News

Happy holidays
December 22, 2009

Best wishes from ACP staff to you for a happy, healthy holiday season and New Year.

Note: The ACP office will be closed between 1 p.m., Thurs., Dec. 24, 2009 and 8 a.m., Mon., Jan. 4, 2010.

PEBC to pilot Technician Qualifying Examination in Edmonton
December 22, 2009

The Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) will be conducting a pilot of the Qualifying Examination for pharmacy technicians in Edmonton on March 20 & 21, 2010. The exam will consist of two parts: a Multiple Choice Examination (MCQ) and an Objective Structured Practical Examination (OSPE). The Edmonton pilot will be open to 40 candidates.

Application deadline is January 11, 2010.

Eligibility

Those eligible for the pilot include:

A)  technicians who have graduated from a pharmacy technician training program that was accredited by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP) at the time they graduated.

B)  technicians who have not graduated from an accredited program but who are involved in the education, training or leadership of pharmacy technicians and who have completed either the PEBC evaluating examination or the Alberta or Ontario voluntary examinations.* 

*Only a small number of seats may be made available to Group B. This limitation is being applied because bridging education modules have not yet been offered in Alberta. Participation and success in this pilot will not exempt these candidates from the requirement to complete the Professional Practice bridging module and candidates in this category who choose to participate in the pilot are reminded that doing so before completion of the bridging program may hinder their chance of success.

Fees and deadlines
Candidates who participate in the pilot must be available on both March 20th and 21st and must participate in both the MCQ and the OSPE portions of the examination.

Candidates will be required to submit the PEBC exam fees when they apply to PEBC:

  • Multiple Choice Question Examination: $375
  • Objective Structured Performance Examination: $900
  • Total cost:  $1275
The Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) has agreed to assist PEBC in identifying pilot participants. We will endeavour to include candidates from each of the accredited training programs in Alberta and to include a cross section of candidates from both community and hospital practice.
 
How to apply
 
If you meet the criteria and you would like to participate in the pilot, please submit your application form to ACP by January 11, 2010. 

Deadlines:
  • Jan. 11, 2010 - Applications must be submitted to ACP via email or fax (Please do not submit exam fees to ACP)
  • Jan. 15, 2010 - Candidates selected to participate in the pilot will be notified by ACP and provided with a link to apply to PEBC
  • Jan. 25, 2010 - Candidates selected to participate in the pilot must submit their application and exam fees to PEBC
 
For more information about...

Originally published in the December 22, 2009, issue of The Link

Congrats to online tech renewal winner
December 22, 2009

Congratulations to Calgary technician Cynthia Taddeo! She renewed her technician registration online and won the value of her 2010 fees!

Originally published in the December 22, 2009, issue of The Link

New classes for the New Year
December 22, 2009

Get 2010 off to a great start by signing up for one of the great professional development events available in this province. 

Consider enrolling in one of the Practice Development classes. Their leading edge programs provide you with more confidence using your skills. The courses are accessible and appealing to all learning styles, practice settings, and even busy lifestyles.

Look into their courses on influenzaanticoagulationmenopause, and lab values. Be sure to check out Practice Skills: Boot Camp (registration deadline: January 11).

Also look to the Events section of the ACP website to keep you up-to-date on the continuing education opportunities throughout the year. 

Originally published in the December 22, 2009, issue of The Link

IPG Mentor/Preceptor Training
December 22, 2009

With the growing prominence of International Pharmacy Graduates (IPGs) in the Canadian pharmacy workforce, the importance of mentors, preceptors and experieintail education has grown. Enhance your capacity, increase your confidence, and gather knowledge and skills necessary to enhance the experiential education of IPGs.

When: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thurs., Feb. 4
Where: Western Room, Canadian Western Bank Building
10303 Jasper Ave, Edmonton

Free to pharmacists across Canada. To register, email ryan.keay@utoronto.ca.

This program is presented by Professor Zubin Austin of the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto.

Originally published in the December 22, 2009, issue of The Link

Reminder: Permission needed to store records off site
December 1, 2009

Amendments to the Pharmacy and Drug Regulation brought a new off-site record keeping requirement for all pharmacies.

Section 12(3):

Required records must be maintained at the pharmacy unless the licensee has applied to the registrar in writing to store them at a location other than the pharmacy.

The application form to store records off-site is available on ACP’s website under Pharmacist Resources/Forms.

Originally published in the December 1, 2009, issue of The Link

Wondering if a pharmacist has additional prescribing authorization?
December 1, 2009

Check the ACP website!

To verify prescriber status quickly and accurately:

  1. Log onto the ACP website (pharmacists.ab.ca).
  2. Click the Prescriber Lists tab.
  3. Log in using your registrant number and password.
  4. Click the Pharmacists menu item on the left of the screen.

You can now search by the pharmacist’s first name, last name, and/or registration number.

NOTE: Pharmacists with additional prescribing authorization may prescribe any drugs except narcotics and controlled substances. There are no restrictions on the quantity of drug they can prescribe.

You can take advantage of a brand new feature on the ACP website! You can now reset your password online.

To reset your password online:

  1. Go to the ACP website at www.pharmacists.ab.ca  
  2. Click on Registration profile login (first option in the blue menu bar on the left of the homepage). This will take you to the login screen. 
  3. Click on the Click here if you forgot your password link found below the login screen. 
  4. Follow the prompts to reset your password and you will be able to access your online renewal.

Originally published in the December 1, 2009, issue of The Link

Took immunization course before Dec. 31, 2008?
December 1, 2009

All pharmacists who successfully completed an approved training program prior to Dec. 31, 2008 have until Dec. 31, 2009 to apply for authorization.

Pharmacists seeking authorization to administer drugs by injection must apply to the college within one year of successful completion of an approved training program.

Time limit rationale:

  1. It is difficult to maintain psychomotor skills over a long period of time if you are not practising them.
  2. There is significant potential for harm if injections are provided incorrectly, e.g., nerve damage.
  3. Injections techniques do change, e.g., Z-track has become the preferred method for intramuscular injections over the past few years.

If more than one year elapses between your training and application, you must complete another training program.

If we don't know about it, we can't reward it...
December 1, 2009
  • Acclaim an amazing accomplishment. 
  • Promote a praiseworthy performance.
  • Exude enthusiasm for excellence.
  • Xerox your exclamations and excitement and send it in!!!

OK, that's not really what APEX stands for, but it's the right idea. The APEX (Alberta Pharmacy Excellence) Awards recognize the great things going on in pharmacy right now.

But we can't recognize worthy recipiencts unless we know about them. To view all the APEX Award categories and nomination forms, click here.

Nomination deadline: December 11, 2009

Originally published in the December 1, 2009, issue of The Link

 
New immunization resource from ACP
December 1, 2009

The Alberta College of Pharmacists has developed and posted the Alberta Influenza Immunization Program Resource Guide for Pharmacists. The guide is designed to accompany and supplement Alberta Health Services (AHS) information and policies.

The resource contains guidance on meeting ACP standards when administering vaccine, along with critical pieces of information on topics like informed consent, adverse events, and reporting. It does not include the official AHS policies.

The guide also includes a sample patient record.  A reproducible sample patient record in a more usable format (i.e., full size, no appendix title), is also posted on the website under H1N1 – pharmacist information and Seasonal Influenza Immunization – pharmacist information.

Originally published in the December 1, 2009, issue of The Link

H1N1 decision-making algorithm revised
November 17, 2009

Alberta Health and Wellness made changes to their Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Influenza Clinical Decision-Making Tool recently. The revised copy is now posted on the ACP website.

Significant change: Under Laboratory Testing.

Laboratory testing for pH1N1 will be limited to hospitalized patients with severe illness, the Tarrant Flu Watch program, and MOH-investigated outbreaks.

Minor change: Under Treatment with Tamiflu.

Reporting information for serious adverse events related to antivirals added.

Minor changes: Under Management of Mild Illness.

  • Update to self isolation period for those who work/interact with populations at high risk for influenza-related complications, i.e., self-isolation for 7 days after illness onset or until symptoms resolve and they are feeling well enough to fully participate in normal day-to-day activities, whichever is longer.
  • Update to bullet three. Changed 1-2 meters to 2 meters for the distance to maintain between individuals in the household.

Originally published in the November 17, 2009, issue of The Link

NAPRA unveils pharmacist Mobility Agreement
November 17, 2009

The National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) proudly unveiled the new Mobility Agreement for Canadian Pharmacists (MACP) on Nov. 1, 2009.

The agreement – which captures commonly held principles and requirements to allow the movement of pharmacists across Canada without imposing unreasonable or discriminatory requirements – is a significant document for pharmacists.

"What we achieved is outstanding. With the signing of the agreement by all of Canada’s pharmacy regulatory authorities, it recognizes the high degree of commonality in our profession and provides enhanced mobility for our pharmacists," said NAPRA President Dianne Donnan.

Full press release - http://napra.ca/Content_Files/Files/NR_MACP_AMPC_November112009_Final.pdf 

Originally published in the November 17, 2009, issue of The Link

Cautionary tale: Septra Suspension
November 17, 2009

When dispensing Septra Suspension, which has now been genericized and contains sulfamethoxazole (SMX) 40 mg/mL and trimethoprim (TMP) 8 mg/mL, be careful when calculating volume based on a prescription written in mg of trimethoprim (TMP).  This will help you avoid the error recently brought to ACP’s attention.

A prescription was written for Septra Suspension 145 mg of TMP component po bid. Two different pharmacies filled the suspension, calculating the volume based on the sulfamethoxazole (SMX) component rather than TMP component. This resulted in a five times underdose.  This is significant for a child who is being treated for osteomyelitis. 

Originally published in the November 17, 2009, issue of The Link

Pharmacy Technician renewals due Nov. 30
November 17, 2009

Renewals for the pharmacy technician voluntary register are due by Nov. 30, 2009. The fee for a voluntary registered technician for Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2010 is $81.90. Technicians can complete their renewal online in less than 5 minutes.

Forgot your password?

You can take advantage of a brand new feature on the ACP website! You can now reset your password online. Now you can renew on your schedule and no longer need to wait until the ACP office is open.

To reset your password online:

  1. Go to the ACP website at www.pharmacists.ab.ca 
  2. Click on Registration profile login (first option in the blue menu bar on the left of the homepage). This will take you to the login screen.
  3. Click on the Click here if you forgot your password link found below the login screen.
  4. Follow the prompts to reset your password and you will be able to access your online renewal.

Originally published in the November 17, 2009, issue of The Link

Psst... know any good pharmacists?
November 17, 2009

Help us celebrate the pharmacists and pharmacies who elevate the reputation of the profession. Nominate them for an APEX Award.

To view all the APEX Award categories and nomination forms, click here.

Nomination deadline: December 11, 2009

Originally published in the November 17, 2009, issue of The Link
Patient safety: methadone labeling requirements for carries
November 17, 2009

It has come to ACP’s attention that additional guidance regarding the labeling of methadone carries is needed to reduce medication and administration errors and ensure patient safety.  

  1. When you dispense "carry" doses, in addition to including the information on the label as prescribed in the standards, ensure the label includes administration instructions that clearly outline whether the medication is diluted at the time of dispensing as well as the total amount to be consumed in one daily dose (in milligrams). The suggested additional wording is: "Drug is diluted. Consume full bottle. Total daily dose is X mg." 
     
  2. Additionally, the following label or similar cautionary warning must be affixed to the final product:
    "Methadone may cause serious harm to someone other than the intended patient. Not to be used by anyone other than the patient for whom it was intended".

Pharmacists providing methadone prescriptions are encouraged to review Methadone Treatment in Alberta: Guidelines for Dispensing Pharmacists, available under Pharmacist Resources/ACP practice guidelines on the ACP website. 

Originally published in the November 17, 2009, issue of The Link

New: Practice Development influenza course
November 17, 2009

Practice Development is pleased to offer you this timely and exciting learning opportunity!  If you are working in direct patient care settings and are interested in providing patient care services related to influenza, this course is ideal for you.

This distance learning course features an instructional DVD with learning sessions by experts in infectious diseases and interviews with peers and other health care professionals.  

Tuition:  ACP registrants: $200; Non-ACP registrants: $250; Students: $50

Please see the Practice Development website for more details on the course and how to register.

Originally published in the November 17, 2009, issue of The Link

 

Reminder – 3 more regional meetings this week
November 17, 2009

Last night’s kick off of ACP regional meetings was a huge success in Lethbridge. Over 60 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians came to listen, ask questions, and offer feedback.

Don't miss your opportunity to get information first-hand and to have input into what’s happening in pharmacy practice in Alberta.

Meetings are scheduled for:

  • Nov. 17 – Carriage House Inn, 9030 Macleod Trail South, Calgary
  • Nov. 18 – Edmonton Sawridge, 4235 Gateway Blvd
  • Nov. 19 – Neighbourhood Inn, 5011 66 St, Bonnyville

Time: 7 - 9 p.m.

Light refreshments provided

No advanced registration required; free admission

Originally published in the November 17, 2009, issue of The Link

Help your patients understand adapting
November 17, 2009

You've told us you need resources to help patients understand pharmacists’ expanding scope of practice.

In response, ACP has produced the brochure: Understanding your pharmacists’ role in renewing or adapting your prescription. The brochure uses an easy-to-read question and answer format to explain the essentials of adapting a prescription.

ACP sent 300 copies of the brochure to every community pharmacy in Alberta. Please display these in a spot that will catch the public’s attention or consider including them in the bag with purchases.

To re-order or provide feedback on the brochure, please contact:

Karen Mills, ACP Communications Leader
Email: karen.mills@pharmacists.ab.ca
Phone: 780-990-0321 or toll-free at 877-227-3838
Fax: 780-990-0328

Originally published in the November 17, 2009, issue of The Link

Pharmacists’ tools to help prevent seniors’ falls
November 3, 2009

This week saw the province-wide launch of the second annual Seniors’ Falls Prevention Month campaign under the overall slogan "Finding Balance".  

An important component of the campaign is a website at www.findingbalancealberta.ca.

While the site provides information for the public, it is also a portal for all health care professionals interested in seniors’ falls prevention.  By clicking on "Practitioner Page," visitors have access to a range of information, contacts and tools.

Networking

The website is the home of the Alberta Seniors’ Falls Prevention Network. This is a free electronic network designed to link those interested in falls prevention. Monthly e-bulletins are sent out with information such as:

  • programs and resources,
  • recent research and
  • upcoming events/conferences.

The Network also offers quarterly teleconferences which are free to members. The online archive includes current and past bulletins, teleconference recordings, a list of educational opportunities, Alberta falls data and resources, and a link to Finding Balance. You can also click on "What’s in the literature?" to browse the collections of categorized article summaries that have appeared in past editions of Alberta Senior’s Falls Prevention Network Bulletins.

Tool Kit

A tool kit is housed on the site to make it easy for practitioners to locate falls prevention resources. The tool kit contains a variety of resources that professionals can use to promote seniors falls prevention. For instance, pharmacists interested in setting up a display or bone density clinic can visit the tool kit to locate ideas for interactive activities, posters, calcium intake calculators, and handouts for clients. Visitors will also find a clearinghouse of event ideas, resources for the public, and campaign information that can be used freely in their community.

Risk Assessment and Intervention

A third part of the practitioner page is a pair of interactive algorithms for falls risk assessment and intervention. A new algorithm – scheduled to go live in the middle of the month - provides resources for a variety of health care providers with the information and materials to support multi-factorial falls risk assessment and intervention.

For example, the guidelines provide a list of checks that should be included in a medication review as well as a list of medications associated with a higher risk of falling. It then provides information about appropriate intervention based on the assessed risks. There are links to tools for practitioners as well as take-away educational materials for seniors.

