload information to. I look forward to keeping better track of My CE's as the upload is so easy.”

    “I found this to be a great way to document my learning activities. It does not take much time at all and is very easy to navigate. I like having everything 'electronic’”

    19 per cent of pharmacists “disagreed/strongly disagreed”

    “I didn't like having to upload documents. It took a lot of time and I am a busy person so did not appreciate that.”

     

    81-84 per cent of pharmacists “strongly agreed/agreed”

    “I really enjoyed this experience. It was very clear to understand what was expected of me and the questions in the learning record and implementation record really forced me to evaluate what I had learned.”

    “Once I was familiar with the process, the documentation portion was quite simple.  I had no problem at all understanding what was required and how to submit it.  The tutorial gave very good examples on how to complete the program.”

    “I found the questions relevant and consistent, easy to follow, helpful for organizing and implementing learning.”

    “Having the samples of learning and implementation records, as provided in the tutorial, was very helpful as I was challenged to completely understand some of the questions.”

    16-19 per cent of pharmacists “disagreed/strongly disagreed”

     “I think the system will work well now that I have oriented myself to it, but it was cumbersome to complete the first time around.  I think some of the questions in the Learning Record are a bit ambiguous so I'm still not 100 per cent sure I have concisely described what the college is looking for.  I do think it will get easier as we all go forward, as long as the process does not significantly change every few years.”

    39 per cent of pharmacists rated the program as “excellent/very good”

    “I enjoyed the flexibility of the new program.  I found the ability to apply it to one’s practice environment in an individual manner welcoming.  Being able to submit real life learning in an area of interest provided validity to the program and reduces the anxiety of being evaluated on areas outside of one’s everyday practice.”

    “I like that it "makes" us do useful and practical continuing education to better our practice.  I was a bit apprehensive at first, but now that I am finished I believe it is a very useful program and I think will help me become a better pharmacist!  Tutorial was easy to understand, and even thought the process of entering and submitting everything is time consuming I believe it to be worthwhile.”

    50 per cent of pharmacists rated the program as “good/fair”

    “I think it is reasonable to have pharmacists explain what they have learned, and why. Additionally it is reasonable that we should demonstrate how we have applied our learnings.  This system will help pharmacists be organized and set realistic goals and applying them to practice.”

    “I think this program is a much better way of evaluating pharmacists as opposed to writing multiple choice exams. I think next year, I will be much better and more prepared to complete the implementation records now that I know what is expected. This year felt like a fairly steep learning curve and quite a drastic change from the previous competence program.”

    11 per cent of pharmacists rated the program as “poor”

    “Cumbersome, overly complicated and took far too long. I often do CEs as I see a need but I am not always in a position to document. Very time consuming to go back and review key learning points.”

    Updates to the CCP portal

    “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” - Mark Twain

    The 2015-2016 cycle is now activated and you may start to plan and document your learning activities. Over the past few weeks, we have been reviewing your comments and making improvements to the CCP portal based on your feedback. We will continually listen to your feedback and make enhancements to the program as appropriate. Here is a summary of some of the changes:

    Your Feedback

     

    Improvements to portal

    “The portal was confusing especially at the beginning”

    We have simplified the instructions provided in the CCP portal.

     

    “I find the wording in both the Learning Record and Implementation Record slightly confusing.”

    We have reworded and revised some of the questions found in the Learning and Implementation Records. We have also added and revised a number of help bubbles to help clarify the questions.

     

    “I was initially confused and thought that I was required to complete all of the self-assessment tools.”

    The self-assessment section has been reformatted to clearly differentiate between the required and optional items.

     

    “There is not enough space to fully capture all the key points covered in an activity.”

    The character limit for Question five in the Learning Record has been increased. Note: You only need to list your key learning elements. This may be a summary of what you’ve learned or specific information you wish to highlight.

     

    “I believe implementation log should not be limited to CEU done within the year, but it should be expanded to include other years."

    In the Implementation Record, we have added an optional box where you may reference learning that was completed in a previous CE cycle. However, CEUs completed in the previous CE cycle do not count towards the minimum one CEU requirement.

    You are still required to complete one hour of learning related to your implementation objective within the current CE cycle. Perhaps you could review your notes, or read a related journal article to supplement your learning.

     

    “It would be more helpful to show me which questions I have missed in the learning records to make it easier to enter in my records.”

    We are currently working on adding a function to highlight questions still requiring a response. This functionality is planned to roll-out in the summer for both the Learning and Implementation Records.

     

    “It was inconvenient to have to sign in 3 times! Easier access would be appreciated.”

    We are currently working on a streamlined login process anticipated to be available this summer.

    Prescribed activity for the 2015/2016 CE cycle

    As a reminder, every year, all pharmacists on the clinical register are required to:

    1. Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle and document each learning activity on one or more Learning Records;
    2. Implement at least one CEU worth of learning into their practice and document this on an Implementation Record; and
    3. Complete any required learning that has been assigned by the Competence Committee.

    For the 2015/2016 CE cycle, pharmacists must complete the Jurisprudence Self-Assessment tool. This self-assessment tool will test your jurisprudence knowledge and help you identify potential learning needs. The Alberta College of Pharmacists will NOT be monitoring or keeping track of your self-assessment results. This is for your own continuing professional development.

    Jurisprudence is not only about drug schedules and prescription regulations – it is about your everyday pharmacy practice, patient care, and prescribing. As a pharmacist, it is your responsibility, regardless of where you practice, to be aware of and understand the current Standards of Practice, Code of Ethics, and federal and provincial legislation that pertain to pharmacy practice.

     

    CSHP survey to identify learning needs for compounding: an invitation to participate!
    July 14, 2015

    The Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP) invites all pharmacy personnel who are involved in compounding aseptic (sterile) preparations to take a 10-15 minute survey to tell CSHP what topics they would like to learn more about regarding aseptic compounding, and how they want to learn it. Your responses will inform the development of tools to help practitioners enhance their competencies regarding compounding.

    CSHP wants to hear from all pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy assistants who compound and those who supervise or manage compounding operations.

    The survey is open to all pharmacy personnel who compounds aseptic preparations, so please send the link to your colleagues!

    To access the survey: http://fluidsurveys.com/s/PRAs/

    U of A offers PharmD program for practicing pharmacists
    July 14, 2015

    The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is now accepting applications for its new part-time PharmD for Practicing Pharmacists Program. The program includes course work (delivered primarily in an online format) and experiential learning. The program begins in January 2016 and the application deadline is September 1st, 2015.

    For more information about the program, please visit http://pharm.ualberta.ca/programs/undergraduate-doctor-of-pharmacy

    25th Annual Pharmacy Technician Conference
    July 14, 2015

    The Pharmacy Technician Society of Alberta (PTSA) invites all technicians and pharmacists from across the province to its 25th Anniversary Technician Conference being held in Edmonton on September 18 and 19, 2015.  In collaboration with ACP and RxA, a pharmacist stream has been included in this year’s conference.  Registration has opened this week. 

    For more information and to register, please visit www.pharmacytechnicians.ab.ca/pages/conferenceregistration.php

    PEBC pharmacist and technician competency surveys - your participation is requested!
    June 30, 2015

    The Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) needs pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in active practice to participate in a survey designed to evaluate competencies required at entry to professional practice. If you currently practice in a patient care setting, ACP encourages you to participate in the survey. Your feedback is important to developing entry to practice evaluations that reflect the basic competencies that require testing before candidates are admitted to our practice registers.