The algorithm was developed by a collaborative group of multidisciplinary professionals and will continue to grow and change as new information and resources are available. We always welcome feedback and contributions of resources from pharmacists and other health care professionals.

For more information about the campaign or for campaign materials contact the Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research at 780-492-6019 or acicr@ualberta.ca.

Originally published in the November 3, 2009, issue of The Link

Updated H1N1 FAQ
November 3, 2009

Will any Albertan be able to receive antivirals from NAS?

On Oct. 27, ACP received the following direction from AHW:

All prescriptions for antivirals should be filled out of the NAS unless the prescriber specifically and clearly indicates otherwise on the script.

Further clarification given by AHW on Oct. 30:

If the physician indicates "for prophylaxis" on a prescription presented at a community pharmacy, the NAS supply cannot be used. The prescription can be filled with private stock. The client would be responsible for the prescription charges.

Early treatment is the basis of AHW policy, so post-exposure prophylaxis that is not in a closed facility outbreak falls outside indications for NAS-supplied antivirals. Influenza transmission is far from 100 percent when in contact with a case, and prophylaxis could lead to resistance.

You can find two H1N1 FAQ documents on ACP's website:

AHW answers to questions about Tamiflu dispensing program - last updated Oct. 30

ACP answers to questions about H1N1 and pharmacist prescribing - last updated Oct. 27

Originally published in the November 3, 2009, issue of The Link

New antiviral treatment prescription form circulating
November 3, 2009

Alberta Health Services is circulating a new Tamiflu prescription form. This is a valid prescription form and should be accepted by pharmacies.

The form, available in a "registrants only" format, can be viewed on ACP's website. It is in the H1N1-pharmacist information section under Bulletin Board.

Originally published in the November 3, 2009, issue of The Link

Maximum Tamiflu re-order quantities increased
November 3, 2009

The pharmacy re-order of Tamiflu maximum was increased, effective Oct. 29, to:

  • 40 boxes of 10 doses -- 75mg
  • 10 boxes of 10 doses -- 30mg
  • 10 boxes of 10 doses -- 45mg

Contact your local McKesson Canada distributor to re-order. Try to anticipate the depletion of your supply, considering weekends in particular, and place your order before your current pharmacy supply is exhausted to maintain continued availability. National Antiviral Stockpile stock is still available and should be kept on hand to dispense, free of charge, to all eligible patients.

Originally published in the November 3, 2009, issue of The Link
New: Practice Development influenza course
November 3, 2009

Practice Development is pleased to offer you this timely and exciting learning opportunity!  If you are working in direct patient care settings and are interested in providing patient care services related to influenza, this course is ideal for you.

This distance learning course features an instructional DVD with learning sessions by experts in infectious diseases and interviews with peers and other health care professionals.  

Tuition:  ACP registrants: $200; Non-ACP registrants: $250; Students: $50

Please see the Practice Development website for more details on the course and how to register.

Pharmacy Technician renewal
November 3, 2009

Information letters regarding pharmacy technician renewal were mailed late last week. The fee for a voluntary registered technician for Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2010 is $81.90. Renewals are due by Nov. 30, 2009. Technicians can complete their renewal online in less than 5 minutes.

Originally published in the November 3, 2009, issue of The Link
From your patients and for your patience…
November 3, 2009

We know the last weeks have been frustrating for you. Trying to make sense of the ever-increasing (and sometimes conflicting) information about influenza and immunizations has been challenging. We also recognize that you are often the recipients of the frustration felt by your patients and the public.

Thank you from ACP for the professionalism and concern for patients you have shown.

ACP will continue to pass along the information from AHS and AHW as soon as we receive it to keep you up to date.

Originally published in the November 3, 2009, issue of The Link

Call for APEX Award nominations
October 27, 2009

Safe, effective, and responsible health care has never been a hotter topic. And the outstanding care offered by pharmacists has never been more appreciated. 

Help us celebrate the pharmacists and pharmacies who elevate the reputation of the profession. Nominate them for an APEX Award.

There are categories that recognize outstanding individual practice, great pharmacies and teams, community involvement, and individual achievements in pharmacy. To view all the APEX Award categories and nomination forms, click here.

Nomination deadline: December 11, 2009

Originally published in the October 27, 2009, issue of The Link

 
Mark your calendars!
October 27, 2009

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are invited to the following information sessions:

November calendarNov. 16 – The Sandman Lethbridge, 421 Mayor Magrath Drive S

Nov. 17 – Carriage House Inn, 9030 Macleod Trail South, Calgary

Nov. 18 – Edmonton Sawridge, 4235 Gateway Blvd

Nov. 19 – Neighbourhood Inn, 5011 66 St, Bonnyville

Time: 7 - 9 p.m.

Representatives from the Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) will provide updates on technician regulation, ACP council priorities for 2010, and emerging issues.

Originally published in the October 27, 2009, issue of The Link

H1N1 Clinical Decision-Making Tool algorithm updated
October 27, 2009
Changes that were made to the Clinical Decision-Making Tool on Oct. 26:
 
Significant changes:
  1. The recommendation to test a patient when antivirals are prescribed was removed. In the same bullet, an example (outbreaks in closed settings) was added.
  2. Treatment of children less than 2 years of age is the most current recommendation (changed from less than 5 years of age).
  3. AHW added two notes to remind prescribers of contra-indications and precautions related to use of antivirals (one in the algorithm, one in the table).
Minor changes to algorith:
  • Signs and Symptoms of Acute ILI, under common: malaise and arthralgias were added, to be more consistent with national guidelines.
  • Bloody sputum was added to the list of Indicators of Severe Illness.
  • Under Risk Factors, a few wording changes were made and a few examples were added.

H1N1 Documents for Pharmacists

All documents concerning pharmacist involvement in the provincial H1N1 pandemic plan can be found on the ACP website under H1N1 - pharmacist information in the Bulletin Board section.

Will pharmacists be asked to offer immunizations?
October 27, 2009

Although many messages are circulating in the media, pharmacists have not yet been officially invited to participate in the 2009-2010 provincial influenza immunization program (seasonal or H1N1).

Alberta Health and Wellness is continuing to work to finalize an influenza immunization policy document for external providers. There are many parties involved so we do not know when it will be finalized. When finalized, the policy document will be available on the ACP website for your information and we will notify you via email.

Originally published in the October 27, 2009, issue of The Link

Influvac only for clients 18+
October 27, 2009

It has come to ACP's attention that the seasonal influenza vaccine in stock at most community pharmacies is Influvac. Please note: 

INFLUVAC IS ONLY APPROVED FOR USE IN CLIENTS 18 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER.

Refer clients under the age of 18 years to a Public Health clinic.

Also remember your ethical obligation to inform clients, before they pay for Influvac, of their option of getting seasonal influenza immunization at no charge at a public health clinic.

Originally published in the October 27, 2009, issue of The Link

 
Which patients are eligible for NAS stock? New direction
October 27, 2009

Many pharmacists have phoned ACP to ask how to assess if a prescription should be filled from the NAS stock or their own retail stock. We referred callers to the Alberta Health and Wellness (AHW) decision-making algorithm. On Oct. 27, AHW provided ACP with the following clarification:

"All prescriptions for antivirals should be filled out of the NAS stock unless the prescriber specifically and clearly indicates otherwise on the script."

We know keeping up with the flood of ever-changing information is tricky. To help, we've created one "go to" spot on our website for all H1N1 information. We're also maintaining an FAQ document to supplement the information from other sources.

Please review the information on the ACP website to make sure you are working with the most up-to-date information.

Here are answers to two questions we have frequently been asked:

How do I order more NAS antivirals?

Alberta Health Services (AHS) has contracted with McKesson Canada to distribute NAS antivirals. McKesson has developed ordering processes specifically for these products. Contact your local McKesson Canada distributor or go to their website for more information.

The order numbers for the NAS Tamiflu (which are different from ‘private’ stock order numbers) are:

Tamiflu 30mg - 480434

Tamiflu 45mg - 482158

Tamiflu 75mg - 487462

Where can I go for more information?

ACP website: H1N1 – pharmacist information (under the Bulletin Board section).

For billing, claims or payment information: Alberta Blue Cross pharmacy lines at Edmonton 780-498-8370; Calgary 403-294-4041; toll-free 1-800-361-9632.

For ordering or shipping of NAS: McKesson. Use your usual contact mechanisms

For information on AHS Influenza Clinics: Health Link: Calgary 403- 943-5465, Edmonton 780- 408-5465, Toll-Free 1-866-408-5465, E-mail chl@cha.ab.ca.

Public Health clinic dates and locations

Originally published in the October 27, 2009, issue of The Link

 
Pharmacy Batch close to normal processing
October 20, 2009

Sent from Alberta Netcare on Oct. 14, 2009:

Pharmacy Batch (PB) file processing has improved to close to normal processing.

This is a follow-up to the September 21 notice that Pharmacy Batch (PB) file processing was experiencing delays. Pharmacies may have noticed that their daily PB dispenses took longer than usual to appear in PIN, and their response error files were slower to be returned.

Pharmacies should now notice most response files being returned within 48 hours, although there may be periodic instances where it may take longer. Alberta Health and Wellness continues to closely monitor PB processing and strive for further improvements.

Pharmacies should continue to submit dispenses through their normal Pharmacy Batch Processing.

Contact: Provincial Service Desk at 1-877-931-1638 toll free or in Edmonton 780-412-6778.

2009 Canadian dyslipidemia guidelines
October 20, 2009

The Canadian Cardiovascular Society has issued updated guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of dyslipidemia and prevention of cardiovascular disease (CV) in adults. The new guidelines place more emphasis on data obtained from clinical trials with CV outcome data and less emphasis on trials with results based on biomarkers or surrogate endpoints.

Originally published in the October 20, 2009, issue of The Link

Dancing pharmacists win award
October 20, 2009

If you happen to visit the Safeway Pharmacy #0281 in Airdrie, you may catch the team there doing the "Dispensary Dance," where they attempt not to trip over one another or step on feet as they work in a very busy and rather small dispensary. They can now also do a dance of joy to celebrate their recent award.

The pharmacy team received an honorable mention in this fall’s Pharmacy Gateway contest, "Canada’s best drugstore team." We caught up with the pharmacy manager Christopher Borys to find out what makes this group such a strong team.

Chris has been with the pharmacy for four and a half years and has high praise for the group he describes as a well-oiled and well-matched team. "We all step up to any challenge together and help each other. We decided to enter the contest because we feel that we work well as a team. Each individual’s strengths, skills set, and attitude allow us to function efficiently while operating a busy dispensary."

Chris says that the ability of his staff to recognize and utilize one another’s strengths enables the team to better serve their patients and make work more enjoyable. "Every other store I have ever worked at just can’t compete!" states Chris.

In addition to laughing everyday, Chris says that the most enjoyable aspect of working with his team is knowing that he can count on the support of his colleagues if he needs it.

Congratulations to you and your team Chris, and may you all keep laughing and dancing for years to come!

Originally published in the October 20, 2009, issue of The Link

Risk of dosing error for TAMIFLU® Powder for Oral Suspension (12 mg/mL)
October 20, 2009

Source of alert: Health Canada, Oct. 15, 2009

Reason for alert: There have been reported cases, in the US, where the units of measure in the instructions on the pharmacy prescription label were provided in milliliters (mL) or teaspoons, while the dosing device provided with the prescription was graduated in milligrams (mg). This has led to patient or caregiver confusion and dosing errors.

When dispensing TAMIFLU Powder for Oral Suspension (12 mg/mL), ensure that the units of measure on the prescription instructions match the dosing device provided (e.g., a device graduated in mg for a prescription in mg).

To view the complete advisory, please visit Health Canada's website.

To receive email advisories directly, subscribe to Health Canada's Med-effect.

Also check ACP's Safety Advisories for up-to-date alerts and advisories.

Originally published in the October 20, 2009, issue of The Link

Reminder: OTC cough/cold medicines not for children under 6
October 20, 2009

A reminder as we head into cold and flu season:

On Dec. 18, 2008, Health Canada released its decision that orally administered over-the-counter cough and cold products with certain active ingredients should not be used in children under 6 years of age.

Which products are affected?

The decision affects cough and cold products that can be purchased without a prescription and are labelled for use in children less than 6 years of age. The affected products fall into four broad categories and contain one or more of these active ingredients:

  1. antihistamines (1st generation, e.g., diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine, doxylamine);
  2. antitussives (dextromethorphan);
  3. expectorants (guaifenesin); and,
  4. decongestants (ephedrine, phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine).

The advisory does not apply to common pain and fever reducers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen or combination products that do not contain an ingredient listed above.

What do you tell your patients?

  1. First, be accessible to provide parents with advice on the products and alternative interventions. Consider keeping the poster and tear sheets being provided by Health Canada in easy to access locations. Any alternative resources and information you can offer will be appreciated. 
     
  2. Read Health Canada’s Frequently Asked Questions. It has advice for parents and answers to parent questions.  

Originally published in the October 20, 2009, issue of The Link

Call for APEX Award nominations
October 20, 2009

The W.L. Boddy Pharmacy Award recognizes a pharmacy licensed in Alberta, whose health professionals, by virtue of their practice, have positively impacted the health of their community.

If this sounds like your pharmacy or a pharmacy that you know, nominate today.

To view other APEX Award listings and nomination forms, click here.

Nomination deadline: December 11, 2009

Originally published in the October 20, 2009, issue of The Link

Come hear what's happening with technician regulation
October 20, 2009

The Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) is hosting meetings in November to update technicians and pharmacists on technician regulation, ACP council priorities for 2010, and emerging issues.  

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are invited to the following meetings:

  • Nov. 16 – The Sandman Lethbridge, 421 Mayor Magrath Drive S
  • Nov. 17 – Carriage House Inn, 9030 Macleod Trail South, Calgary
  • Nov. 18 – Edmonton Sawridge, 4235 Gateway Blvd
  • Nov. 19 – Neighbourhood Inn, 5011 66 St, Bonnyville

Time: 7 - 9 p.m.

  • Light refreshments will be served
  • No fee or pre-registration

You can also review the ACP webinar on technician regulation.

Originally published in the October 20, 2009, issue of The Link

Community pharmacists to partipate in H1N1 antiviral distribution
October 20, 2009

Alberta Health and Wellness (AHW) and Alberta Health Services (AHS) are coordinating the distribution of Alberta's share of the National Antiviral Stockpile (NAS).

Dr. Andre Corriveau, Chief Medical Officer of Health, has requested community pharmacist participation in the distribution of Tamiflu, to be provided free of charge to all eligible Albertans.

Tamiflu will be distributed to all community pharmacies within the next week. Policies for distribution and the algorithm for determining who is eligible to receive NAS stock are contained in the AHS Antiviral Dispensing Policy for Pharmacists/Community Pharmacies During the Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Response.
 
Advice to pharmacists
 
Hold the well-being of each patient to be your primary consideration.
 
Review the letter from Dr. Corriveau and the policy document thoroughly.
 
  1. Fulfill all of the applicable Standards for Pharmacist Practice if you are prescribing Tamiflu. See the ACP answers to questions about H1N1 and pharmacist prescribing and review Standard 11.6 and 13 in the Standards for Pharmacist Practice to make sure you understand your prescribing obligations and limitations.
     
  2. Check the ACP website regularly for updated information.  
 
PLEASE NOTE:
ACP is conveying this communication on behalf of AHS and AHW, the designers and administrators of the program. The college has no further information about this or the seasonal influenza immunization program at this time, but will pass on details as we receive them. Check our website and future copies of The Link for updates.
 

Documents

 
 
 
 
Reporting adverse events - AHW letter and instructions
 
AHW answers to questions about Tamiflu dispensing program - coming soon
 
 
Originally published in the October 20, 2009, issue of The Link
Increasing number of seniors' falls
October 6, 2009

The fact is that falls cause more than 90% of hip fractures among seniors – and between 15 – 20% of those patients will die due to complications. Also, 40% of all nursing home admissions are the result of falls. These statistics alone are extremely significant, and justification for the Finding Balance campaign.

This year’s campaign, which will be launched on November 3rd, will again be targeted primarily at well seniors, in an attempt to build awareness of easy and simple steps to prevent falls in every-day activities.

We are facing an increasing dilemma in Alberta. Our hospital beds are being increasingly occupied by seniors, there for a wide variety of causes. As our population demographics continue to show an increase in the number of seniors, this problem is likely to grow. Indeed, in the decade from 1997 – 2006, there was a 35 per cent increase in the number of seniors admitted to hospital following a fall.

Clearly there is an urgent need to reduce the continuing escalation of falls among our seniors, which is the objective of the Finding Balance seniors’ falls prevention campaign, entering its second year at the beginning of November.

Driven by the Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research, together with the Alberta Medical Association, the program has the backing and support of most of the province’s health care professions, which has each witnessed the dramatic rise in seniors’ falls – and the drastic impacts on the lives and lifestyles of those victims.

Based on the research conducted following last year’s inaugural campaign, a third slogan and poster will be added to this year’s program:

Watch Your Step – Wherever you are.

A copy of the new poster, together with a continuation of the two successful posters from last year will be distributed later this month to pharmacies throughout the province. The posters will be accompanied by 8 ½" x 5 ½" handout sized versions with safety information for seniors on the back.

If the posters could be displayed and if one of the small handouts, outlined above, is distributed to seniors with each prescription package, this could do a great deal to help build awareness of falls prevention among our seniors and their families.

As the health care practitioners with perhaps the most frequent contact with seniors, pharmacists are in an optimum position to counsel seniors on falls prevention. Pharmacists face increasing time pressures in their daily activities, but taking a few moments to distribute this important falls prevention information could make an important impact in the efforts to keep seniors active and independent.

In the next edition of The Link we will outline some details of North America’s most comprehensive algorithm for seniors’ falls risk identification and prevention, which will be available to all health care providers. This will include a wide range of advice in how to identify potential problems, and provide solutions.

For more information about the campaign, or for campaign materials, contact the Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research at 780-492-6019 or acicr@ualberta.ca.

Originally published in the October 6, 2009, issue of The Link

PHP - Pharmacist consultation
October 6, 2009

ACP is inviting pharmacists to review and comment on the Alberta Provincial Personal Health Portal – Vision and approach document. The feedback from pharmacists is invaluable to this project to help address potential clinical impact, challenges, and opportunities for patient care.

This strategy for the Alberta provincial Personal Health Portal (PHP) has been developed with input from focus group studies with the public and providers, and a wide environmental scan. The strategy provides the initial direction for the development of the Alberta PHP.

The Alberta Provincial Personal Health Portal – Vision and approach (pdf)

We look forward to receiving your feedback. Please forward your comments to Greg Eberhart at greg.eberhart@pharmacists.ab.ca prior to October 30, 2009.

Originally published in the October 6, 2009, issue of The Link

Rural RxAction
October 6, 2009

Are you a pharmacist practicing in rural Alberta? Are you interested in receiving Additional Prescribing Authorization to provide chronic disease management for your patients?

The Centre for COMmunity Pharmacy Research and Interdisciplinary Strategies (COMPRIS) at the University of Alberta, is looking for pharmacists practicing in rural Alberta with an interest in hypertension, who have or are planning to receive, additional prescribing authorization.

Improving Hypertension Management through Use of Community Pharmacists with Prescriptive Authority – A Randomized Trial Design

As part of the project, you will receive support in completing your additional prescribing application, training in the management of hypertension, and the opportunity to work with other rural Alberta pharmacists to evaluate the benefits of pharmacist prescribing in hypertension.

You will be eligible to receive compensation for providing care for the patients in the study, as well as reimbursement of the fees associated with applying for additional prescribing authorization.

This will be the first randomized trial of pharmacist prescribing, as well as exploring methods of remuneration for chronic disease management – both of which are important for the future of our profession.

Additional information on the study can be found at Rural RxAction. Pharmacists who are interested in participating in the study or would like additional information are asked to contact Ross Tsuyuki (ross.tsuyuki@ ualberta.ca) or Teri Charrois (theresa.charrois@ualberta.ca).

Originally published in the October 6, 2009, issue of The Link

CEU certificates
October 6, 2009

When you receive your certificates of completion for your CEUs, you may notice that some providers state that "a copy of your certificate has been sent to your provincial regulatory body". While this may be true in other provinces, this is not the case for Alberta!

ACP does not receive copies of CEU certificates from any CE providers, so please be sure to keep all of your CEU certificates and non-accredited learning records for 2 years to avoid confusion at audit time.

Originally published in the October 6, 2009, issue of The Link

APEX Award profile: M.J. Huston Pharmacist of Distinction
October 6, 2009

Do you know a pharmacist who is an excellent professional role model? Who is providing outstanding service to the profession of pharmacy? A pharmacist who truly stands-out in their quest to improve patient care?

The M.J Huston Pharmacist of Distinction Award is presented annually to a pharmacist who has demonstrated outstanding professional excellence in the practice of pharmacy. Help us celebrate the outstanding work that pharmacists are accomplishing across the province by nominating your peers or yourself before Dec. 11, 2009.

For information on all the APEX Awards and to view bios of past recipients, click here.

Nov. 2009 - ACP coming to a community near you!
October 6, 2009

This November, ACP is hosting a series of meetings throughout the province to provide updates on technician regulation, ACP council priorities for 2010, and general dialogue around emerging issues. We'd love to see you there!

All events are scheduled for 7pm-9pm and light refreshments will be served.

  • Nov. 16 – The Sandman Lethbridge, 421 Mayor Magrath Drive S
  • Nov. 17 – Carriage House Inn, 9030 Macleod Trail South, Calgary
  • Nov. 18 – Edmonton Sawridge, 4235 Gateway Blvd
  • Nov. 19 – Neighbourhood Inn, 5011 66 St, Bonnyville

There is no fee and you do not have to pre-register.

Originally published in the October 6, 2009, issue of The Link

What have you learned lately?
September 22, 2009

Feeling left out because all the kids got new pencil crayons and binders, but you didn’t? Well, cure those back-to-school blues by taking a course or attending a conference. This fall is full of opportunities to get your gray matter perking. Discover what’s new in cardiovascular therapy. Put your beliefs to the test at a symposium exploring conscience and healthcare practice. Hone your hypertension management skills.  

Check out the Events section of ACP’s website to see some great offerings.

Originally published in the September 22, 2009, issue of The Link

Pharmacy Batch processing delayed as of Sept. 21 (until further notice)
September 22, 2009

A message from Alberta Netcare:

Pharmacy Batch (PB) file processing is currently experiencing delays. Pharmacies will likely notice that their daily PB dispenses are taking longer than usual to appear in PIN, and their response error files are slower to be returned. The period of delay may be more than five days, and will continue until further notice.

Alberta Health and Wellness is actively working on this as a priority; however, it is yet undetermined when normal processing will resume.

Pharmacies should continue to submit dispenses through their normal Pharmacy Batch Processing. Once Alberta Netcare has further information, ACP will pass it on to you.

Contact: Provincial Service Desk at 1-877-931-1638 toll free or in Edmonton 780-412-6778.

Originally published in the September 22, 2009, issue of the Link

Pharmacists key partner in preventing seniors falls
September 22, 2009

What do the Queen Mother, Nancy Reagan, Ed McMahon and Fidel Castro have in common?

They are all seniors who have suffered the serious consequences of a preventable fall. Sadly, thousands of seniors fall every year in Alberta, often with devastating results.  

Finding Balance is an annual information and advocacy campaign focused on reducing the number of falls among seniors in Alberta. It was developed and is led by the Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research in the U of A’s School of Public Health and the Alberta Medical Association.

Pharmacists have been important advisors in Finding Balance and will continue to be key front-line contacts in this annual campaign targeting falls among Alberta’s seniors this November.

Medications and falls

Pharmacists have important expertise in the medications and conditions that can increase a senior’s risk of falling.  

Research has shown that certain types of medications are associated with a higher risk of falling. High risk medications include benzodiazepines, antidepressants and neuroleptics.

All medications, including prescription, non-prescription and natural health products should be reviewed annually. Particular attention should be paid to older persons taking four or more medications, those taking psychotropic medications, and those who have had multiple falls and/or an injurious fall. Conditions that are undertreated, such as osteoarthritis, or Parkinson’s Disease, may also contribute to falls.

Finding Balance recommends that seniors talk to their pharmacist or doctor about their medications annually.

Education through pharmacies

Last year, pharmacists distributed more than 120,000 point of sale flyers about falls prevention for older adults. This was achieved through the support and participation of wholesale distributors and chains.

Alberta’s pharmacies and distributors will again be playing a key role by volunteering to distribute the promotional and information material to retail pharmacies throughout the province.

This year, three point of sale flyers will be distributed focusing on the three campaign themes:

·         Check Your Medications – Talk to your Doctor or Pharmacist

·         Keep Active – Exercise for Strength and Balance

·         Watch Your Step – Wherever You Are

All campaign materials are in production and will be distributed in early October.

For more information about the campaign or for campaign materials contact the Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research at 780-492-6019 or acicr@ualberta.ca.

Originally published in the September 22, 2009, issue of The Link

FASD Awareness & Prevention Campaign: engaging Alberta pharmacists
September 22, 2009

On Sept. 15, 2009 an online survey was sent to 3377 clinical pharmacists in Alberta.

The survey is to find out if Alberta pharmacists are interested in learning more about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and contributing to prevention efforts. There is very little evidence in the literature about including pharmacists in efforts to prevent FASD, the leading cause of developmental delays among children in Canada.

This project is in alignment with the Government of Alberta’s FASD 10-Year Strategic Plan focused on developing and delivering community-based solutions supported by government policy and funding.

Survey results will inform decisions on how the partnering organizations might enhance efforts to reduce the number of children born with the irreversible damage caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

The survey is supported by the Alberta Ministry for Children and Youth Services, the Alberta College of Pharmacists, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the U of A, and The Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research.

The partnering organizations thank you for your interest and participation. For further information, please contact Tara Hanson at thanson@research4children.com or 780-408-8730.

Originally published in the September 22, 2009, issue of The Link

Hypertension - Train the Trainer Workshop
September 22, 2009

Interested in the latest CHEP recommendations and BPC hypertension information?

Sign up for the Oct. 24 Hypertension Management Train the Trainer Event.

WHEN: Sat., Oct. 24, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHERE: Stanley A. Milner Library, Edmonton

CREDIT: Event is accredited for 4.5 CEUs

COST: Free!

Link to program and registration.

Originally published in the September 22, 2009, issue of The Link

We want you...
September 22, 2009

…for the new Practice Skills: Boot campcourse! We have rallied the troops to guide your "basic training" regarding patient assessment and documentation skills.  Although we won't be getting you to drop down and give us 20, we do have an exciting and active two-day workshop planned for Nov. 7 and 8, 2009.

The registration deadline is Oct. 2, 2009.  Please see the Practice Development website for more details on the course and how to register.

Originally published in the September 22, 2009, issue of The Link

Call for APEX nominations
September 22, 2009

This year’s APEX Award winners will be recognized at a gala event held on May 14, the night before the CPhA conference in Calgary. Help us celebrate excellence in pharmacy by nominating your peers or yourself. The nomination deadline is Friday, Dec. 11, 2009.

Pharmacists are doing great work…and it’s time to celebrate that! The APEX (Alberta Pharmacy Excellence) Awards, co-sponsored by ACP and RxA, recognize the outstanding achievements and passion of pharmacists, healthcare teams and pharmacy stakeholders across the province.

Awards will be presented in the following categories:

Questions? Contact Maria Lee, ACP Communications Coordinator, at Maria.Lee@pharmacists.ab.ca or 780-990-0321 or toll-free at 1-877-227-3838.

Originally published in the September 22, 2009, issue of The Link

Help stem the increase in seniors falls
September 8, 2009

Pharmacists are again being asked to be key front-line contacts in an upcoming health campaign targeted at preventing falls among Alberta’s seniors.

The first "Finding Balance" falls prevention program was a great success from the moment it was launched on Nov. 3rd last year by Premier Stelmach, Health and Wellness Minister Liepert and Seniors and Community Supports Minister Jablonski.  

Further details of last year’s initial program can be found at www.findingbalancealberta.ca

More than 150,000 posters, pamphlets and support materials were produced and distributed through pharmacies, health regions, health care offices and seniors’ centres.

Alberta’s pharmacy wholesale distributors have again volunteered to distribute the promotional and information material to retail pharmacies throughout the province.

While final creative work is still underway for this year’s campaign, the focus will target what is referred to as "well seniors", in attempts to provide prevention information to protect them from falling. Last year’s two themes:

  • Check Your Medications – Talk to your Doctor or Pharmacist
  • Keep Active – Exercise for Strength and Balance

will be supplemented by a third theme this year, which will be:

  • Watch Your Step – Wherever you are

Did you know…

Some dramatic statistics relative to seniors’ falls, going back to the latest detailed study in 2006, prompted the Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research (ACICR) to plan the implementation of such a program.

The study told us:

  • Falls were the leading cause of injury-related hospital admissions in Alberta, with 19 fall-related admissions of seniors each day, and 2 fall-related emergency department visits every hour;
  • Seniors’ fall-related injuries resulted in more than 6,900 hospital admissions and 18,700 emergency department visits;
  • The direct cost of seniors’ falls to the Alberta economy was nearly $88 million.  It has subsequently been estimated that this number will increase to $250 million by 2033.

Adding further to this, 1 in 3 seniors will experience a fall each year, and up to 50% of those in institutions will have a fall.

Campaign sponsors

The two primary organizations responsible for developing and maintaining the campaign are the ACICR and the Alberta Medical Association. They were joined, as sponsors of the program, in last year’s campaign by a number of other health-related organizations, including Alberta Health & Wellness and the Alberta Physiotherapy Association. Many other health care and seniors organizations participated in a province-wide Advisory Committee, which provided counsel on the development and implementation of the program.

This is the first of a series of updates on the preparations and plans for this year’s "Finding Balance" seniors’ falls prevention program. Additional information will be provided in each of the next five editions of The Link.

Originally published in the September 8, 2009, issue of The Link

 
Are your pesticides registered?
September 8, 2009

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Health Canada has informed the college that their inspectors have found unregistered pesticides used for pets during pharmacy inspections.

Products used on pets that are applied topically (e.g., shampoos or sprays) for the control of arthropods are regulated as pesticides, whereas products given orally to control topical and internal pests are regulated as drugs. Flea and tick shampoos, crack and crevice flea sprays and personal insect repellents are all categorized as pesticides.

You can check the regulatory status of products in Canada on Health Canada’s website.

Portal 2004 shutting down March 31
September 8, 2009

On Sept. 1, 2009, a letter was mailed to current Alberta Netcare Portal 2004 users, announcing that Alberta Health and Wellness has set to decommission Portal 2004. Access will no longer be available as of March 31, 2010.

Portal 2004 is a legacy system which has been maintained while the user community migrates to the current viewer product, Alberta Netcare Portal (ANP), with minimal disruption to their service. To continue accessing the Alberta Netcare Electronic Health Record, users must complete the migration process prior to the March 31st deadline.

Advantages of Netcare Portal

While Portal 2004 has served users adequately throughout its implementation, it does not offer the range of information and the decision support tools available through Alberta Netcare Portal (ANP). As with Portal 2004, ANP users have access to personal demographic information in the Person Directory, and dispense information in the Pharmaceutical Information Network. 