    Pharmacists:https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PEBC_Ph2015

    Pharmacy technicians:https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PEBCtech

    Please note that some institutions may block the links to SurveyMonkey. If this occurs, please use a home computer. If the link still does not work, please send your name, personal e-mail address, and province/territory to PEBCTechs@proexam.org.

    The National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) recently updated the competencies that form the basis of the test content for the PEBC Qualifying Examinations for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Throughout June and July, PEBC is conducting surveys across Canada with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to help evaluate the importance of each of the competencies required at the beginning of professional practice. Data from the surveys will be used to update the Qualifying Examinations to reflect the revised competencies.

    New registration year, new CE cycle
    June 30, 2015

    Thank you pharmacists for submitting your professional portfolios and providing feedback on the Continuing Competence Program (CCP). According to our survey, 82 per cent of pharmacists “strongly agreed/agreed” that the CCP helped them to maintain and/or improve their professional competence. We’ll include a summary of your feedback and accordingly, some of the enhancements we’ve made to the CCP portal in the July/August issue of ACP news (out mid-July).

    Here’s a teaser:

    “I felt that the new learning format was a very good change to the way CEUs are completed and recorded as it makes us, in a good way, be more accountable for our learning.” – Alberta pharmacist

    Back to the new CE cycle:  the 2015/2016 cycle is now activated and you can start entering your Learning Records and completing the prescribed activity for 2015/2016. 

    For the 2015/2016 CE cycle, pharmacists must complete the Jurisprudence Self-Assessment tool (located in the Self-Assessment section of the CCP portal). This tool will support you in assessing your jurisprudence knowledge and help you identify potential learning needs. ACP will NOT be monitoring or keeping track of your results—this is for your own continuing professional development.

    Jurisprudence is not only about drug schedules and prescription regulations, it is about your everyday pharmacy practice, patient care, and prescribing. It is your responsibility, regardless of where you practise, to be aware of and understand the current Standards of Practice, Code of Ethics, and federal and provincial legislation that define expectations of your practice.

    What are the annual competence program requirements?

    Every year, all pharmacists on the clinical register are required to:

    1. Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle and document each learning activity on one or more Learning Records;
    2. Implement at least one CEU equivalent of learning into their practice and document this on an Implementation Record; and
    3. Complete required learning assigned by the Competence Committee. For the 2015/2016 CE cycle, this is completion of the Jurisprudence Self-Assessment tool.
    New pharmacy licence? Update your website
    June 30, 2015

    When you receive your new pharmacy licence, ensure it is uploaded onto your website. Section 23 of the Pharmacy and Drug Regulation requires that pharmacy websites must display a scanned copy of the current pharmacy licence.

    Please ensure  information on your website is current and meets all the requirements outlined in the Pharmacy and Drug Regulation (Section 23):

    • The location, mailing address, email address and telephone number of the licensed pharmacy
    • The name, pharmacist practice permit number, and business address of the licensee
    • A statement that the licensee is required to provide, on the request of a patient, the name and practice permit number of any regulated member who provides a pharmacy service to the patient or who engages in the practice of pharmacy with respect to a patient
    • The name and business address of the proprietor
    • If the proprietor is a corporation, the name of the proprietor’s representative
    A scanned copy of the Patient Concerns poster (a link to the poster on the ACP website is also acceptable).
    PEBC assessors needed
    June 30, 2015

    PEBC is seeking assessors in Calgary and Edmonton for the pharmacy technician OSPE on Sunday, Sept. 13 and the pharmacist OSCE on Saturday, Nov. 7.

     If interested, please complete the PEBC assessor recruitment form and return to the PEBC contacts listed on the form.

    Hearing notice: E. Joyce Chen Pon
    June 24, 2015
    Hearing status Scheduled
    Registrant E. Joyce Chen Pon
    Charge Unprofessional Conduct and Misconduct
    Date September 16, 2015
    Time 9:30 a.m.
    Location

    Alberta College of Pharmacists
    1100-8215 112 St. NW
    Edmonton, AB   T6G 2C8

    In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.
     
    To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre-registration is required.
     
    Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.
     
    Please direct media inquiries to Shirley Nowicki, Communications Director, at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca.
    Hearing rescheduled: Cyril Bright
    June 16, 2015
    Hearing status Scheduled
    Registrant Cyril Bright
    Charge Unprofessional Conduct
    Date October 8, 2015
    Time 9:30 a.m.
    Location

    Alberta College of Pharmacists
    1100-8215 112 St. NW
    Edmonton, AB   T6G 2C8

    In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.
     
    To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre-registration is required.
     
    Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.
     
    Please direct media inquiries to Shirley Nowicki, Communications Director, at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca.
    ACP employment opportunity: communications coordinator
    June 16, 2015

    Reporting to the Communications Director, the Communications Coordinator plays a vital supporting role in planning and executing the college’s communications programs and projects. Major responsibilities include developing written content for digital and print communications, updating and maintaining website content, creating high-impact special events, and coordinating the logistics of regional meetings, conferences and/or symposiums. The Communications Coordinator will also act as backup to the Social Media Coordinator and the Communications Director when necessary.

    For more information and application details, please see the posting on our Careers page.

    Council meeting: June 18, 2015
    June 16, 2015
    8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (closed session)
    12:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    Turner Valley Room
    The Fairmont Palliser, Calgary, AB
    View the agenda

    Council meetings are open to observers at council’s discretion. To reserve a seat, please call Leslie Ainslie at 780-990-0321, 1-877-227-3838, or email executiveassistant@pharmacists.ab.ca. Due to seating limitations, priority will be given to college registrants who have registered in advance of the meeting.

    PEBC pharmacist and technician competency surveys - your participation is requested!
    June 16, 2015

    The Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) needs pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in active practice to take surveys to evaluate the importance of the competencies required at the beginning of professional practice. If you are in active practice in a patient care setting and are willing to participate in the survey as a representative of Alberta, please take a few minutes now to register for the survey.

    Pharmacists:https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PEBC_Ph2015
    Pharmacy technicians:https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PEBCtech

    Please note that some institutions may block the links to SurveyMonkey. If this occurs, please use a home computer. If the link still does not work, please send your name, personal e-mail address, and province/territory to PEBCTechs@proexam.org.

    In June and July, PEBC is conducting important surveys to evaluate the importance of the competencies required of pharmacists and regulated pharmacy technicians at the beginning of professional practice. The National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) recently updated the competencies that form the basis of the test content outlines for the PEBC Qualifying Examinations for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Data from the surveys will be used to update the Qualifying Examinations to reflect the revised competencies.

    Congratulations Class of 2015!
    June 16, 2015

    On June 4, pharmacy graduates and their families gathered in camaraderie to celebrate with ACP on the morning of their convocation. In welcoming the newest members of the profession, ACP shared pride in the accomplishments of the 2015 graduating class, and acknowledged the magnitude of responsibilities awaiting them.

     

    “ACP is excited to welcome a new generation of pharmacists who are eager to evolve, lead change and bring new perspectives to meet the rising needs of our diverse and growing communities,” says Greg Eberhart, ACP’s Registrar.

    ACP President Brad Willsey shared an inspirational message to mine the confidence of these young graduates to courageously lead by example, take responsibility for their professional journey, and apply their knowledge and skills in a way that will truly make a difference in the lives of those they will serve. 

    “The hallmark of excellence begins with you – it means demonstrating a strong work ethic, practicing with integrity, and always showing respect and compassion to those in your care,” emphasized Brad. “Excellence in our work also means acting to uphold professional standards of practice. It means employing critical thinking skills, collaborating with others, and applying sound judgement to make informed decisions. We must also respect the rights of patients to make their own choices, and involve them in decision-making.”   

    Michelle Berresheim, a 2015 APEX Future of Pharmacy Award recipient, also shared a message of hope, encouragement and challenge to the grads to be the best that they can be. “You get out what you put in,” Michelle emphasized. “Regardless of where you work or what your title is, if you are willing to put the time and effort into whatever it is you are working on – whether it’s your practice, a new program, an educational opportunity, your relationships with patients, or a research initiative – trust me when I say that your hard work WILL be rewarded. The success you achieve in your career will be proportional to the quality and quantity of effort you put in.”

    An awards presentation ensued, with the following individuals receiving recognition:

    • Value Drug Mart Leadership Award: Leah Hodgins (Stickel)
    • Institutional Preceptor of the Year: Peter Macek, Edmonton Remand Centre
    • Community Preceptor of the Year: Morenike Olaosebikan, Shoppers Drug Mart #381
    • ACP Gold Medal: June Chen
    • APSA Past President award: Brad Snodgrass

    The grad breakfast is an annual ACP tradition and an event all of us look forward to!  Watch our Facebook page for an ACP Grad Breakfast photo gallery (coming soon).

    Expand your knowledge of opioid dependence treatment
    June 16, 2015

    Are you involved in opioid dependence treatment? Register online now for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) opioid dependence treatment core course—Alberta version.

    Start date: September 21, 2015
    To: November 20, 2015
    More information and registration

    Offered through the University of Calgary Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development, this course is designed to promote inter-professional collaboration among the health care team involved in opioid dependence treatment. Online modules, webinars, podcasts, and virtual patients will be used to teach skills and review guidelines for effective and safe management of clients receiving methadone or buprenorphine maintenance treatment for opioid dependence.

    New Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Clinical Pathway podcast
    June 2, 2015

    In November last year, ACP informed you about a new online Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Clinical Pathway to aid in the identification, management, and referral of adults with CKD. The pathway provides information and recommendations that assist in the screening, diagnosis, management and referral of adults with CKD.

    Recently, CKD Pathway developed a short (less than 10 minutes) podcast around a family physician’s perspective in using the CKD pathway in clinical practice.

    After hearing the podcast, listeners will be able to:          

    1. Recognize the criteria for CKD targeted testing;
    2. Identify what tests that should be ordered (and how often); and
    3. Know how to diagnose, manage and refer patients with kidney disease using the Online CKD Clinical Pathway.

    You can get the podcast from the W21C Patient Safety Podcast (Episode 40) on iTunes or can download it from the W21C website - http://www.patientsafetypodcast.com/home/episode-guide/epi-40_  

    Please visit the CKD Clinical Pathway for more information about how they can support you in treating patients with kidney disease.

    Continuing Competence Program - you've crossed the finish line!
    June 2, 2015

    Congratulations to all pharmacists who completed the requirements of the new Continuing Competence Program. 

    As author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “Don’t let your learning lead to knowledge. Let your learning lead to action.” During this past registration year, you’ve accomplished this by implementing your learning, using the new online portal, and completing the new Continuing Competence Program. Great job

    Every year, ACP selects a small sample of pharmacists’ professional portfolios for audit. Selected portfolios (learning records, implementation record, and supporting documents) will be reviewed by at least two peer assessors (pharmacists). Pharmacists whose portfolios are audited will be informed whether their portfolio has met the established standards and will receive feedback about their portfolio based on the seven key indicators of a successful Implementation Record. For more information about the audit process, please refer to the CCP audit section of the ACP website.

    Improving the program

    We welcome your feedback to improve the program. If you have not yet had the opportunity to provide feedback on the Continuing Competence Program, you may do so through this short survey. 

     

    Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Opioid Dependence Treatment Core Course
    June 2, 2015

    Register online now for the CAMH opioid dependence treatment core course—Alberta version.

    Start date: September 21, 2015
    To: November 20, 2015
    More information and registration

    Offered through the University of Calgary Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development, this course is designed to promote interprofessional collaboration among the health care team involved in opioid dependence treatment. Online modules, webinars, podcasts, and virtual patients will be used to teach skills and review guidelines for effective and safe management of clients receiving methadone or buprenorphine maintenance treatment for opioid dependence.

    Red Deer College needs pharmacist and pharmacy technician volunteers
    June 2, 2015

    Red Deer College is looking for a pharmacist (community practice) and a pharmacy technician (hospital practice) to be part of the advisory committee for the college’s Pharmacy Technician Program.

    These volunteer (unpaid) positions require individuals to participate in 2-3 meetings a year. The volunteers will be compensated for mileage if necessary. Meetings take place in Red Deer.

    If interested, please respond to:
    Terri Granigan - Chairperson, Pharmacy Technician Program
    terri.granigan@rdc.ab.ca
    Phone number: 403-342-3169

    May 2015 Health Product InfoWatch now available
    May 28, 2015

    The May 2015 issue of Health Product InfoWatch (formerly Adverse Reaction Newsletter), published by the Marketed Health Products Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, is now available. This newsletter is a monthly publication providing safety information on pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and natural health products.

    In this issue:

    Pharmacist online renewal reminder
    May 19, 2015

    Before you can complete your online renewal, you must ensure you have submitted your Competence Program requirements via the CCP portal.

    Once you have submitted all CCP requirements, you can proceed with your online renewal.

    1. Go to the ACP registrant portal: https://acp.alinityapp.com/webclient/
    2. Log on and select the Renewal tab. Follow the tabs under Renewal for each step of the renewal process.

    See the 2015 tip sheet for more information

    Competence Program team challenge update
    May 19, 2015

    It’s time for a Continuing Competence Program (CCP) team huddle! There are two weeks remaining and you are almost at the finish line. Another 245 pharmacists have completed the CCP Tutorial since our last report, bringing our team total up to 4,369. Keep going—we are almost all there! 

    Our motivational quote for the team this week is:

    “It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”

    – Paul “Bear” Bryant

    1. Complete the mandatory Continuing Competence Program (CCP) tutorial – Available in the Self-Assessment / Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal

    2. Complete learning activities – Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle (June 1 to May 31) and document each activity on a Learning Record

    3. Put your learning to use – Implement a minimum of one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an Implementation Record (you only need to complete one record)

    4. Submit your Learning and Implementation Records to ACP by May 31, 2015

    For assistance, please contact a member of the competence team at competence@pharmacists.ab.ca, and/or review the FAQ’s on the ACP website: pharmacists.ab.ca – FAQ – Competence Program.

    Update from the April 22-23 council meeting
    May 5, 2015

    Council convened in Edmonton on April 22 and 23. At the meeting, council approved five strategic goals which will be the foundation for its business over the next five years. They approved new rules for accepting resolutions, and elected a new slate of officers for the 2015-16 council year.

     

    Highlights from Council – April 22-23, 2015


    Strategic goals (2016-2020) – Council approved the following five strategic goals as foundations to its business priorities over the next five years:

    • Pharmacists will consistently conduct an appropriate assessment of each patient prior to providing any pharmacist service;
    • Patient care records will include continuous documentation of pharmacist assessments, treatment plans, record of care, and monitoring results;
    • Pharmacy technicians will be integrated into pharmacy practice teams, exercising responsibility for roles they’re authorized to fulfill;
    • Patients will have access to pharmacist prescribing and injections through all licensed pharmacy practice settings; and,
    • Patients will expect pharmacists to provide appropriate assessments, advice, and support about their health (treatment) plan at each encounter.