ANP differs from Portal 2004 in that it provides access to a more complete set of laboratory results; users can view these as specific lab results, flow sheets, and chart lab values to spot trends. Additional data elements available to ANP users include:

  • diagnostic imaging text reports and images;
  • transcribed clinical reports; and
  • patient hospital admission and discharge history logs.

How do you migrate?

Portal 2004 users who have not initiated the migration process should phone the Alberta Netcare Deployment team for details at 780-642-4082 or toll free at 1-866-756-2647. Migration will take a minimum of four to six weeks—longer for those who have not yet completed and submitted a Privacy Impact Assessment to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. Interested individuals are encouraged to contact the Deployment team as soon as possible.

For details about the implementation process, please download and read An Implementation Guide for Pharmacists.

Community pharmacies may see increase in Aromatase Inhibitor prescriptions
September 8, 2009

Funding under the Outpatient Cancer Drug Benefit Program for Aromatase Inhibitors (Anastrozole - Arimidex®, Exemestane - Aromasin®, Letrozole - Femara®), is limited for certain breast cancer indications.

Some patients are now reaching the end of their funded hormone therapy, so if the physician decides to continue the patient’s treatment, the patient will be given a prescription which they will be asked to fill at their community pharmacy.   

If you have questions regarding whether a patient is eligible for coverage under the Outpatient Cancer Drug Benefit Program or whether they will be required to pay for their ongoing treatment, call the appropriate Cancer Care Pharmacy Department for clarification.

  • Cross Cancer Institute Pharmacy Dept.:  (780) 432-8405
  • Tom Baker Cancer Centre Pharmacy Dept.: (403) 521-3344

Originally published in the September 8, 2009, issue of The Link

Email – put ACP on your accepted list
September 8, 2009

Please make sure that acp_communication@pharmacists.ab.ca is not being blocked by your email program’s filters. Otherwise, you’ll miss news that’s important to your practice.

Originally published in the September 8, 2009, issue of The Link

PEBC assessors needed for Nov. 7 OSCE
September 8, 2009

Pharmacist assessors are needed for the PEBC OSCE on Sat., Nov. 7 in Calgary. Being an assessor is both personally and professionally rewarding. Assessors play an invaluable role in maintaining the integrity of the licensing process, meeting the needs of the public and upholding the standards of the profession.

Details, eligibility requirements and the Response Form are available here.

Originally published in the September 8, 2009, issue of The Link

Is it your time to SHINE?
September 8, 2009

Want to influence the future of pharmacy, educate and empower inner city youth, and re-energize your own practice in only 3 or 4 afternoons a year? Well, you can!

The SHINE Youth Clinic provides free health services to Edmonton’s inner-city youth. The clinic is managed and staffed by U of A students from Pharmacy, Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Social Work, and Nutrition. But they need you to precept.

"Let me tell you about my last shift," enthuses Lisa Guirguis, a SHINE preceptor. "A pharmacy-medicine student team took a patient health history – and the pharmacy student led the interview. Another pharmacy student checked a medication history with a community pharmacy and that determined the treatment decision. Then the pharmacy student helped identify a suitable antibiotic from the available stock for a penicillin allergy. This student then worked with a medical student to have the medical student write her first prescription. That was all before talking with the patient about how to best use the medication. All in one shift! These students are building skills and making a positive difference. It’s really exciting to be part of that."

For more details, or to apply, go to www.shineclinic.ca/preceptors and click on Apply to be a Preceptor Today or email Serena or Dapheni at shinepharm@gmail.com.

Qualifications, commitment, and rewards

By volunteering at the clinic, students polish their clinical skills and see first-hand the importance of patient education, harm reduction and preventative medicine.

The clinic is held in the Boyle McCauley Health Centre on Saturdays from 2-6 pm.

A preceptor…

  • Provides guidance - Students take patient histories, provide advice on medical treatment, and dispense available medications. The preceptor ensures quality care is given to the patient and directs the students as necessary. You would provide direct guidance to 1-2 pharmacy students.
  • Gently "pushes" – Students may volunteer at any time during their education. This means they have varying levels of training and confidence. A big part of your job will be to encourage students to participate in the unfamiliar.
  • Models communication – Students will learn by watching you talk with patients, and other students and preceptors from all disciplines. "Learning by example" is one of the strengths of this experience.
  • Sets their own level of commitment - Preceptors can participate as per their own availability; a typical commitment is at least four shifts per year (but more is great!). A shift lasts 4 hours, from 2:00-6:00pm.
  • Catches the contagious energy – A small commitment returns huge rewards. Helping students turn theory into reality, experiencing interprofessional collaboration at its best, and seeing the difference just four hours of care can make in an underserved community leaves all participants with a renewed energy and satisfaction.

For more details, or to apply, go to www.shineclinic.ca/preceptors and click on Apply to be a Preceptor Today or email Serena or Dapheni at shinepharm@gmail.com.

Originally published in the September 8, 2009, issue of The Link

One-year limit for immunization authorization application
September 8, 2009

Pharmacists seeking authorization to administer drugs by injection must apply to the college within one year of successful completion of an approved training program.

If more than one year elapses between your training and application, you must complete another training program.

A "grace period" is in effect for this restriction. All pharmacists who successfully completed an approved training program prior to Dec. 31, 2008 have until Dec. 31, 2009 to apply for authorization.

Time limit rationale:

  1. It is difficult to maintain psychomotor skills over a long period of time if you are not practising them.
  2. There is significant potential for harm if injections are provided incorrectly, e.g., nerve damage.
  3. Injections techniques do change, e.g., Z-track has become the preferred method for intramuscular injections over the past few years.

Originally published in the September 8, 2009, issue of The Link

Consultation on laboratory data guidelines deadline: Sept. 10
September 8, 2009

Please forward your comments on the draft Guidelines for Pharmacists Using Laboratory Data prior to Sept. 10, 2009 to:

Grace Magyar
Executive Assistant to the Registrar
Alberta College of Pharmacists
1200 10303 – Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, AB   T5J 3N6
Fax: (780) 990-0328

The guidelines were developed with the input of clinical pharmacists involved in different levels of patient care. ACP also considered standards and guidelines published by other regulated professions whose registrants have been authorized to order laboratory tests.

The guidelines are meant to assist pharmacists in complying with the standards of practice and other legislation when using laboratory information. Before finalizing the guidelines, the college will consider whether certain expectations should be incorporated into the Standards for Pharmacist Practice, which are scheduled for review in the near future.

Originally published in the September 8, 2009, issue of The Link

QuitCore – fall sessions announced
August 25, 2009

QuitCore is a FREE group support program from Alberta Health Services, designed to help people quit smoking. Led by trained instructors, the three-and-a-half month program includes eight in-depth sessions that offer participants the most effective methods and tools to help them become smoke-free.

Studies show that interventions from health profes­sionals can lead to significant quit attempts and quit rates. Please speak to your patients about their tobacco use and encourage them to explore QuitCore as a way to quit smoking.  

Sessions begin on September 22, 2009 in Airdrie, Calgary, Camrose, Claresholm, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lethbridge, Stettler and Wetaskiwin. People wishing to register for a course in their area should call 1-866-710-QUIT (7848) or visit quitcore.ca for more information.

If you would like to receive copies of QuitCore promotional materials to distribute to your patients, please contact Rocky Hynes at 403-476-1321, or by email at rhynes@webershandwick.com.

Originally published in the August 25, 2009, issue of The Link

NAPRA updates Model Standards
August 25, 2009

Updated Model Standards of Practice for Canadian Pharmacists(MSOP) have just been released by the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA). The MSOP are not applicable only to pharmacists at entry to practice.The MSOP are minimum standards of practice that all licensed pharmacists must meet. 

The new standards reflect the increasing importance of standards of practice for health care professionals in response to shifting and overlapping scopes of practice and emphasis on accountability of professionals throughout their careers.

The Model Standards of Practice were redrafted to select specific, measurable activities from the 2007 Competencies for Canadian Pharmacists at Entry to Practice that are key both to protecting the public and to safe and effective pharmacist practice. In addition, in recognition of the rapidly changing scope of pharmacy practice in Canada, the MSOP have incorporated pharmacists’ activities that are currently authorized in a number of Canadian provinces but that were not specified as part of the patient care competency in NAPRA’s 2007 Competencies.

The MSOP are written primarily for pharmacy regulatory authorities with the goal of specifying the standards against which pharmacists’ performance can be judged. Regulators will also use these MSOP to explain the responsibilities of pharmacists to their stakeholders.

NAPRA acknowledges that there are a number of professional roles fulfilled by pharmacists as drawn from the 2007 Professional Competencies. These roles can be categorized into:

  • patient care
  • drug information
  • drug distribution
  • management
  • education

NAPRA recognizes that not all pharmacists perform each of the roles as part of their daily work. For example, pharmacists may provide patient care and yet not be involved in the distribution of medications or pharmacy management. However, regardless of a pharmacist’s position or practice context, it is NAPRA’s intention that when pharmacists do perform a specific role, then they must perform it to the level specified in the standards. Furthermore, when performing a specific role, the pharmacists must meet all of the MSOP associated with this role.

Originally published in the August 25, 2009, issue of The Link

More clinical pharmacists needed for PEBC survey
August 25, 2009

More Alberta pharmacists are needed to take the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) survey to evaluate entry-to-practice competencies required of pharmacists. So far, only 70 pharmacists from Alberta have registered as compared to 252 from BC and 176 from Saskatchewan.

It is critical that a large number of clinical pharmacists from Alberta participate to accurately reflect practice in our jurisdiction and to ensure that the PEBC Qualifying Exam closely reflects current pharmacy practice.

If you are in active practice and are willing to participate, please take a few minutes now to register now for the survey.

Originally published in the August 25, 2009, issue of The Link

Registration deadline extended for anticoagulation workshop
August 25, 2009

In its 3rd year, the Anticoagulation: On the road to practice change course has been revised to include an update on new anticoagulant agents coming to market. The three-day workshop, Oct. 2 (evening), 3 and 4, 2009 in Edmonton, features small group work and discussions facilitated by pharmacists working in the area of anticoagulation.

Registration for the anticoagulation workshop will be accepted until Sept. 11, 2009.

Please see the Practice Development website for further details on the workshop and training program. 

Originally published in the August 25, 2009, issue of The Link

Call for volunteers to pilot the Professional Portfolio
August 25, 2009

If you have a non-traditional practice (e.g., non-direct patient care role), focus your practice on a very specific disease state or population, or have additional prescribing authorization, a knowledge assessment exam may not be the best measure of your competence. With this in mind, ACP is piloting a Professional Portfolio as a measure of competence. Now we need volunteers to help us develop the program.

Participants who fulfill all the requirements of the pilot will be exempt from competence assessment for three years.

Application deadline: Sept. 30

For further details, or to apply, please email Roberta Stasyk, Competence Director.

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The Portfolio will not only serve as a chronicle of your professional acumen, but will also allow you to demonstrate to ACP how your planned and purposeful professional development lead to practice enhancement. The professional portfolio builds on the Continuing Professional Development Plan; participants will make statements about their continuing professional development and then provide evidence to prove that they have enhanced their practice.

Pilot participants will be given at least four months to compile their portfolios.

Participants who fulfill all the requirements of the pilot will be exempt from competence assessment for three years.

Application deadline: Sept. 30.

For further details, or to apply, please email Roberta Stasyk, Competence Director.

Originally published in the August 25, 2009, issue of The Link

1 exam = 3 year exemption
August 25, 2009

ACP needs a few more volunteers to write the pilot version of the knowledge assessment. The assessment will be an open-book, multiple choice exam of clinical knowledge.

Pharmacists who write the pilot version of the knowledge assessment will be exempt from further competence assessment for three years from the date of writing the assessment.

Application deadline: Aug. 31

Exam date: Oct. 19, morning or afternoon

Exam locations: Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat.

To participate, please email Roberta Stasyk, Competence Director.

Originally published in the August 25, 2009, issue of The Link

Are you authorized?
August 25, 2009

Remember that completing a course is only the first step to administering drugs by injection. You must apply for and receive authorization from the college before you can administer any injections.

Applications for authorization can take up to 10 business days to process, and may take longer if application volumes increase. Time to send and receive mail via Canada Post also impacts the length of time it takes to receive your updated practice permit. Remember, you may not administer an injection until you receive your new practice permit with this authorization noted.

Link:  Application for Authorization to Administer Drugs by Injection

Originally published in the August 25, 2009, issue of The Link

Pharmacist involvement in influenza immunization—an update
August 25, 2009

While there are still many questions about pharmacists’ role in the recently announced seasonal influenza immunization program, answers are gradually emerging. We have summarized the details available to date.

NOTE: Please do not contact AHW or AHS now. Program details and contacts have not been finalized. ACP will notify you as soon as this information is available. Also note that this information applies only to seasonal influenza immunization.

A Pharmacists Immunization Working Group (PIWG) is coordinating pharmacists as immunizers with Alberta Health & Wellness (AHW). The PIWG is made up of members from AHW, Alberta Health Services, ACP, RxA, and corporate pharmacy. The group is facilitating pharmacist involvement in the immunization program such that it will:

  1. provide recommendations for pharmacists providing immunizations,
  2. ensure the high quality immunization program continues, and
  3. meet the standards of Alberta’s Immunization Program outlined in the National Guidelines for Immunization Practices.

Prioritization of tasks for this group resulted in development of standards, guidelines and processes for pharmacists’ engagement ONLY as they apply to seasonal influenza immunizations. At this point, there are no formal discussions as to pharmacists’ engagement in any potential public health programs as they relate to H1N1.

Processes and procedures for pharmacist participation in the AHS Public Health seasonal influenza immunization program

Step 1. Pharmacist with authorization to administer injections receives invitation to participate in provincial seasonal influenza program through ACP.

Rationale: Pharmacists will be responsible and accountable for administration of influenza vaccine supplied from public health. This product will not be supplied to pharmacists without the authorization to administer drugs by injection.

Pharmacists will not be allowed to delegate administration of provincially funded influenza vaccine to other healthcare workers, e.g. nurses. Authorization ensures that pharmacists understand all the components of an immunization program, including cold chain management, identifying and reporting adverse reactions, responding to patient questions and concerns, and when to refer the patient to another health care professional such as a Public Health nurse.

Step 2. If pharmacist is interested and able to participate, he/she considers requirements of participation:

  • must complete one-day AHS Public Health seasonal influenza immunization program orientation;
  • has excellent cold chain management (confirmed by reviewing temperature log sheets for the past two weeks and reviewing  the checklist for Safe Vaccine Handling and Storage);
  • must collect and submit all information required (client-specific and aggregate data); and
  • must report all adverse events to AHS Public Health.

Rationale: Program orientation is the same educational session offered annually to public health nurses. It includes training specific to influenza vaccine and will include such topics as dealing with high risk patients and reporting requirements. Orientation will be offered in late September or early October. The training will be available to pharmacists with authorization to administer drugs by injection in a variety of formats (e.g., live training session, Telehealth, WebEx, DVD). There is no cost to pharmacists for program orientation education.

Step 3. Pharmacist contacts his/her local AHS Public Health (contacts will be available through ACP) to confirm participation in provincial program and establish partnership with AHS. Please do not contact AHW or AHS now.

Step 4. AHS Public Health sends pharmacist letter describing program processes and provides specific contact information.

Step 5. Pharmacist orders seasonal influenza vaccine from local AHS Public Health contact. Delivery or pick-up is arranged with local AHS Public Health.

Rationale: Distribution of public health influenza vaccine occurs at the zone level (formerly the regional level). This process meets the needs of the Medical Officers of Health for these areas and it aligns with their distribution process for physicians.

Step 6. Pharmacist receives seasonal influenza immunization program package, including Report of Adverse Reaction to Immunization Agents, from AHS Public Health contact.

Step 7. Pharmacist provides immunizations and documents the following:

a. client-specific information

  • client’s immunization record
  • pharmacy’s patient record
  • copy to be retained and submitted to AHS public health at a future date

b. aggregate data (submitted to AHS Public Health)

c. all adverse reactions

Step 8. Pharmacist re-orders seasonal influenza vaccine as needed and submits data collection forms to account for doses administered.

Step 9. Unused unopened vaccine will be returned to AHS in April and unused opened product will be discarded at the pharmacy.

Immunization age restriction for pharmacists

Although all Albertans over six months of age are eligible for seasonal influenza vaccine, pharmacists will not be immunizing individuals less than nine years of age or pregnant women. Children from six months to nine years and all pregnant women will be immunized by Public Health.

Rationale: For children six months to nine years and pregnant women there are special immunization considerations.

a. Dosage considerations

The dosage may be different for children depending on age
The need for two doses versus one dose for some children
The need to look up immunization information on registry to determine if two doses are needed

b. Product considerations for children and pregnant women

Influenza vaccine with a lower thimerosal content is specifically indicated for children and pregnant women; it will not be distributed outside of Public Health.

c. Client care considerations

Anaphylaxis protocol is different for young children in terms of doses of epinephrine and diphenhydramine.

Discussions involving payment for administration of public seasonal influenza vaccine are ongoing with AHW Pharmaceutical Funding and Guidance department.

This communication is intended to give you an overview of where we are currently at with the public seasonal influenza vaccine program. We realize that it may not have addressed all your specific questions; however more information will be forthcoming.

Originally published in the August 25, 2009, issue of The Link

Deadline to register for Anticoagulation course fast approaching
August 11, 2009

In its third year, this course has been revised to include an update on new anticoagulant agents coming to market. The three-day workshop, Oct. 2 (evening), 3 and 4, 2009 in Edmonton, features small group work and discussions facilitated by pharmacists working in the area of anticoagulation.

The workshop registration deadline is August 28, 2009

Want to go beyond the classroom with your learning? Consider applying for the anticoagulation training program. This program will provide you with hands on experience managing anticoagulation therapy within an established anticoagulation clinic. The workshop also provides an excellent opportunity to network with other pharmacists who are ready for practice change.

Please see the Practice Development website for further details on the workshop and training program.

Originally published in the August 11, 2009, issue of The Link

Pharmacists recognized for diabetes care
August 11, 2009

Congratulations to Rick Siemens and Rami Chowaniec. Both have recently been recognized for their outstanding work in diabetes care.

Rick Siemens was honored with the Outstanding Health Professional of the Year award by the Canadian Diabetes Association. Rami was selected as one of the five finalists for the Pharmacist Award Program entitled Diabetes Management: Best Practices in Patient Care.

Rami Chowaniec was recently selected as one of the five finalists for the Pharmacist Award Program entitled, Diabetes Management: Best Practices in Patient Care (sponsored by the Canadian Diabetes Association and the Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism and hosted by www.rxbriefcase.com). Given her work to date, it’s easy to see why she was singled out for this honour.

Rami is a U of A grad and has been a practising pharmacist for 17 years, a Certified Diabetes Educator since 2001, was one of the first fifteen pharmacists to receive additional prescribing authorization (see Nov/Dec 2008 acpnews, pg. 15 for a profile), and has just completed her immunization training. 

As a Certified Diabetes Educator pharmacist for Canada Safeway, Rami works with patients with diabetes, the public, pharmacy staff, and other health professionals. She provides individual consultations, conducts Diabetes Awareness and A1C Clinics, and presents CCCEP-accredited diabetes-specific CE sessions. 

During the school year, Rami assists with the diabetes education of final-year pharmacy students and second-year medical students at the U of A. In the summer months, she delivers diabetes education to all pharmacy interns working in Northern Alberta for Canada Safeway. She is also a speaker for the Canadian Diabetes Association Speaker’s Bureau, giving presentations to the public, people with diabetes, and high school students. 

And that’s not all! 

As a Certified Diabetes Educator Pharmacist for the WestView Primary Care Network, Rami provides individual consults within family physician offices for patients with diabetes. Rami is also involved in the PPMI pilot project and has counseled four patients to date. 

Congratulations Rami on being selected as one of the five finalists of the Diabetes Management award and for demonstrating such commitment to life-long learning and your profession.

Rick Siemens, ACP Past President, has been honored with the Outstanding Health Professional of the Year award by the Canadian Diabetes Association. This award recognizes health professionals in Southern Alberta who make significant differences in the lives of people affected by diabetes. It is awarded for work as a health professional, within one’s own practice, rather than as a volunteer working for the Association.

Rick interacts and works with members, stakeholders, and support groups of the Canadian Diabetes Association. He is a dedicated and active volunteer. From participating as a keynote speaker for the Association’s Diabetes Expos – educational events for people and families affected by diabetes – to helping people manage their diabetes by providing personal telephone support 24/7, Rick goes above and beyond his regular duties.

Rick completed his BSc in Biology and then graduated in 1996 with his BSc in Pharmacy. He has worked as a retail pharmacy manager in northern rural communities as well as larger urban centers like Grande Prairie and Lethbridge. Rick was also one of the first 15 pharmacists to obtain additional prescribing authorization (see Sept/Oct 2008 acpnews, pg. 7, for profile). He is currently the manager of the London Drugs Pharmacy, in Lethbridge. Congratulations Rick!

Originally published in the August 11, 2009, issue of The Link

New resource targets low back pain
August 11, 2009

A new resource for primary care providers in the treatment of low back pain is now available. A new guideline, posted on the Towards Optimized Practice (TOP) website, is intended for the management of adults with non-specific, non-malignant low back pain.

The guideline provides evidence-based advice and answers to common questions and warning flags for serious conditions and issues. The guideline comes in several formats including a summary. Patient support materials are also available.

The low back pain guideline was developed by a multidisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners from across the province through the Alberta HTA Chronic Pain Ambassador Program.

Originally published in the August 11, 2009, issue of The Link

Clinical pharmacists needed for PEBC survey
August 11, 2009

In August, the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) is conducting a survey to evaluate entry-to-practice competencies required of pharmacists.

Clinical pharmacists are needed to take the survey. If you are in active practice and are willing to participate, please take a few minutes now to register for the survey.

Participants will be asked to rate the competencies in NAPRA’s Professional Competencies for Canadian Pharmacists at Entry to Practice document to determine the relative importance of the competency elements. PEBC will use the data from the survey to update the Qualifying Exam to reflect the revised competency elements.

It is critical that a large number of pharmacists from Alberta participate to accurately reflect practice in our jurisdiction and to ensure that the PEBC Qualifying Exam closely reflects current pharmacy practice. We encourage you to help shape the future of the profession by participating.

Originally published in the August 11, 2009, issue of The Link

Manufacturing Practices Guidelines updated
August 11, 2009

Health Canada has finalized Good Manufacturing Practices (BMP) Guidelines 2009 Edition. These guidelines come into effect Nov. 8, 2009. 

This updated document includes modified and/or new terminology, additional requirements and interpretations, and an updated table of requirements. Amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations will be incorporated in a subsequent version of this document.

Appendix A offers additional information regarding the changes to the 2009 edition of the document. New expectations for premises, equipment, personnel, sterile products, and quality control are outlined.

Appendix B offers information on future changes to the guidelines, which will become effective on March 1, 2010.

Originally published in the August 11, 2009, issue of The Link

New edition of Flu Monitor
July 28, 2009

Rx Canada has contracted with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to provide an emergency data monitoring and reporting system to identify viral outbreaks, track their progression, and monitor national drug supplies.

Flu Monitor is the monthly report to PHAC on the national surveillance program.

The National Antiviral and OTC Medication Surveillance Program was established in May by participating Canadian retail pharmacies working with Rx Canada.

If you have questions about the report or the program, or if your pharmacy is not participating in the National Antiviral and OTC Surveillance Program and would like to do so, please contact Wendy Nelson, President and CEO, Rx Canada, at 905-821-2270, extension 222.

Originally published in the July 28, 2009, issue of The Link

Veterinary update
July 28, 2009

Dr. William Lindeman is no longer registered with the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association as an Active Member. Therefore, he is not licensed to practice in Alberta and is not entitled to purchase pharmaceuticals.

The Devon Veterinary Clinic closed, effective June 30, 2009.

Originally published in the July 28, 2009, issue of The Link

Electronic smoking products not authorized for sale in Canada
July 28, 2009

Electronic smoking products fall within the scope of the Food and Drugs Act. All of these products require market authorization prior to being imported, advertised or sold in Canada. To date, no electronic smoking product has been authorized for sale by Health Canada.

Market authorization is granted by Health Canada following successful review of scientific evidence demonstrating safety, quality and efficacy. This evidence is provided by the sponsor seeking market authorization.

In the absence of evidence provided by the sponsor establishing otherwise, an electronic smoking product delivering nicotine is regulated as a New Drug under Division 8, Part C of the Food and Drug Regulations. In addition, the delivery system within an electronic smoking kit that contains nicotine must meet the requirements of the Medical Devices Regulations. Appropriate establishment licences issued by Health Canada are also needed prior to importing, and manufacturing electronic cigarettes.

Health Canada is aware that some electronic smoking products have been advertised and sold in Canada without market authorization from Health Canada. Persons who may be importing, advertising or selling electronic smoking products without the appropriate authorizations are asked to stop doing so immediately.

For more details, go to Health Canada’s website.

Originally published in the July 28, 2009, issue of The Link

Registration deadline looming for Lab Values course
July 28, 2009

Practice Development’s new course, Practice Skills: Monitoring drug therapy using laboratory values, is ideal for pharmacists who wish to integrate laboratory values in the management of patients’ medication therapy. The registration deadline is Aug. 14, 2009.

Topics generated by you and other participants will be incorporated into active learning activities at the workshop and distance learning sessions. The course is based on a previous course, Interpreting Laboratory Values, offered from 2006 to 2008. If you have taken the Interpreting Laboratory Values course in the past, this experience will offer additional information and learning opportunities.

The course consists of a workshop and three distance learning sessions. The workshop, scheduled for Sept. 18 and 19, 2009 in Edmonton, features small group work, discussions, and review of patient encounters.

The distance learning sessions involve a considerable amount of learning outside of scheduled class time, including reading and preparation of a presentation to the class. The course involves assignments before and after the workshop. Support for your learning from instructors and course coordinators includes:  

  • Practice support – access to your peers and the Faculty for ongoing discussions about practice issues. There are vast opportunities to learn outside of formal course activities.
  • Technical support – for the eClass technology used in the course. There will be a technology practice session where you will see examples of a presentation and test your technology.
  • Educational support – Has it been a while since you have prepared a presentation?  We will provide educational support for you as you prepare your presentations and assignments.

For more information, please visit Practice Development’s website.  

Originally published in the July 28, 2009, issue of The Link

Consultation on draft Guidelines for Pharmacists Using Laboratory Data
July 28, 2009

ACP has drafted Guidelines for Pharmacists Using Laboratory Data and is now inviting pharmacists to review and comment on them.  

The guidelines were developed with the input of clinical pharmacists involved in different levels of patient care. ACP also considered standards and guidelines published by other regulated professions whose registrants have been authorized to order laboratory tests.

The guidelines are meant to assist pharmacists in complying with the standards of practice and other legislation when using laboratory information. Before finalizing the guidelines, the college will consider whether certain expectations should be incorporated into the Standards for Pharmacist Practice, which are scheduled for review in the near future.

Please forward your comments on the draft guidelines prior to Sept. 10, 2009 to:

Grace Magyar
Executive Assistant to the Registrar
Alberta College of Pharmacists
1200-10303 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, AB   T5J 3N6
Fax: (780) 990-0328

Originally published in the July 28, 2009, issue of The Link

Pharmacists request authority to order lab tests
July 28, 2009

Although pharmacists are trained to use lab data to monitor and determine appropriate drug therapy, their timely access to lab data has been limited. Netcare PORTAL allows pharmacists to read existing lab data, but still does not adequately support them actively managing drug therapy.

Being able to order appropriate tests can facilitate pharmacists more proactively meeting patient needs and a more efficient use of other health professionals’ time and resources.

ACP has worked with Alberta Health and Wellness (AHW) to clarify steps required to assign pharmacists Practitioner Identification numbers (PRAC IDs). Concurrently, ACP has drafted guidelines for pharmacists using laboratory data.

The College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) accredits medical laboratories. The CPSA by‑laws identify regulated professions for whom a laboratory director (typically a physician) may conduct a laboratory examination and provide results. Pharmacists are not currently on the list of identified professionals. ACP has requested that CPSA:

  • add pharmacists to the list of regulated health professionals for whom a laboratory director may conduct a lab test and provide results; and,
  • review and comment on our draft Guidelines for Pharmacists Using Laboratory Data.
  • Following is a summary of ACP’s answers to questions asked by CPSA when considering our request: 

1. What education do pharmacists receive in the interpretation of lab test results and their use in pharmacy practice?

The use of laboratory data is taught, and examined, throughout the undergraduate curriculum at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta (the faculty), which has full accreditation status through the Canadian Council on the Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP).

Through ACP’s partnership with the faculty, Practice Development provides comprehensive learning and professional development experiences for current practitioners to enhance their skills and confidence in delivering patient care. Most programs include the use of laboratory data in the context of the subject being studied. A specific program, "Practice Skills: Monitoring drug therapy using laboratory values," is also offered.

Other programs addressing this subject are available through the professional development programs offered by other faculties of pharmacy and pharmacy organizations across Canada and the United States.

2. How are pharmacists’ competencies with regard to the interpretation of lab results assessed?

As outlined in Question 1, competencies around the use of laboratory data are taught and examined throughout the undergraduate curriculum and in context with the subject matters being studied.

3. What specific tests or range of tests are pharmacists seeking authority to order?

The draft guidelines outline the purpose and scope for which pharmacists use laboratory information. Some purposes for which pharmacists may consider lab data include:

  • ensuring that the drug and the dose ordered are appropriate for the individual patient,
  • monitoring patients’ responses to therapy to ensure optimal outcomes,
  • monitoring for adverse effects to ensure patients’ safety, and
  • screening patients for untreated health conditions where there are preliminary indicators for such screening (e.g., dyslipidemia as a secondary condition in diabetes).

Examples where a review of lab data is indicated include but are not limited to:

a) Ensuring that the drug and the dose ordered is appropriate for the individual patient

b) Monitoring patients’ response to therapy to ensure optimal outcomes

c) Monitoring for adverse effects to ensure patient safety

d) Screening patients for untreated health conditions

4. What measures are in place to ensure the ability of the pharmacist to respond to critical test results reported after hours and to ensure timely follow-up of all test results?

The draft guidelines state: "Pharmacists must be available and accessible 24/7 or have alternate arrangements in place to respond to and act upon any critical lab results that are reported."

5. What are the means by which duplicate testing will be avoided when a patient is attending both a physician and a pharmacist?

The draft guidelines state: "Pharmacists must review all alternative sources of current lab data available to them about a patient prior to ordering a test for the patient (e.g., electronic health record).

The draft guidelines also specify that: "Pharmacists must record lab data ordered by them on the pharmacy patient record of care, and should include it in any correspondence communicated to other appropriate members of the patient’s care team about the care they have provided."

Look to future editions of The Link and acpnews for details about applying for PRAC ID numbers and considerations that pharmacists must make when ordering and using lab data.