    Election of officers – the following officers were elected for the 2015-16 council term. Officers will hold office between July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016:

    • Rick Hackman (District 3) – President
    • Taciana Pereira (District 3) – President-Elect
    • Brad Couldwell (District 5) – Executive Member at Large
    • Brad Willsey (District 1) – Past President

    Rules for resolutions – Council approved rules for receiving and deliberating resolutions submitted by members. A call for resolutions will be made annually prior to 4:30 p.m. on the first Friday in September. A resolution, including at least 10 signatures of voting members, may be submitted to the Resolutions Committee prior to 4:30 p.m. on the first Friday in October. 

    Resolutions shall:

    • be consistent with the mission, vision and value statements of the college;
    • address only one subject;
    • be factual and include the proposed disposition of the motion approved;
    • present a positive position to assist in resolving a negative situation (a resolution should not be entirely critical and a person or group should not be named in it); and,
    • be supported by primary reference sources (i.e., statistics or data where appropriate)

    A resolution cannot address an amendment to any federal or provincial legislation, or ACP bylaws.

    For more information, please view the Rules for Resolutions.


    Inspections appointed by the Registrar – council received findings and recommendations from the Registrar resulting from two inspections appointed during 2014 into pharmacist practices. The inspections addressed pharmacist practice related to:

    • “Baby Annie” – Report of the Child and Youth Advocate
    • Immunization Clinic – NorQuest College

    The findings and recommendations will be shared through forthcoming articles in acpnews. Please watch for these, as the insights may be valuable in improving your own practice.


    Mandatory immunizations – council continued its deliberation about whether pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should be mandated to receive annual influenza immunizations. Council asked the registrar to conduct further research into the question; however, the deliberations introduced observations and questions such as the following:

    • Pharmacy students are required to be immunized against influenza prior to going on practice rotations.
    • Should all personnel working in a pharmacy be immunized, or should this be restricted to regulated professionals?
    • Should immunizations against mumps, measles, and other community acquired diseases be required?
    • How would such a policy be enforced?
    • What is our jurisdiction to establish such a policy, and what would be the best approach (registration requirement, ethics, standards)?

    Drug scheduling – The Scheduled Drugs Regulation expires in September 2016. This is an opportune time to review the regulation, and to make amendments for the future. Council reflected on the history of the regulation, its structure, and how it is currently administered. 

    Council reviewed a request from Alberta Health to move some vaccines from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2, but did not make a ruling. The briefing from Alberta Health indicates that it wishes to make vaccines more accessible. Council has requested further information from Alberta Health, to better understand how existing policies might be amended to further achieve this goal.

    Council had a preliminary discussion about the feasibility of moving non-prescription codeine products from Schedule 2 to Schedule 1. Council explored the relative therapeutic value of these products, risks associated with them, and whether public need would be negatively impacted if rescheduling were to occur.


    Rules for registration and the Continuing Competence Program (CCP) – council approved minor amendments to the rules for the Continuing Competence Program and registration.

    National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day is May 9
    May 5, 2015
    “Canada is the second largest consumer of prescription opioids in the world, and there has been a notable increase in recent years of overdose deaths, emergency room visits and admissions to substance abuse treatment programs because of opioids. National Prescription Drug Drop-off Day provides an opportunity to educate Canadians of the risks and harms of keeping unused medications in their homes, and supports the efforts of pharmacists, law enforcement and community leaders on this important health and safety issue.”
    Rita Notarandrea
    Chief Executive Officer (interim), Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse

    The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has partnered with the Canadian Pharmacists Association, Canadian Medical Association, and Partnership for a Drug-Free Canada to hold the third annual National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day on May 9, 2015. Canadians are encouraged to take back unused/unwanted medications to their local pharmacies. For more information, please visit the CACP National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day 2015 website.
    PEBC assessors needed
    May 5, 2015

    PEBC is seeking assessors for the pharmacist OSCE on Sunday, May 24 in both Calgary and Edmonton. They have a record number of candidates, and have added another group to the exam. Interested individuals with at least two years of experience can contact:

    Calgary: Yoshiko Shimizu pebc-calgary@shaw.ca 
    Edmonton: Shelley Takacs: takacs@ualberta.ca

    Once PEBC receives your interest, they will send you the application form and qualification requirements.

    Competence Program team challenge update
    May 5, 2015

    Since the last issue of The Link, 245 more pharmacists have completed the CCP Tutorial. That brings our team total to 4,119. Great job!

    Online renewal is now open. Pharmacists who have completed their learning and implementation records may now submit their professional portfolio via the CCP portal. There are two steps required to submit your portfolio:

    1. Click the submit button, and
    2. Complete the declaration that appears in the portal.

    For questions about submitting your professional portfolio, please see our help guide.

    If you are still working on your professional portfolio, don’t worry—there is still time. Chances are you’ve already completed your implementation objective without even realizing it. Your implementation does not need to be complicated, time-consuming, or all-encompassing. You are on the right path if you can demonstrate that learning was “put to use,” and as a result, improvements were made or knowledge was transferred. For additional tips, please refer to our special CCP edition of The Link.

    1. Complete the mandatory Continuing Competence Program (CCP) tutorial – Available in the Self-Assessment / Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal
    2. Complete learning activities – Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle (June 1 to May 31) and document each activity on a Learning Record
    3. Put your learning to use – Implement a minimum of one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an Implementation Record (you only need to complete one record)
    4. Submit your Learning and Implementation Records to ACP by May 31, 2015

    For assistance, please contact a member of the competence team at competence@pharmacists.ab.ca; and/or review the FAQs on the ACP website: pharmacists.ab.ca – FAQ – Competence Program.

    Attention students: apply now for the ACP Leadership Development Award
    May 5, 2015

    To support the development and advancement of professionalism, citizenship, and leadership in pharmacy, ACP has created the Leadership Development Award. The award will be presented annually to a pharmacy student entering their third or fourth year of study at the U of A, and who has contributed and achieved measurable results in the award criteria. For more eligibility and application details, please see the terms of reference on our website.

    The deadline to apply for the 2015 award is May 15.

    Apply by May 15 for ACP's second annual leadership forum
    May 5, 2015

    ACP has engaged the Banff Centre for Leadership to facilitate the second annual leadership forum. ACP invites applications from aspiring pharmacist and pharmacy technician leaders to participate in this professional development opportunity.

     

    Council has identified strong leadership as a critical success factor in pharmacy practice, and for the work of the college. Leadership skills are important across our professions, whether it means being a practice leader, or an organizational leader. These skills are valuable in our family and community lives too.

    The forum will introduce aspiring pharmacy leaders to thought processes and skills to help them lead in a world of constant change. Skilled facilitators will guide participants through group and individual learning activities to build new skills and confidence. The end learning will be applicable to any practice setting.

    Event details
    Dates and times: 5:00 p.m. June 18, 2015 to late afternoon Saturday June 20, 2015
    Location: Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta

    ACP will cover accommodation and meal costs for candidates selected to attend. Transportation and out-of-pocket expenses will be personal responsibilities.

    How to apply
    To apply, please submit:

    • A covering letter describing your leadership aspirations, particularly as they relate to your professional role and ACP; and
    • A copy of your CV, outlining your professional background, achievements, leadership experiences, and awards received.

    This information will be the foundation for selecting candidates for the limited number of positions available.

    Application deadline May 15
    Please forward your application and supporting documentation to executiveassistant@pharmacists.ab.ca by noon on Friday, May 15, 2015. We will notify selected candidates early the following week.