Originally published in the July 28, 2009, issue of The Link

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?
July 28, 2009

That’s what the TV show audience wants to know. And so does ACP!

The college is looking for volunteers to help develop two new competence assessment tools – a knowledge assessment and a professional portfolio.

Who?

At this time we are looking for volunteers to write the pilot version of the knowledge assessment. The knowledge assessment will be an open-book, multiple choice exam of clinical knowledge. It focuses on the application of the knowledge and skills needed to solve drug-related problems and provide direct patient care.

We would like to get a good cross-section of pharmacists – urban and rural, community and hospital, new grads and seasoned practitioners – so we can be sure the knowledge assessment is relevant to pharmacists in all types of practice.

What?

Here is what we are asking of pilot participants:

  1. Write the pilot version of the knowledge assessment (70 multiple choice questions, maximum 3 hours to complete). 

    The knowledge assessment will be a computer-based test administered at six proctored sites across Alberta. Selection of the test sites will depend on availability of a test centre and the number of candidates asking to write in a particular location.
  2. Receive and thoughtfully consider feedback on your knowledge assessment results.
     
  3. Complete a confidential survey on your experience with the knowledge assessment. This survey will gather your impressions of both the test (e.g., fairness, applicability to practice, appropriate level of difficulty) and the computer-based testing processes, as well as possible outcomes of participating in a knowledge assessment.

When?

The tentative date for the pilot assessment is the morning of Monday, Oct. 19, 2009.

What’s in it for you?

Pharmacists who write the pilot version of the knowledge assessment will be exempt from further competence assessment for three years from the date of writing the assessment. That is, if you write the pilot knowledge assessment in October 2009, the very earliest you could be chosen for another competence assessment would be November 2012.

The exemption does NOT include exemption from Audit of Professional Declarations, as the audit is not an assessment of competence.

Because the knowledge assessment this fall is only a pilot and has not be psychometrically validated, the results of your assessment in the pilot will NOT affect your registration with ACP in any way.

The fine print

Please note – we are unable to offer honoraria or per diems to pharmacists who volunteer to write the pilot version of the knowledge assessment. We are able to offer to reimburse mileage costs for travel from your home to the closest test centre for the pilot knowledge assessment.

Sign up

To participate, please respond to Roberta Stasyk, Competence Director.

If you have any questions about the pilot please contact the Competence Department.

Originally published in the July 28, 2009, issue of The Link

Protect your community—Restrict the sale of combination pseudoephedrine products
July 28, 2009

The RCMP and Edmonton City Police have alerted ACP that large quantities of Claritin Allergy + Sinus (regular and extra strength) and Actifed (regular and "plus") have recently been purchased from Edmonton and Calgary pharmacies by individuals. The quantities sold are far greater than what could reasonably be for personal use, thus it is suspected that they are being used as precursors to produce illicit substances such as methamphetamine.

Recommendations

For the safety of our communities, review your pharmacy’s policies and procedures for the storage and sale of combination pseudoephedrine products. If not already in place, consider implementing the following strategies:

  1. Place all combination pseudoephedrine products (note that this may also include "store" brands) within the pharmacists’ view from the pharmacy and treat them as if they were Schedule 3 drugs.
  2. If you operate a lock and leave pharmacy, remove combination pseudoephedrine products from self-selection areas when your pharmacy is closed.
  3. Limit the package sizes and quantities of these products available for self selection.
  4. Educate all staff about the potential for abuse of these products. Tell them how to handle suspicious transactions (e.g., refer the customer to the pharmacist, do not antagonize the customer, always ensure their own safety).
  5. Introduce policies and procedures to limit the quantities that may be sold to any individual (e.g., "flags" within your point of sale system to alert cashiers when referral to a pharmacist is prudent).
  6. Report suspicious purchases to:

B.A. McIntosh (Cpl.)

Provincial Chemical Diversion Coordinator K Division Drug Enforcement

(780) 412-5542 - desk

(780) 412-5579 - fax

brad.mcintosh@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

  1. Become aware of trends within your community that may require elevated levels of diligence by you and your staff.

ACP Action

While the National Drug Scheduling Advisory Committee (NDSAC) and ACP recommended that combination pseudoephedrine products be placed in Schedule 3, our provincial government did not amend the provincial Scheduled Drugs Regulation accordingly. ACP brought these new trends to the attention of Alberta Health and Wellness, and encouraged amendments the Scheduled Drugs Regulation for combination pseudoephedrine products.

RESOURCES

AADAC, Beyond the ABCs – Amphetamines - http://www.aadac.com/87_419.asp

An overview of the chemistry, effects, and pharmacokinetics of amphetamines

Meth Watch program – www.methwatch.ca

Participating retailers strategically post Meth Watch signs on their store fronts. Using a specially developed web-learning portal, they train their employees to recognize suspicious transactions, without confronting or identifying the customer, and to contact law enforcement when these take place.

Originally published in the July 28, 2009, issue of The Link

Retailers participating in the Meth Watch program report safer stores, better customer relations, increased employee awareness, and improved communications with law enforcement. Many stores have experienced a decrease in loss from theft that is directly related to their participation in Meth Watch.

Changes to special authorization process
July 14, 2009

A number of changes to the special authorization process became effective on July 1, 2009.

For full details, see the information package mailed to pharmacies from Alberta Blue Cross or the July 1, 2009 Alberta Health and Wellness Drug Benefit List or visit the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA) website.

Summary

  • Coverage will be provided for seven drugs that are designated as second or third choice alternatives if the first-line drug has been used by the patient.
  • Forty-eight special authorization drugs can be automatically renewed when the drug is used on a regular basis.
  • Special authorization will be extended to 24 months for three drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Six drugs will move to open benefit status; special authorization will no longer be required.
  • Leflunomide, a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, will change to restricted listing status (covered when prescribed by select specialists).

If you have further questions about these enhancements or to obtain additional copies of the Special Authorization brochure for your customers, please call your pharmacy services representative at Alberta Blue Cross at 780-498-8370 or FAX 780-498-8406 (Edmonton and area), 403-294-4041 (Calgary and area), or 1-800-361-9632 or FAX 1-877-305-9911 (toll-free).

Originally published in the July 14, 2009, issue of The Link

She renewed online and won!
July 14, 2009

Congratulations to Orsolya Moldovan, the winner of ACP’s 2009 online registration contest. Orsolya, manager of Safeway Pharmacy #2730 in Calgary, renewed online and won the value of her 2009-10 registration fee.

Originally published in the July 14, 2009, issue of The Link

New course on Lab Values - Practice Development
July 14, 2009

A new course called Practice Skills: Monitoring drug therapy using laboratory values is ideal for pharmacists who wish to integrate laboratory values in the management of their patients’ medication therapy. It is based on a previous course, Interpreting Laboratory Values, offered from 2006 to 2008. 

Topics generated by you and other participants will be incorporated into active learning activities at the workshop and distance learning sessions. If you have taken the Interpreting Laboratory Values course in the past, this experience will offer additional information and learning opportunities.

The course consists of a workshop and three distance learning sessions. The workshop, scheduled for September 18 and 19, 2009 in Edmonton, features small group work, discussions, and review of patient encounters.

The distance learning sessions involve a considerable amount of learning outside of scheduled class time, including reading and preparation of a presentation to the class. The course involves assignments before and after the workshop. Support for your learning from instructors and course coordinators includes:  

  • Practice support – access to your peers and the Faculty for ongoing discussions about practice issues. There are vast opportunities to learn outside of formal course activities. 
  • Technical support – for the eClass technology used in the course. There will be a technology practice session where you will see examples of a presentation and test your technology.
  • Educational support – Has it been a while since you have prepared a presentation?  We will provide educational support for you as you prepare your presentations and assignments.

For more information, please visit Practice Development's new website www.pharmacy.ualberta.ca/pd.  The registration deadline is August 14, 2009. 

Originally published in the July 14, 2009, issue of The Link

Can pharmacists mail controlled substances to patients residing outside of Canada?
July 14, 2009

No. According to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, Section 6(1), "Except as authorized under the regulations, no person shall import into Canada or export from Canada a substance included in Schedule I, II, III, IV, V or VI".

Regarding targeted substances specifically, Health Canada states:

As of September 1, 2000, pharmacists are not permitted to mail a targeted substance to another country. This activity is considered an exportation and only licensed dealers can export a targeted substance, after they have received an export permit from the Office of Controlled Substance.

Note that their notice applies to all controlled substances, including narcotics, controlled drugs, and targeted substances.

Originally published in the July 14, 2009, issue of The Link

Discovered double-doctoring? What’s your next step?
July 14, 2009

Recently, the college has received a number of phone calls from pharmacists who have discovered patients who are double-doctoring and visiting multiple pharmacies for prescriptions such as zopiclone 7.5mg.

As a reminder, the HPA Standards for Pharmacist Practice state:

Standard 2. A pharmacist must consider appropriate information for each patient.

2.2  Appropriate information means the following information in relation to a patient:

(c) treatment history including drug therapy and outcomes for the condition;

            (g) other drugs or blood products being used;

Standard 3. A pharmacist must determine whether a patient has or is likely to have a drug-related problem.

    3.2  A drug-related problem includes the following circumstances in relations to a patient

(d) Over dosage - Taking or receiving too much of the right drug or blood product

Standard 5.  A pharmacist must not dispense a drug or blood product under a prescription unless the pharmacist has determined that the prescription is current, authentic, complete and appropriate.

        5.6 A pharmacist must determine the appropriateness of a prescription for the condition being treated by considering relevant factors that a reasonable pharmacist would consider in the circumstances including, but not limited to, whether:

 (d) there is therapeutic duplication

Some of the information required under the standards can be found on Netcare.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. Have I considered the appropriate information for this patient?
  2. Do I know this patient and their prescriptions?
  3. Is this patient receiving similar (e.g., another hypnotic) or the same prescription from multiple doctors?
  4. Is this patient early for their refill?
  5. Has this patient used up his/her refills in a short period of time?
  6. Has the patient asked for another prescription because he/she lost the medication? Is this a frequent occurrence?  

Taking the time to answer these questions will help ensure that you are providing safe, effective, responsible, and quality patient care.

Originally published in the July 14, 2009, issue of The Link

Change to injection authorization requirements
July 14, 2009

Pharmacists seeking authorization to administer drugs by injection must apply to the Alberta College of Pharmacists within one year of successful completion of an approved training program.

If more than one year elapses between completion of the training program and application for authorization, the pharmacist must complete another training program.

Rationale:

  1. It is difficult to maintain psychomotor skills over a long period of time if you are not practising them.
  2. There is significant potential for harm if injections are provided incorrectly, e.g., nerve damage.
  3. Injections techniques do change, e.g., Z-track has become the preferred method for intramuscular injections over the past few years.

Background:

  1. When "Authorization to Administer Drugs by Injection" rules were first approved by ACP Council in Dec. 2006, we did not expect that some pharmacists would let a significant period of time transpire between completing the training program and applying for authorization.
  2. As of June 15, 2009, RxA reports that 343 pharmacists have completed their training program (between Oct. 23, 2007 and June 13, 2009) but only 212 pharmacists have applied to ACP for the authorization.

Originally published in the July 14, 2009, issue of The Link

Approval needed if storing records off-site
July 14, 2009

Amendments to the Pharmacy and Drug Regulation brought about a new record keeping requirement for all pharmacies.

Section 12(3):

Required records must be maintained at the pharmacy unless the licensee has applied to the registrar in writing to store them at a location other than the pharmacy.

The application form to store records off-site is now available on ACP’s website under Pharmacist Resources/Forms/Pharmacies/Request to maintain records at a location other than the pharmacy.

Originally published in the July 14, 2009, issue of The Link

Scheduling of naproxen sodium products
July 14, 2009

The National Drug Scheduling Advisory Committee (NDSAC) made the following decision on the scheduling of naproxen sodium products.

Naproxen sodium 220 mg  Schedule

Recommended maximum daily dose of more than two tablets per day (i.e., more than 440 mg)

Schedule 1

Recommended maximum daily dose of two tablets (i.e., 440 mg)

Non-prescription

More than 30 tablets per package - Schedule 2 (i.e., must be behind the pharmacy counter)

30 tablets or fewer per package - Schedule 3 (i.e., may be sold in the patient services area of the pharmacy)


Originally published in the July 14, 2009, issue of The Link

Universal prenatal syphilis re-screening
June 30, 2009

In response to the ongoing provincial syphilis outbreak, Alberta Health and Wellness and Alberta Health Services have enhanced the provincial Prenatal Screening Program for Selected Communicable Diseases. This will ensure that pregnant women with infectious syphilis and their babies are identified and treated as soon as possible to reduce the consequences of syphilis infection in the baby.

All pregnant women should be screened for syphilis early in pregnancy, at mid-pregnancy, and again at the time of delivery. More frequent screening is recommended when there is concern about high-risk behaviours or when clinical symptoms suggest infectious syphilis.

Positive test results will be investigated by Alberta Health and Wellness STI Services and Alberta Health Services. Benzathine penicillin is provided by the province directly to physicians to treat syphilis.

Detailed information about syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections is available in Alberta’s Treatment Guidelines for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) in Adolescents and Adults 2008. Extra copies are available through STI Services (780-427-2830) or on the Internet at www.health.alberta.ca/professionals/manuals.html.

Originally published in the June 30, 2009, issue of The Link

More to Calgary than Stampede
June 30, 2009

There’s the Dean’s Golf Tournament too! Register now for a great day on the Lynx.

Friday, July 24, 2009 at Lynx Ridge (Calgary)

Registration:  7 a.m.

Registration forms at www.pharmacy.ualberta.ca

Originally published in the June 30, 2009, issue of The Link

Collaborating for success
June 30, 2009

Amidst Banff’s lush mountain backdrop, over 500 pharmacists, physicians, and registered nurses from across Alberta gathered at the Strengthening the Bond tri-profession conference to learn how culture, collaboration, and change affect health care.

Opening keynote speaker, Don Bell, founder and former Executive VP of WestJet brought forth compelling messages about the value of people and strategies to create an optimal working environment. He said, "People work for people­, not for organizations, and passionate people are fuelled by emotional commitment." What makes people emotionally committed? An optimal environment – a culture – that values people, that communicates effectively with people, and that empowers people. "Culture is what you do when no one is watching," he explained.

Presidents from the five conference host organizations (ACP, AMA, RxA, CARNA, CPSA) told delegates what each of their organizations would do right away to further interprofessional collaboration. The conference concluded with the five organizations committing to meet in the coming months and provide all their members with a written document before the year end on their next collaborative steps.

The conference was followed by the APEX Award ceremony, celebrating outstanding contributors to pharmacy and healthcare in Alberta. View videos of award recipients.

Originally published in the June 30, 2009, issue of The Link

ACP email accounts gone on June 30
June 16, 2009

The email account previously supplied to you by the college (e.g., 1234@pharmacists.ab.ca) will no longer be available after June 30, 2009. Therefore, you must provide the college with a different preferred email address.  

What do you need to do to get ready for the change?

  1. If you don’t already have one, establish your own email address.
  2. Update your Registrant Profile with your own email address. (You can access your profile from the homepage of ACP's website.)
  3. Clean out the inbox, address book and folders of your college email account and save any information you want to keep from your ACP account to another source.

NOTE: Messages not cleared out by June 30, 2009 will be deleted.

Originally published in the June 16, 2009, issue of The Link

Scheduling status for Naproxen sodium 220 mg
June 16, 2009

The initial recommendations made by the National Drug Scheduling Advisory Committee (NDSAC) for the scheduling of Naproxen were finalized effective June 11, 2009 to read as follows:

  • Naproxen sodium 220 mg tablet (when sold in products labeled with a recommended maximum daily dose of 440 mg, and in package sizes of up to 6,600 mg) - Schedule III
  • Naproxen sodium 220 mg tablet (when sold in products labeled with a recommended maximum daily dose of 440 mg, and in package sizes exceeding 6,600 mg) - Schedule II

The National Drug Schedules will be revised accordingly.