    Pharmacist online renewal now open
    May 5, 2015
    Online renewal for pharmacists opened last week. Those on the clinical register received an email with instructions on renewing their practice permits. Complete details on the renewal process can also be found on the ACP Website. Pharmacist renewals are due May 31, 2015.
    APEX Awards ceremony recap
    May 5, 2015

    Warmth, laughter, and celebration flowed through the air during the APEX awards ceremony held on Tuesday, April 21 at Edmonton’s Royal Mayfair Golf Club. ACP and the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA) hosted the 2015 Alberta Pharmacy Excellence (APEX) Awards to honour the extraordinary pharmacists who have made a difference in the profession, in their communities, and in the lives of others

    ACP president Brad Willsey and RxA president Todd Prochnau lent their talents as emcees, while guests from across the province paid tribute to this year’s outstanding recipients.

    Event photos: view the album on our Facebook page.

    M.J. Huston Pharmacist of Distinction
    Roberta Stasyk (view profile / view video)
    Manager, Pharmacy Services at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Alberta Health Services; Edmonton

    W.L. Boddy Pharmacy Team Award  
    Pharmacare Clinical Pharmacist Team (view profile / view video)
    Ryan Stempfle, VP Clinical & Pharmacy Strategy, Pharmacist; Edmonton

    Friend of Pharmacy
    Ann Vlahadamis (view profile / view video)
    Nurse Practitioner at the Cross Cancer Institute, Alberta Health Services; Edmonton

    Future of Pharmacy 
    Michelle Berresheim (view profile / view video)
    Clinical Practice Leader, Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, Alberta Health Services; Grande Prairie

    Andrew Fuller (view profile / view video)
    Clinical Operations Manager, Pharmacare Specialty Pharmacy; Edmonton

    Tyler Watson (view profile / view video)
    Clinical Operations Manager, Pharmacare Specialty Pharmacy; Edmonton

    Pfizer Consumer Healthcare Bowl of Hygeia  
    Robert Mattice (view profile / view video)
    Pharmacist/Owner, Grand Centre Value Drug Mart; Cold Lake

    The APEX Awards recognize excellence in pharmacy practice in Alberta. The awards are jointly funded, promoted, and presented by the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA) and the Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP).

    Hearing notice: Calvin Boey
    April 21, 2015
    Hearing status Rescheduled
    Registrant Calvin Boey
    Charge Unprofessional Conduct
    Date November 17, 2015 
    Time 9:30 a.m.
    Location

    Alberta College of Pharmacists
    1100-8215 112 St. NW
    Edmonton, AB   T6G 2C8

    In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.
     
    To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre-registration is required.
     
    Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.
     
    Please direct media inquiries to Shirley Nowicki, Communications Director, at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca.
    Hearing notice: Cyril Bright
    April 21, 2015
    Hearing status Scheduled
    Registrant Cyril Bright
    Charge Unprofessional Conduct
    Date June 4, 2015
    Time 9:30 a.m.
    Location

    Alberta College of Pharmacists
    1100-8215 112 St. NW
    Edmonton, AB   T6G 2C8

    In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.
     
    To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre-registration is required.
     
    Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.
     
    Please direct media inquiries to Shirley Nowicki, Communications Director, at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca.
    Competence Program team challenge update
    April 21, 2015

    Our team total is growing. Since the last issue of The Link, 224 more pharmacists have completed the Continuing Competence Program (CCP) tutorial. That brings our team total to 3,874. Congratulations on taking this first step; as we all know, the first step is always the hardest!

    Keep going…there are only three more steps remaining for you to meet program requirements by May 31, 2015.

    If you’re feeling left behind, don’t despair—there is still time to join us. Visit the CCP Portal today to get started.

    In addition to the CCP tutorial, there are a number of resources available to help you to succeed in the program. Please refer to last week’s special CCP edition of The Linkwhere we’ve highlighted these beneficial tools and resources for your convenience.

    1. Complete the mandatory Continuing Competence Program (CCP) tutorial – Available in the Self-Assessment / Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal
    2. Complete learning activities – Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle (June 1 to May 31) and document each activity on a Learning Record
    3. Put your learning to use – Implement a minimum of one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an Implementation Record (you only need to complete one record)
    4. Submit your Learning and Implementation Records to ACP

    For assistance, please contact a member of the competence team at competence@pharmacists.ab.ca, and/or review the FAQs on the ACP website:  pharmacists.ab.ca – FAQ – Competence Program.

    Council election results
    April 21, 2015

    Elections for council members in District 5 (Calgary, pharmacists) and District A (Northern Alberta, pharmacy technicians) closed at 4:30 p.m. on April 9, 2015.

    Congratulations to Kamal Dullat (District 5) and Kelly Boparai (District A). They have both been re-elected for three-year terms starting July 1, 2015.

    ACP wishes to extend appreciation to Naeem Ladhani (candidate – District 5) and Don Ridley (candidate – District A) for their interest in providing leadership, as well as thanks to all voters for participating in this year's council election.

    Are you an aspiring pharmacy leader?
    April 21, 2015

    Do you want to learn more about how to lead in a world of constant change? 

    ACP has engaged the Banff Centre for Leadership to facilitate our second annual Leadership Forum. ACP is now inviting applications from aspiring pharmacist and pharmacy technician leaders to participate in this professional development opportunity. Fifteen aspiring pharmacists and pharmacy technician leaders will be selected to attend.  ACP will cover accommodation and meal costs. Transportation and out-of-pocket expenses will be personal responsibilities.

    Dates & times: Thursday evening June 18, 2015 to late afternoon Saturday, June 20, 2015
    Location: Banff Centre, Banff, AB

    How to apply
    To apply, please submit:

    • A covering letter that describes your leadership aspirations, particularly as they relate to your professional role and ACP; and
    • A copy of your CV, outlining your professional background and achievements, your leadership experiences, and any awards that you have received.

    This information will be the foundation for selecting candidates for the limited number of positions available.

    Application deadline: May 15
    Please forward your application and supporting documentation to executiveassistant@pharmacists.ab.ca by noon on Friday, May 15, 2015. We will notify selected candidates early the following week.

    PEBC assessors needed
    April 21, 2015

    PEBC is seeking assessors for the pharmacist OSCE on Sunday, May 24 in both Calgary and Edmonton. They have a record number of candidates, and have added another group to the exam. Interested individuals with at least two years of experience can contact:

    Calgary: Yoshiko Shimizu pebc-calgary@shaw.ca
    Edmonton: Shelley Takacs takacs@ualberta.ca

    Once PEBC receives your interest, they will send you the application form and qualification requirements.

    Have a question about the audit process?
    April 14, 2015

    Every year, a percentage of pharmacists will be selected to have their professional portfolios audited. Your portfolio may be selected for an audit as a result of:

    • Random selection,
    • A late or incomplete submission, or
    • A request of the registrar as a result of concerns received about your practice.

    If selected, your portfolio will go through an administrative audit and your implementation record will be peer assessed by at least two pharmacists trained in assessment. Because you submitted all of your information when you submitted your portfolio, you will not be notified until the audit has been completed.

    Pharmacists who have been randomly selected for audit/competence assessment and achieved the established standard within the last five years and pharmacists who have been granted additional prescribing authorization within the last five years will not be selected for random audit. The portfolios for these pharmacists will only be selected for an audit if there is another reason such as a late or incomplete submission or a request from the registrar. 

    Resources:

    Need to learn about the new Continuing Competence Program?
    April 14, 2015

    Every year, all pharmacists on the clinical register are required to:

    1. Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle and document each learning activity on one or more Learning Records;
    2. Implement at least one CEU worth of learning into their practice and document this on an Implementation Record; and
    3. Complete any required learning that has been assigned by the Competence Committee. For the 2014/2015 CE cycle, pharmacists must complete the CCP tutorial to learn about the new program.

    * Exemptions: pharmacists who register on the clinical register for the first time in Alberta between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2015 OR pharmacists who reinstated on the clinical register between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2015.