Originally published in the June 16, 2009, issue of The Link

ACP’s Pharmaceutical Strategy submission
June 16, 2009

Last week, ACP submitted feedback to the government on Phase 2 of the Provincial Pharmaceutical Strategy. We have posted our submission on our website for you to view.

Phase 2 of the Strategy deals with four main issues:

  1. Pricing of generic drugs
  2. Listing for innovative pharmaceuticals
  3. Pharmacist reimbursement
  4. Drug procurement strategies

The college’s mandate is to govern the pharmacy profession in Alberta to support and protect the public’s health and well-being. Given that, we did not comment on the economic issues involved with pricing, procurement, or reimbursement. Instead, we focused on how the strategy impacts the safe, appropriate and effective use of drug therapy.

ACP emphasized that the overall Pharmaceutical Strategy must:

  • Incent desirable behaviours by drug manufacturers, prescribers, dispensers and patients;
  • Support the behavioural changes desired by all involved in drug therapy; and
  • Empower Albertans to be informed and responsible users of drug therapy when needed.

ACP's five key recommendations specific to Phase 2 of the Strategy:

  1. Evaluate strategies before implementation to assess their impact on patient, health provider and supplier behaviour.
  2. Develop regulations to ensure loyalty programs do not negatively influence patient behaviour.
  3. Reinvest all savings realized from the strategy in programs that support new economic models and forms of reimbursement for pharmacists, reinforce innovative pharmacist services, help pharmacists transition to innovative ways of delivering drugs and patient care, and/or facilitate practice change amongst pharmacists.
  4. Avoid limits on therapeutic substitution alternatives that may impede patient care.
  5. Pursue drug benefit listing strategies that incent the pharmaceutical industry to be more accountable for the use of their products.

Originally published in the June 16, 2009, issue of The Link

APEX Award videos now online
June 16, 2009

Video clips of the 2009 APEX Award winners are now on the ACP website. The APEX Awards are jointly sponsored by ACP and RxA to celebrate excellence in pharmacy practice in Alberta.

You’ll be inspired by the work of these individuals and moved by their stories. The clips are each about two minutes long and can be viewed using Windows Media Player, which you can download for free.

This year, we are proud to honour:

  • Noreen Vanderberg, M.J. Huston Pharmacist of the Year recipient
  • Jordan Allen and the staff of Hawkstone Home Health Care Pharmacy, W.L. Boddy Pharmacy of the Year recipients
  • Naila Lalani, Future of Pharmacy recipient
  • Dr. Greg Boughen, Dr. Stan Kroeker, Dawn Petit, and Tara Grimstead of the WestView PCN, Partners in Practice recipients
  • Dr. Sheri Koshman, Wyeth Apothecary Award recipient
  • Rita Lyster, Wyeth Consumer Healthcare Bowl of Hygeia recipient
  • Gail Hufty, Friend of Pharmacy recipient

Due to scheduling complications, there is not a video for Dr. Sheri Koshman who was this year’s recipient of our Wyeth Apothecary Award. The newest of the APEX Awards, this award recognizes pharmacists who have completed advanced training or education and have successfully expanded their practice as a result. Dr. Koshman was recognized for her post-doctoral fellowship in ambulatory cardiology and her work with the unique Cardiac EASE program at the U of A Hospital. 

The segments were first shown at the APEX Awards ceremony, held in conjunction with the tri-profession conference in Banff, held May 23.

Originally published in the June 16, 2009, issue of The Link

How's ACP doing?
June 16, 2009

We have commissioned Banister Research to conduct a survey of all practising pharmacists in Alberta.

We want to know what you think about:

  • The challenges you face as a pharmacist
  • The threats and opportunities facing pharmacy today
  • How ACP has performed in the past and what we should do in the future

The survey is underway now. You should have received an email and/or a phone call from Banister inviting your participation. If you have not, please contact Karen Mills, ACP Communications Leader. Your feedback is extremely important to us. We want to make sure our plans align with the province’s needs.

Originally published in the June 16, 2009, issue of The Link

Registration renewal reminder
June 16, 2009

We have 98 pharmacists, 70 associates, and 100 pharmacies that have not yet renewed their licences.

Pharmacists who have not submitted their renewals by July 1 will be immediately suspended and will be assessed a $257.25 reinstatement fee in addition to their registration renewal fees.

Associate registrants who do not renew by July 1 will have their registration cancelled.

Pharmacies who have not submitted renewals yet may not receive their 2009/10 licence by June 30, meaning they can not legally continue to operate as of July 1.

Originally published in the June 16, 2009, issue of The Link

Invitation to tech regulation update webinar
June 16, 2009

Tues., June 23, 2009

Time: 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m. MDT

ACP Deputy Registrar Dale Cooney will provide a review and update of information regarding the regulation of pharmacy technicians in Alberta. Learn about registration requirements, bridging programs, and transition timelines.

This webinar is open to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

Click here to reserve now.

Originally published in the June 16, 2009, issue of The Link

Do you hear that?
June 2, 2009

It’s your shelves talking!

At least, that was the idea when we sent five "shelf talkers" to all pharmacies in mid-May. ACP and RxA designed these in response to pharmacists’ requests for materials they could use in their stores to help further the reach of our public awareness campaign. Let Karen Mills, ACP Communications Leader, know if you didn’t receive yours or if you would like more.

Please display the signs in your store until June 15, 2009. 

Where can you use these?

Place the shelf talkers anywhere that might prompt people to seek more information. Ideas include:

  • Any of the shelves in your store – particularly those where people might benefit from pharmacist advice (e.g., cough and cold, pain relief products)
  • The dispensary counter
  • Cash registers
  • The front door or window of the pharmacy

Help your customers begin the conversation about the wide range of services you offer and the many ways in which pharmacists can help them enjoy better health. 

What’s next?

Let us know how these work. We will be designing more in-store items for future campaigns, so let us know what you’d like to see. On a related note, we created a "go to" pharmacist group to bounce ideas off of and check facts with to ensure the campaign delivers the messages pharmacists want the public to hear. If you’re interested in participating, Karen and Cynthia would love to hear from you. The next wave of advertising is slated for October 2009.

Originally published in the June 2, 2009, issue of The Link

Claiming CEUs from the CPhA conference
June 2, 2009

If you attended the recent Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) conference and are wondering how to claim your education units (CEUs), here’s the answer! To claim them for the 2008-2009 CE year, you can claim for the sessions you attended on May 30 and 31 by putting the completion date as May 31.

Since CCCEP only gave one accreditation number and since the conference ended on June 2, pharmacists may claim all the CEUs for the conference by putting June 2 as the completion date. Entering the June 2 completion date will mean that all the CEUs are assigned to the 2009-2010 CE Year.

Originally published in the June 2, 2009, issue of The Link

ACP email accounts gone on June 30, 2009
June 2, 2009

The email account previously supplied to you by the college (e.g., 1234@pharmacists.ab.ca) will no longer be available after June 30, 2009. Therefore, you must provide a different preferred email address.  

What do you need to do to get ready for the change?
  1. If you don’t already have one, establish your own email address.
  2. Update your Registrant Profile with your own email address. (You can access your profile from the homepage of ACP's website.)
  3. Clean out the inbox, address book and folders of your college email account and save any information you want to keep from your ACP account to another source.

NOTE: Messages not cleared out by June 30, 2009 will be deleted.

Why the change?

Section 41(1)(c) of the Pharmacists Profession Regulation lists an email address as a requirement of registration for regulated members. The college must collect all information required by legislation before issuing or renewing a registration.

For the past 11 years, ACP provided each registrant with an email address. When email was new and personal email addresses were a rarity, this was a valued service. However, registrants now ask that we use their own email addresses that they already check regularly.

In light of registrant requests and the decrease in demand for college email addresses, we are discontinuing the college email service.

It is your professional responsibility to maintain your membership and good standing with the college. Maintaining a valid email address and checking your email regularly is part of that responsibility. Email will increasingly be ACP’s primary communication link with you because it gets the information to you more quickly and is accessible from a variety of locations. 

Originally published in the June 2, 2009, issue of The Link

Tri-profession conference a success
June 2, 2009

Over 500 health professionals gathered in Banff between May 21 to 23 to learn about working more effectively with people of different ages, genders, ethnicities, education, and culture.

Speakers used humour, challenging questions, and real life examples to provoke participants to consider changes needed for their own practices and our health system in general.

The five conference hosts (ACP, AMA, RxA, CARNA and CPSA) committed to supplying all their members with a written document on their next collaborative steps before the year end.

Look for complete conference coverage in the next issue of acpnews.

Originally published in the June 2, 2009, issue of The Link

Thank you from the ACP registration team
June 2, 2009

Thank you to the 91% of pharmacists who submitted their registration renewals by May 31. We really appreciate your cooperation.

If you have not yet submitted:

If your renewal is outstanding as of July 1, you will be immediately suspended and cannot practiceeffective July 1, 2009. Registrants who have been suspended will be assessed a $257.25 reinstatement fee in addition to their registration renewal fees.

Originally published in the June 2, 2009, issue of The Link

ACP discontinuing email addresses
April 21, 2009

In order to continue your registration with ACP, you will be required to update your registrant profile with your own email address by the registration renewal deadline of May 31, 2009. You will not be able to renew or continue your registration with ACP if you do not provide an email address. 

The email account previously supplied to you by the college (e.g., 1234@pharmacists.ab.ca) will no longer be available after June 30, 2009. All messages and folders not cleared out by June 30, 2009, will be deleted.

What do you need to do to get ready for the change?

  1. If you don’t already have one, establish your own email address
  2. Log in to the Registrant Profile section of ACP’s website (http://pharmacists.ab.ca/). Click on View Profile, and, using the Edit feature in the Contact Information section (second "box" from the top), enter your new email address.
  3. Clean out the inbox, address book and folders of your college email account and save any information you want to keep from your ACP account to another source.

Why the change?

Section 41(1)(c) of the Pharmacists Profession Regulation lists an email address as a requirement of registration for regulated members. The college must collect all information required by legislation before issuing or renewing a registration.

For the past 11 years, ACP provided each registrant with an email address. When email was new and personal email addresses were a rarity, this was a valued service. However, registrants now ask that we use their own email addresses that they already check regularly. In light of registrant requests and the decrease in demand for college email addresses, we are discontinuing the college email service.

It is your professional responsibility to maintain your membership and good standing with the college. Maintaining a valid email address and checking your email regularly is part of that responsibility. Email will increasingly be ACP’s primary communication link with you because it gets the information to you more quickly and is accessible from a variety of locations.  

Originally published in the April 21, 2009, issue of The Link

Renew online and win!
April 21, 2009

One lucky registrant who renews online before June 1, 2009 could win the equivalent of his or her 2009/10 renewal fee.

ACP has streamlined its online renewal, competence planning and CPD Log processes. You’ll notice a new look and a more user-friendly process when you log into the Registrant Profile section of ACP's website.

Originally published in the April 21, 2009, issue of The Link

Come celebrate!
April 21, 2009

Finish your tri-profession conference with an inspiring celebration! Join us in congratulating the 2009 APEX Award winners and two new honourary life members at the APEX Awards Gala in Banff on May 23 at the close of the Strengthening the Bond conference.

There is no cost to attend, but please check the APEX Awards box on the conference registration form so that we have enough food and drinks for you!

Originally published in the April 21, 2009, issue of The Link

Early bird conference deadline extended
April 21, 2009

Alberta Health and Wellness Minister Ron Liepert and Alberta Health Services Chief Executive Officer Dr. Stephen Duckett will present a special evening session on Friday, May 22 at the conference. Register now and you will be able to participate in this unique and lively session!

  • Advance Program: Available online
  • NEW! Early Bird Deadline: May 5, 2009
  • ACP annual general meeting: May 21, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
  • APEX Awards gala: May 23, 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.

To register, or for more information, please visit the conference website.

Originally published in the April 21, 2009, issue of The Link

ACP annual report, APEX Awards feature now online
April 21, 2009

ACP and Alberta’s pharmacists saw a lot of changes last year and made plans for an exciting future. Read about the accomplishments, the people, and the plans in our:

2008-09 annual report

3-year Financial Estimates Summary

2009 APEX Awards feature

Limited numbers of the report will be printed for distribution at the annual general meeting (AGM) in Banff on Thurs., May 21.  If you would like a printed copy of the report or the awards feature, please contact Maria Lee at the college office at 1-877-227-3838 or (780) 990-0321 or by email. The reports will be available after the AGM.

Originally published in the April 21, 2009, issue of The Link

ACP Professional Practice Director
April 21, 2009

The Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) is responsible for quality pharmacist practice in Alberta. In this newly created role, the Professional Practice Director reports to the Deputy Registrar and will develop, implement and maintain a framework for monitoring pharmacist and pharmacy technician practice in Alberta. In addition, the Director will develop strategies and implement programs to improve overall professional practice including the continuous improvement of programs to monitor and support safe, effective and responsible practice.

The ideal candidate will possess a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy and licensure (or be eligible for licensure) to practice in the Province of Alberta along with experience in measurement, monitoring or quality improvement of professional practice, data analysis, and/or identification of measures or benchmarks. The successful candidate will be a passionate and entrepreneurial leader with management experience, ideally within a pharmacy practice. Candidates possessing other relevant university qualifications and experience may also be considered.  

The Alberta College of Pharmacists offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package. The organization promotes a friendly, professional work environment where employees play a key role in the success of the organization. Other specifics will be reviewed in a personal interview.

For the in-depth job description, please see the Opportunity Profile - Professional Practice Director.

For further information please contact:

Elizabeth Hurley OR James Davies
Davies Park
1505 Scotia 2, 10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5J 3R8
Phone: 780-420-9900
E-mail: careers@daviespark.com

Originally published in the April 21, 2009, issue of The Link

Election results
April 21, 2009

Congratulations to the pharmacists who have been elected to the council of the Alberta College of Pharmacists. New council terms will begin May 22, 2009. 

District 1 (Northern Alberta) - Wilson Gemmill re-elected for a three-year term by acclamation.
District 2 (Southern Alberta) - Wayne Smith elected for a two-year term. The first year of this term was served by Rick Siemens in his capacity as president.  As per the by-laws, Rick will continue on council for the 2009-2010 year as past president in a non-voting capacity. 
District 3 (Edmonton) - Chelsey Cabaj elected for a three-year term by acclamation.
District 5 (Calgary) - Anjli Acharya re-elected for a three-year term by acclamation.

We extend a sincere thank you to Jeff Whissell, who is retiring as District 3 Councillor after serving two terms. Jeff, Albertans and Alberta pharmacists appreciate your willingness to serve in the interest of the public’s health and well-being and the betterment of the profession!

Originally published in the April 21, 2009, issue of The Link

Two changes to record keeping requirements
April 21, 2009

Amendments to the Pharmacy and Drug Regulation brought about two new record keeping requirements for all pharmacies:

1. From Section 12.1(d) of the Regulation: If a drug is not picked up at the pharmacy by the patient or the patient’s agent, you must record the method of delivery of the drug to the patient.

2. From Section 12(3) of the Regulation: Required records must be maintained at the pharmacy unless the licensee has applied to the registrar in writing to store them at a location other than the pharmacy.

When making a request to maintain records outside the pharmacy, you must include the following information:

  • the exact physical location and address where the records will be located;
  • the procedures and agreements regarding how you will maintain care and control of the records and meet the requirements of the Standards for Operating Licensed Pharmacies, including how the records will be secured and how access will be restricted and controlled; and
  • the names and contact information of any persons who own or control the location where the records will be stored.