    Resources:

    Need help with determining your implementation objective?
    April 14, 2015

    Resources:

    Checklist - ensure your implementation objective:

    • Results in one of the following outcomes:
      • Improvement to your professional practice, organization, and/or the way care is delivered; and/or
      • Transfer of knowledge, skill, or ability to others
    • Affects another individual (e.g., a patient, a co-worker, another healthcare professional)
    • Produces evidence of implementation
    • Directly involves the application of at least 1 CEU
    • Relates to one of the pharmacy domains (pharmacy practice, medical knowledge, or systems-based practice)
    Need help with your Implementation Record?
    April 14, 2015

    Resources:

    Checklist – Should your Implementation Record be selected for audit, your peer assessors will be looking for the following:

    • Are the learning activities identified relevant to your implementation objective?
    • Is your implementation objective clearly outlined and related to pharmacy practice, medical knowledge, and/or systems-based practice?
    • Is your rationale for choosing the implementation objective and how it is relevant to your practice clearly indicated?
    • Are the steps you took to achieve the implementation objective clearly indicated?
    • Is the outcome of the implementation clearly explained?
    • Is it clearly evident that you played a role in the implementation and that the implementation objective was achieved?
    • Do your records appear professional?
    Message from the Competence Director
    April 14, 2015

    Dear Pharmacists,

    As you know, ACP rolled out a new Continuing Competence Program (CCP) on July 1, 2014. If you plan to renew your 2015/2016 pharmacy practice permit, you are required to complete the new program requirements by May 31, 2015.

    To support you with understanding the new program, a number of tools and resources are available in the CCP portal: the CCP tutorial provides an in-depth look at the Continuing Competence Program, and the User Guide reviews the technical aspects and functions of the CCP portal. Since the roll-out of the program, we have created a number of additional resources outside of the CCP portal to help you with this new process and to succeed in the new program. This includes:

    • A number of articles providing tips on how to complete the program (available in ACP News);
    • A list of answers to frequently-asked-questions; and
    • A help guide to submitting your professional portfolio (new resource).

    To help you with navigating through all the available resources, we have highlighted some of the articles and tools that you may find useful in this special edition of the Link. If you haven’t already, we recommend that you review some of the tips and FAQs prior to submitting your professional portfolio. If you require additional assistance, please feel free to contact a member of the competence team at competence@pharmacists.ab.ca. Alternatively, you may submit your questions using the Feedback/Questions button found in the CCP portal.

    This program was designed to support you with your professional development and focuses on quality improvement. We hope you find the program to be a positive and rewarding experience! We look forward to receiving your professional portfolios!

    Best regards,

    Debbie Lee, BSc Pharm
    Competence Director

    Are you involved in opioid dependence treatment?
    April 7, 2015

    From: April 8, 2015
    To: June 8, 2015
    More information & registration

    Offered through the University of Calgary Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development, this course is designed to promote interprofessional collaboration among the health care team involved in opioid dependence treatment. Online modules, webinars, podcasts, and virtual patients will be used to teach skills and review guidelines for effective and safe management of clients receiving methadone or buprenorphine maintenance treatment for opioid dependence. 

    Apply by May 15 for ACP's second annual leadership forum
    April 7, 2015

    Dates & times: Thursday evening June 18, 2015 to late afternoon Saturday, June 20, 2015
    Location: Banff Centre, Banff, AB 

    ACP has engaged the Banff Centre for Leadership to facilitate our second annual Leadership Forum. ACP is now inviting applications from aspiring pharmacist and pharmacy technician leaders to participate in this professional development opportunity. Fifteen aspiring pharmacists and pharmacy technician leaders will be selected to attend. ACP will cover accommodation and meal costs for candidates selected to attend. Transportation and out-of-pocket expenses will be personal responsibilities.

    “Events like this give me great hope for the future of our practice.”

    “Provided an excellent forum for connecting with others aspiring to lead the profession in a variety of ways.”

    “Great way to self-assess and understand more about our respective leadership habits.”

    “Amazing experience!”

    More information
    The forum will introduce aspiring pharmacy leaders to thought processes and skills to help them lead in a world of constant change. With the help of skilled facilitators and a range of group and individual learning activities, participants will leave with new skills and confidence. The learning will be applicable to any practice setting.

    How to apply
    To apply, please submit:

    • A covering letter that describes your leadership aspirations, particularly as they relate to your professional role and ACP; and
    • A copy of your CV, outlining your professional background and achievements, your leadership experiences, and any awards that you have received.

    This information will be the foundation for selecting candidates for the limited number of positions available.

    Application deadline May 15
    Please forward your application and supporting documentation to executiveassistant@pharmacists.ab.ca by noon on Friday, May 15, 2015. We will notify selected candidates early the following week.

    Competence Program team challenge update
    April 7, 2015

    This week we would like to congratulate the 552 pharmacists who completed the Continuing Competence Program (CCP) Tutorial since the last issue of The Link. You join the 3,098 pharmacists who have already taken the first step to learn about the new Continuing Competence Program. That brings our team total to 3,650. Way to go!

    There are only three more steps remaining for you to meet program requirements by May 31, 2015. 

    For everyone else still at the starting gate, don’t despair—we invite you to take some time over the next few days to familiarize yourself with the program requirements. To access the CCP Portal, visit pharmacists.ab.ca/ccp-portal

    In addition to the CCP tutorial, there are a number of resources in the CCP portal, ACP’s website, and in our ACP newsletters that are available to help you to succeed in the program.

    Please look for a special edition of the Link coming your way next week focused solely on the Continuing Competence Program.

    1. Complete the mandatory Continuing Competence Program (CCP) tutorial – Available in the Self-Assessment / Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal
       
    2. Complete learning activities – Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle (June 1 to May 31) and document each activity on a Learning Record
       
    3. Put your learning to use – Implement a minimum of one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an Implementation Record (you only need to complete one record)
       
    4. Submit your Learning and Implementation Records to ACP

    For assistance, please contact a member of the competence team at competence@pharmacists.ab.ca, and/or review the FAQ’s on the ACP website.

    Hearing notice: Adel Agina
    March 31, 2015
    Hearing status Appeal pending
    Registrant Adel Agina
    Charge Unprofessional Conduct
    Date June 17, 2015
    Time 9:30 a.m.
    Location

    Alberta College of Pharmacists
    1100-8215 112 St. NW
    Edmonton, AB   T6G 2C8

    In accordance with Section 78 of the Health Professions Act, this conduct hearing will be open to the public unless the hearing tribunal accepts a motion or application to close the hearing.
     
    To inquire about available seating to observe this hearing, contact Margaret Morley at 780-990-0321 or hearings@pharmacists.ab.ca. Pre-registration is required.
     
    Please note that the hearing schedule is subject to change. Members of the public should check the ACP website for current hearing information.
     
    Please direct media inquiries to Ashley Edwards Scott, Communications Coordinator at 780-990-0321 or communications@pharmacists.ab.ca.
    March 2015 Health Product InfoWatch now available
    March 26, 2015

    The March 2015 issue of Health Product InfoWatch (formerly Adverse Reaction Newsletter), published by the Marketed Health Products Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, is now available. This newsletter is a monthly publication providing safety information on pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices and natural health products.

    In this issue:

    Alternative to commercially available dexamethasone elixir
    March 24, 2015

    In follow up to an article published in the Feb. 10, 2015 issue of The Link regarding dose volumes for pediatric patients, one of our registrants made us aware of an alternative to commercially available dexamethasone elixir. The recipe has good stability, is well-researched, and does not contain alcohol.

    The recipe is described in detail in an article on the Canadian Journal of Hospital Pharmacy’s website. (CJHP54.2 (2001): 96-101.)

    Reminder: pharmacists prohibited from prescribing narcotics and controlled drugs
    March 24, 2015

    As per Standard 11.7 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians, pharmacists must notprescribe narcotics, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, anabolic steroids, and other drugs regulated by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

    Pharmacists with additional prescribing authorization may prescribe Schedule 1 drugs and blood products; however all pharmacists are expected to limit their prescribing to situations where they have an adequate understanding of the patient, the condition being treated, and the drug being prescribed.

     

    Dispensing the authorized quantity of biological prescriptions
    March 24, 2015

    ACP was recently made aware of a patient who received a prescription for seven doses of filgrastim (Neupogen®) when discharged from a hospital. When the patient filled the prescription at his community pharmacy, he received 10 doses (with instructions to use only the seven doses as prescribed). The pharmacist indicated that due to the high cost and low use of the medicine, only a full manufacturer’s box of 10 doses would be dispensed to the patient. 

    The Standards of Practice require that prescriptions be dispensed for the quantity or duration of treatment ordered, unless the pharmacist adapts the prescription in full compliance with Standards 11 and 12 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians. Pharmacists must only adapt prescription quantities when it is in the best interest of the patient. Pharmacists must not adapt prescription quantities out of convenience for the pharmacist or perceived economic benefit to the pharmacy.

    As stated in the Code of Ethics, pharmacists must: “Hold the well-being of each patient to be my primary consideration.”

    Attention accomplished second or third year U of A pharmacy student leaders!
    March 24, 2015

    New for 2015, ACP has created the Leadership Development award to support the development and advancement of professionalism, citizenship, and leadership in pharmacy. The award will be presentedannually to a pharmacy student entering their third or fourth year of study at the U of A, and who has contributed and achieved measurable results in the award categories. For more eligibility and application details, please see the terms of reference on our website.

    The deadline to apply for the 2015 award is May 15.

    Pharmacy Facebook pages
    March 24, 2015

    Does your pharmacy Facebook page meet the requirements of a pharmacy website?

    Section 23 of the Pharmacy and Drug Regulation outlines the information a licensee must display on a pharmacy website. If your pharmacy Facebook page does not contain all of the necessary information, there is a simple solution: add a link from your pharmacy Facebook page to your pharmacy’s full website.

    Section 23 of the Pharmacy and Drug Regulation states:

    23 If a licensed pharmacy uses a website to promote or offer pharmacy services to the public, the licensee must ensure that the website prominently displays

    (a) a copy of the licence and information required to be posted under section 22,(b) repealed AR 72/2009 s12,
    (c) the location, mailing address, e-mail address and telephone number of the licensed pharmacy,
    (d) the name, pharmacist practice permit number and business address of the licensee,
    (e) a statement that the licensee is required to provide, on the request of a patient, the name and practice permit number of any regulated member who provides a pharmacy service to the patient or who engages in the practice of pharmacy with respect to a patient,
    (f) the name and business address of the proprietor,
    (g) if the proprietor is a corporation, the name of the proprietor’s representative, and
    (h) other information required to be displayed by the council.

    If you use a website to promote or offer pharmacy services, you must ensure that all of the required information is prominently displayed. Any mention of a location and/or hours of operation is considered promotion.

    A scanned copy of your pharmacy licence will meet the requirements of Part (a). A scanned copy of the Patient Concerns poster will meet the requirements of Part (h).

    Online CAMH opioid dependence treatment core course - Alberta version
    March 24, 2015

    From: April 8, 2015
    To: June 8, 2015
    More information & registration

    Offered through the University of Calgary Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development, this online course is designed to promote inter-professional collaboration among the health care team involved in opioid dependence treatment. Online modules, webinars, podcasts, and virtual patients will be used to teach skills and review guidelines for effective and safe management of clients receiving methadone or buprenorphine maintenance treatment for opioid dependence. 

    Apply by May 15 for ACP's Second Annual Leadership Forum
    March 24, 2015

    ACP has engaged the Banff Centre for Leadership to facilitate our second annual Leadership Forum. ACP is now inviting applications from aspiring pharmacist and pharmacy technician leaders to participate in this professional development opportunity.

     

    Council has identified leadership as a critical success factor for pharmacy practice and the college. Leadership skills are important across our professions, whether it means being a practice leader or an organizational leader. These skills are of value in our family and community lives too.

    The forum will introduce aspiring pharmacy leaders to thought processes and skills to help them lead in a world of constant change. With the help of skilled facilitators and a range of group and individual learning activities, participants will leave with new skills and confidence. The learning will be applicable to any practice setting.

    Event details
    Dates: Thursday evening June 18, 2015 to late afternoon Saturday, June 20, 2015
    Location: Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta

    ACP will cover accommodation and meal costs for candidates selected to attend. Transportation and out-of-pocket expenses will be personal responsibilities.

    How to apply
    To apply, please submit:

    • A covering letter that describes your leadership aspirations, particularly as they relate to your professional role and ACP; and
    • A copy of your CV, outlining your professional background and achievements, your leadership experiences, and any awards that you have received.

    This information will be the foundation for selecting candidates for the limited number of positions available.

    The application deadline is May 15, 2015.

    Please forward your application and supporting documentation to leslie.ainslie@pharmacists.ab.ca by noon on Friday, May 15, 2015. We will notify selected candidates early the following week.

    Competence Program congratulations and team challenge
    March 24, 2015

    All of us at the ACP congratulate the 3,098 pharmacists who have already completed the prescribed Continuing Competence Program (CCP) tutorial online. Now, there are only three more steps remaining for you to meet program requirements by May 31, 2015.

    For everyone else who might need a bit more support and encouragement to get started, we invite you to take some time over the next few days to familiarize yourself with the program requirements. Working through the program in small chunks will definitely alleviate any unnecessary or last minute stress. Remember, in the words of popular English actor Christopher Park, “Procrastination is like a credit card:  it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.”

    Let’s track our progress collectively. In the next few issues of The Link, we will visually provide you an update on our team thermometer to demonstrate our progress in achieving a 100 per cent completion rate. Ready…set…go!

    To access the CCP Portal, visit: https://pharmacists.ab.ca/ccp-portal

    1. Complete the mandatory Continuing Competence Program (CCP) tutorial – Available in the Self-Assessment / Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal
    2. Complete learning activities – Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle (June 1 to May 31) and document each activity on a Learning Record
    3. Put your learning to use – Implement a minimum of one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an Implementation Record (you only need to complete one record)
    4. Submit your Learning and Implementation Records to ACP

    For assistance, please contact a member of the competence team at competence@pharmacists.ab.ca; and/or review the FAQs on the ACP website.

    Attention students: apply now for the new ACP Leadership Development Award
    March 10, 2015

    To support the development and advancement of professionalism, citizenship, and leadership in pharmacy, ACP has created the new Leadership Development Award. The award will be presented annually to a pharmacy student entering their third or fourth year of study at the U of A, and who has contributed and achieved measurable results in the award categories. For more eligibility and application details, please see the terms of reference on our website.

    The deadline to apply for the 2015 award is May 15.

    Council update
    March 10, 2015

    ACP council has incorporated more long-term (10 years and beyond) and strategic (3-5 years) discussions into its annual business cycle, and has therefore increased the frequency of meetings. Council met on February 25 and 26; most of the discussion was dedicated to identifying strategic goals for the next 3-5 years. Guided by its strategic direction document adopted in 2011, critical questions council explored included, but were not limited to:

    • How can we enhance the public’s understanding and expectations about what pharmacists do?
    • How can we improve the consistency of quality pharmacy practice across Alberta?
    • How can we improve the quality of patient assessments performed by pharmacists prior to making drug use decisions (for dispensing, prescribing, or injecting purposes)?
    • How can we enhance the use of pharmacy human resources; and specifically, how can pharmacy technicians be more effectively incorporated into practice?

    From these discussions, council will approve strategic goals to serve as the foundation for ACP’s priorities and business plan development over the next 3-5 years.

    During this meeting, council also:

    • received results from ACP’s recent pharmacy technician survey;
    • had a discussion with Val Grdisa (Senior Nursing Officer) and Denise Perret (ADM Strategic Planning and Policy Development) to explore strategic considerations for healthcare delivery in Alberta;
    • approved amendments to the ACP Bylaws, which remove the requirement for an annual general meeting, in lieu of council’s commitment to enhance other opportunities for engagement with members;
    • considered an initial DRAFT of rules for inviting and receiving resolutions from members, based on the amended bylaws. Council provided direction for additional amendments; these to be considered again at council’s next meeting;
    • delegated responsibility to the Executive Committee to adjudicate applications from students entering their third or fourth year of study who apply for the college’s new Leadership Development Award; and,
    • appointed Anjli Acharya to a second, three-year term, as ACP’s appointee to the NAPRA Board of Directors.
    March is Pharmacy Awareness Month
    March 10, 2015

    March is Pharmacy Awareness Month! It’s time to celebrate the great work that’s happening in pharmacy and let the public know how you can help them.

    To get you started, check out CPhA’s information and resources, as well as CSHP’s materials. Looking for a giveaway to promote patient health and increase awareness? We still have health journals available (free, while quantities last). Want to celebrate the occasion while promoting the profession? The Alberta Pharmacy Students’ Association (APSA) has partnered with the Canadian Association of Pharmacy Students and Interns (CAPSI) to host a variety of events – check out the schedule on APSA’s website.

    Reminder: time is running out to meet CCP requirements
    March 10, 2015

    All pharmacists* must complete the new Continuing Competence Program (CCP) by May 31, 2015 to be eligible to renew their 2015/2016 practice permit. All CCP materials are available through the CCP portal on the ACP website.

    You are reminded to complete the mandatory CCP tutorial intended to help you learn about the new competence program. This tutorial is available in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal. In addition to this tutorial, refer to the Competence Program FAQ section on the ACP website, and recent issues of acpnews, for additional tips on how to meet the competence program requirements.

    * Exception: those who registered for the first time on the clinical register between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2015.

    1. I’m currently on maternity leave or I’m not living in Alberta right now. Can I be excused from the Continuing Competence Program? 
    No. All pharmacists on the clinical register must complete and submit a professional portfolio to ACP to be eligible to renew their practice permit for the following registration year. If you maintain your licence to practise pharmacy, you are responsible for maintaining your competence.

    If you feel that you cannot complete the requirements of the competence program and are NOT currently practising as a pharmacist in Alberta, you may choose to move to the associate register. However, when you move into the associate register, you are NOT permitted to practise as a pharmacist and no fees will be refunded. When you are ready to return to practice, you would have to reinstate as a clinical pharmacist and complete requirements per the reinstatement policies.

    2. How can I implement learning if I’m not currently working in a pharmacy?
    The competence program was designed to be applicable to pharmacists practising in different environments, including pharmacists who are not in direct patient care. What you choose to learn and implement should be based on your personal and professional learning and practice needs and current situation. Your implementation objective may be related to your current practice, your future practice, or your overall professional practice.

    Refer to the competence program articles in our recent issues of acpnews for tips on how to complete the new program. The Nov/Dec issue includes an article on how to implement learning outside of pharmacy practice.

    3. What are the requirements of an implementation?
    Your implementation must:

    • Result in one of the following outcomes:
      • Improvement to your professional practice, organization, and/or the way care is delivered; or
      • Transfer of knowledge, skill, or ability to others
    • Affect another individual (a patient, a co-worker, another healthcare professional)
    • Produce evidence of implementation
    • Directly involve the application of at least 1 CEU
    • Relate to one of the pharmacy domains (pharmacy practice, medical knowledge, or systems-based practice)

    Should your Implementation Record be chosen for audit, your peers will be looking for the following:

    1. The learning activities identified are relevant to the implementation objective
    2. The implementation objective is clearly outlined and relates to pharmacy practice, medical knowledge, and/or systems-based practice
    3. The rationale and relevance behind the chosen implementation objective are clearly indicated
    4. The steps the pharmacist took to achieve the implementation objective are clearly indicated and it is evident that the pharmacist played a role in the implementation
    5. The outcome of the implementation is clearly explained
    6. It is clearly evident that the implementation objective was achieved
    7. The information submitted is professional

    4. What supporting documentation should I upload as my evidence of implementation?
    You only need to submit one piece of evidence that showcases what you’ve achieved. Depending on what you’ve implemented, this may be a patient’s record of care, revised policies and procedures, or a resource/presentation you’ve developed. Choose the one piece of evidence that you believe best showcases what you’ve achieved and demonstrates that it was achieved by you during the current CE cycle (includes your name and a date within the current CE cycle). Depending on your evidence, you may wish to provide additional narrative in the Implementation Record or directly on the evidence to provide further explanation.

    5. How do I get the “checkmarks” to appear? 
    The progress indicator on the CCP portal home page lists the three components of the competence program: 1. Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities; 2. Learning Records; and 3. Implementation Records. Once you have met a component’s requirements, a checkmark should appear next to its title on the home page; checkmarks do not appear on the other pages. You may need to log out and into the portal again in order for the checkmark to appear. Here are the requirements to complete each component:

    Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities

    • Complete the CCP tutorial.

    Learning Records

    • Complete a minimum of 15 CEUs within the current CE cycle and document each learning activity on a Learning Record.
    • Answer questions one through seven in each Learning Record.

    Implementation Records

    • Answer questions one through eight in the Implementation Record.
      • Identify at least 1 CEU that is directly related to your implementation (Question 1).
      • Upload one piece of documentation that provides evidence of your implementation (Question 8).
    • Select one completed Implementation Record for submission.
    Preventing incidents with Clear Care contact lens solution
    March 10, 2015

    The Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada (ISMP Canada) has received reports from consumers who experienced pain and burning in the eyes after confusing Clear Care contact lens solution with a multi-purpose contact lens solution. Clear Care solution contains 3% hydrogen peroxide, and should not be used directly in the eye or as a rinsing solution for lenses. Due to the number of incident reports they have received, and that fact that many of the incidents resulted in corneal burns requiring emergency care, ISMP believes that additional steps are needed to make consumers aware of the need to check labels of contact lens solutions carefully.

    ISMP Canada has made the following recommendations for pharmacists: 

    • Do not display hydrogen peroxide-based contact lens cleaning solutions beside multi-purpose solutions.
    • In community pharmacies, consider storing hydrogen peroxide-based solutions behind the counter.
    • Before selling or recommending hydrogen peroxide-based contact lens cleaning solutions, confirm the intended use of the product and educate consumers about proper use.
    • Share the latest SafeMedicationUse.ca Clear Care alert with consumers and patients. Consider posting a copy of the alert near displays of hydrogen peroxide-based lens cleaning solutions.

    ISMP encourages pharmacists to review the Clear Care alerts and other alerts and newsletter on the SafeMedicationUse.ca website. To receive the latest publications from SafeMedicationUse.ca, please sign up to receive email communications on the www.SafeMedicationUs