In addition, the registrar may require acknowledgements, agreements or undertakings to ensure the security and confidentiality of the records.

Summary of amendments

Amended Pharmacy and Drug Act

Amended Pharmacy and Drug Regulation

Originally published in the April 21, 2009, issue of The Link

PDA amendments and mail order pharmacies
April 21, 2009

Changes, effective April 1, 2009, addressed in the amendments include when a mail order licence is required, licensing requirements, and records that must be maintained,

We strongly encourage you to carefully review the amended legislation. What follows is a brief introduction to mail order pharmacy definitions, exemptions, and record keeping requirements.

Licensees and proprietors - Please consider the specific changes outlined in the summary prior to renewal of your pharmacy licence for the 2009-2010 year.

Mail Order Pharmacy definitions and requirements

Mail order pharmacy and mail order pharmacy service are now defined in the Pharmacy and Drug Act:

1(1)(n.1) A "mail order pharmacy" means a community pharmacy with respect to which a mail order pharmacy license has been issued;

1(1)(n.2) A "mail order pharmacy service" means a pharmacy service provided to or for a patient for which neither the patient nor the patient’s agent attends at the community pharmacy to receive the service.

If a pharmacy is going to offer a mail order pharmacy service, it must hold both a community licence and a mail order licence (subject to limited exceptions). 

Exemptions from Mail Order Pharmacy licences

Based on the definitions, if you have patients to whom you provide services who do not come to your pharmacy or have a family member or care giver who comes to your pharmacy, you must have a mail order license. There are some exemptions from this requirement that are outlined in the amended regulation to the PDA (Section 6.1).

You do not require a mail order pharmacy licence if:

(a)  the patient or patient’s agent regularly attends the community pharmacy to receive pharmacy services, but is unable to do so on a particular occasion because of a circumstance or condition affecting the patient like illness or travel or work away from the location of the community pharmacy;

(b)  a clinical pharmacist or other pharmacist authorized under the Pharmacists Profession Regulation (AR 129/2006) regularly attends personally on the patient to assess the patient and monitor the patient’s response to drug therapy;

(c)     there is

(i)  a general health emergency or crisis, recognized by resolution of the council of the College,

            (ii) a state of public emergency declared under the Public Health Act, or

(iii) a local state of public health emergency declared under the Public Health Act, that makes it unsafe or inadvisable for patients to attend the community pharmacy

Understanding Exemption (b)

If you provide pharmacy services to a nursing home, group home or other institution where the patients do not come to the pharmacy, you will require a mail order license unless there is a clinical pharmacist who visits the institution to monitor the patient’s response to drug therapy. The pharmacist(s) can be employed by your pharmacy, but they do not have to be. If the institution contracts a pharmacist to visit the institution to provide clinical services, you likely will not require a mail order licence to dispense drugs to the institution.1 If you provide pharmacy services to patients who cannot leave their homes and the patients do not have agents who visit the pharmacy, you will require a mail order licence unless you or another clinical pharmacist visits these patients to monitor their response to drug therapy.

1Please note:  This does not replace the responsibilities of the dispensing pharmacist as outlined in the Standards for Pharmacist Practice.

Record keeping requirements for Mail Order Pharmacies

When patients do not attend a pharmacy in person, it is more difficult for pharmacists to assess patients and ensure appropriateness of drug therapy. For this reason, a specific reference to mail order pharmacies is included in Section 12.1(h) of the PDA Regulation with regard to records. This section specifies that, in addition to the records that must be kept in a community pharmacy, a mail order pharmacy is also required to keep the following records:

(i)  policies and procedures regarding how information is collected in order to assess individual patients and to obtain all the information necessary to allow the pharmacist to ensure the appropriateness of drug therapy for the patient, and

(ii)  records that identify any arrangement or agreement under which patients are referred to the mail order pharmacy in order for the pharmacy to provide mail order pharmacy services to or for the patient.

Summary of amendments

Amended Pharmacy and Drug Act

Amended Pharmacy and Drug Regulation

Originally published in the April 21, 2009, issue of The Link

New DUE Quarterly available
April 7, 2009

The April 2009 edition of DUE Quarterly is now available on the ACP website. This month’s theme is Understanding causes, complications and treatments of anemias in seniors.

Originally published in the April 7, 2009, issue of The Link

A physiotherapy-pharmacy partnership to move clients
April 7, 2009

Ambulatory assistive devices (AADs) include canes, crutches, and walkers. These products are often sold at pharmacies. However, it was unknown how competent pharmacists in Alberta were in providing education on fitting, safety, and use of AADs.

In fall 2007, researchers at the Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine partnered with ACP to study pharmacists’ knowledge and skills in working with AADs. You may remember the request ACP sent for pharmacists to complete an online survey about AADs. 

A total of sixty-eight pharmacists completed the online survey. The survey revealed that only 5% of respondents felt that their training was "definitely sufficient" in AADs. Over 70% of pharmacists could not describe how to fit an AAD, and over 50% could not describe how to use the AAD for ambulation.  

To fill this knowledge gap, five Master of Science in Physical Therapy students developed an online module to instruct pharmacists on fitting, usage and safety of canes, crutches and walkers. Five pharmacists agreed to complete the online training module and have onsite assessments by the students. The aggregate post module scores improved significantly (89%).

Currently, the module is being revised for accreditation and should be made available to pharmacists as part of a continuing education program. The researchers would like to thank the pharmacists who participated. They would also like to invite you to view the full study at the poster session of the tri-profession conference in Banff.

Originally published in the April 7, 2009, issue of The Link

Reducing the risk: How secure are your pharmacy’s narcotics?
April 7, 2009

Recent media reports describing the diversion of large quantities of narcotics from Alberta pharmacies should serve as a reminder to all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians of the need for the security of drugs under their care. The following best practices are recommended in pharmacies to help create a pharmacy environment in which all narcotics are secured against theft, loss or diversion.

  1. Implement and maintain a perpetual inventory for narcotics.
  2. Conduct routine and random narcotic audits frequently and ensure that all identified discrepancies are investigated and resolved.
  3. After dispensing narcotics with a perceived high-diversion potential, back-count and verify the remaining pharmacy stock against the narcotic’s recorded perpetual inventory.
  4. Pharmacists performing the final check on narcotic prescriptions filled from log or filled as a part-fill are encouraged to consider the time elapsed since the prescription was logged or last filled. Most legitimate narcotic prescriptions are not kept on hold for extended periods, nor are intervals normally greatly exceeded between part-fills.
  5. Keep all clutter in the dispensary to a complete minimum. A disorganized dispensary creates an environment in which diversion is more likely to occur and remain undetected.
  6. Actively review on-hand pharmacy narcotic inventory needs and endeavor to keep smaller amounts of narcotics in stock. Maintaining smaller quantities on hand will allow for a more rapid identification of trends regarding increases in narcotics being received and/or being dispensed. In addition, more periodic narcotic orders resulting from lower on-hand stock levels will result in a greater opportunity for more staff members to be involved in narcotic security and therefore reduce the likelihood of any narcotic diversion by an individual.
  7. Question increases in receipted narcotic quantities. When increases are noted, these receipts should be verified against prescriptions and/or with patients and/or physician records to ensure that no diversion is occurring.
  8. Use inventory trending reports that can alert to changes in pharmacy narcotic ordering and receiving patterns.
  9. Use pharmacy software that prevents unregulated pharmacy staff from modifying previously entered narcotic prescriptions or processing narcotic prescriptions independently without another regulated pharmacy staff member checking and overriding those transactions.
  10. Use prescription scanning technology. This technology will allow pharmacists checking prescriptions filled from log or checking refills/part-fills the ability to readily review the original prescription to confirm currency, validity and authenticity.
  11. Protect individual identifying security devices such as passwords and bar-coded scan cards.

What’s the bottom line?

Get everyone in the pharmacy involved in the security of medications. Don’t have the attitude that narcotic security is the sole responsibility of the pharmacy manager. The more staff involved in all aspects of narcotic security, the less likely that diversion will occur and the more likely that theft will be detected at the earliest opportunity.

Watch for unusual or unexplained trends regarding narcotics in the pharmacy. Follow up on any perceived changes in narcotic ordering patterns, receipts, discrepancies or anything that can not be verified and accounted for. Implement consistently good patient care practices (e.g., having an ongoing dialogue with patients about their use of narcotics and reviewing patient’s medication profiles before checking and dispensing narcotic prescriptions).

Make narcotic security an open and regular part of pharmacy activities in your pharmacy.

Originally published in the April 7, 2009, issue of The Link

Answers to tax receipt questions
April 7, 2009

It's tax time, which also means it's time for questions about receipts and medical expense claims. Here are answers to our two most common questions. 

https://pharmacists.ab.ca/document_library/Pharmacists_HIA_Guide.pdf

It's tax time, which also means it's time for questions about receipts and medical expense claims. Here are answers to our two most common questions.

What can be claimed?

According to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), drug costs can be claimed only if prescribed by a medical practitioner and recorded by a pharmacist. Over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements, even if prescribed by a medical practitioner, cannot be claimed.

It is still appropriate to provide a receipt for unprescribed medications; however, the receipt should not be labeled as an official receipt for tax purposes.

For more information, see the CRA website.

To whom can you issue a receipt?

The Health Information Act provides guidance for pharmacists when issuing receipts. Prescription receipts for income tax purposes contain individually identifying diagnostic, treatment and care information (DIN) and registration information. The Act permits disclosure of individually identifying health information beyond the controlled arena to:

  • The individual who is the subject of the information (Section 33);
  • The authorized representative of the individual (Sections 33 and 104); and
  • Third parties with the individual’s consent.

This consent must be provided in writing or electronically and must include:

  1. an authorization for the custodian to disclose the health information specified in the consent,
  2. the purpose for which the health information may be disclosed,
  3. the identity of the person to whom the health information may be disclosed,
  4. an acknowledgment that the individual providing the consent has been made aware of the reasons why the health information is needed and the risks and benefits to the individual of consenting or refusing to consent,
  5. the date the consent is effective and the date, if any, on which the consent expires, and
  6. a statement that the consent may be revoked at any time by the individual providing it.

If all of the disclosures are to the individual or their authorized representative, a disclosure notation (Section 41) and notice to recipient (Section 42) is not required. If a disclosure is done with the individual’s consent, a notice to recipient (Section 42) would be required.

Resources:
  • Health Information Act
  • Pharmacist’s Guide to Applying the Health Information Act

Originally published in the April 7, 2009, issue of The Link

New APEX Award! Nominate by April 15
April 7, 2009

The Wyeth Apothecary Award is a new annual award under the APEX Award umbrella. This award is presented to a pharmacist in recognition of his/her professional achievement in pharmaceutical care through advanced learning. The deadline for nominations is April 15, 2009.

View the award details here.

Originally published in the April 7, 2009, issue of The Link

Jurisprudence exam goes online April 20, 2009
March 10, 2009

The process for writing the ACP jurisprudence exam is changing. The exam will be in electronic form only and candidates will choose a location, date and time convenient to them to challenge the exam. The Alberta College of Pharmacists will no longer administer monthly paper exams.

Testing sites will be available in the following Alberta cities:

 Blairmore   Calgary (2 sites)    Cold Lake
 Edmonton (2 sites)    Grande Prairie  Fort McMurray
 Lethbridge  Medicine Hat  Lloydminster
 Peace River               Red Deer   St. Paul

Registering for the exam will be a two-part process that candidates will initiate from a secure section of our website when they are ready to challenge the jurisprudence exam. This process will open on April 6, 2009.  For more details on the new online process, visit the Registration & Licensure section of ACP's website.

Originally published in the March 10, 2009, issue of The Link

Call for resolutions
March 10, 2009

Registrants may propose resolutions for consideration at the annual general meeting (May 21, 2009 in Banff). Greg Eberhart, ACP Registrar, must receive your resolution in writing, accompanied by the signatures of 10 voting members in good standing, by 4:30 p.m. on March 20, 2009.

Resolutions should be focused on topics relating to the college’s mandated areas of interest: public safety, effective pharmacist and pharmacy practice, and health policy. For more details, refer to the ACP Approved Guidelines for Resolutions.

Originally published in the March 10, 2009, issue of The Link

Late-breaking call for abstracts
March 10, 2009
Strengthening the Bond Conference – Banff, May 21 to 23, 2009

Submit your abstract by March 18, 2009. Click here for the abstract submission form. 

Come to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and learn about how the cultures of practice settings and the workplace impact how we work with colleagues.

  • Advance Program: Available online
  • Early Bird Deadline: April 21, 2009
  • ACP annual general meeting: 2:30 p.m., May 21
  • APEX Awards Gala: 4:30 p.m., May 23

To register or for more information, please visit the conference website.

Originally published in the March 10, 2009, issue of The Link

Pharmacists needed for mock OSCE
March 10, 2009

Dear Pharmacists:

My name is Jen Chen and I am the 4thyear pharmacy class rep at the University of Alberta.

I am currently recruiting pharmacist volunteers for the 4th year Mock OSCE that will take place on Wednesday, April 1st from 3-5 p.m.

The 4th year Mock OSCE is an invaluable opportunity for 4th year pharmacy students to practice their counseling skills and experience what the upcoming OSCE may be like.

In the Mock OSCE, students will travel through five stations, three of which will have a pharmacist and a patient (played by students from 2nd or 3rd year). The 4th year student is given 15 minutes per station, of which 7 minutes are used to solve the case and the remaining time is used to receive feedback and evaluation from the pharmacist.

The Mock OSCE is a great way to learn and the immediate pharmacist feedback is invaluable to the students. Therefore, pharmacists play an integral part in making this event a success!

As the Mock OSCE is no longer Faculty-run, I am looking for interested pharmacists to volunteer their time. Your help in this event will be greatly appreciated!

If you can volunteer for the full event, that would be most appreciated. However, if you can volunteer for only a part of the event, please contact me and I will do my best to accommodate your schedule.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Please contact me if you are interested or if any questions (jcchen@ualberta.ca ).

Please note that the following restrictions will be applied in accordance with the PEBC Mock OSCE Guidelines:

Anyone who can answer YES to (OR who is UNSURE how to answer) any of the following questions must not participate in any way – in practice OSCEs/simulations or in other programs, activities or publications designed to help potential candidates prepare for PEBC examination – without written permission from PEBC.

  1. Have you ever, in the past three years, seen confidential PEBC examination materials, such as multiple choice questions, standardized patient scripts, OSCE checklists, assessor training information?
  2. Have you ever, in the past three years, been a PEBC standardized Patient Trainer, Standardized Patient or a Standardized Health Professional (HP)?
  3. Have you ever, in the past three years, been a PEBC Assessor?
  4. Have you ever, in the past five years, attended a PEBC workshop or working session where examination questions, OSCE stations, videos or scoring sheets were reviewed?

Disclosure Statement:

__ I have not been a candidate in the PEBC Qualifying Examination – Part I or Part II.

__ I have been a candidate in the PEBC Qualifying Examination – Part I of Part II in (year) ____.

Thank you for your consideration!

Yours truly,

Jen Chen

jcchen@ualberta.ca

4th year Pharmacy Class Rep - Winter
Alberta Pharmacy Students' Association (APSA)
Room 4086 Dentistry-Pharmacy Centre
Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
University of Alberta Edmonton AB T6G 2N8

Originally published in the March 10, 2009, issue of The Link

 
Council election update
March 10, 2009

The following candidates have been elected by acclamation to the Alberta College of Pharmacists council for three-year terms commencing May 22, 2009 (the day following our annual general meeting):

  • District #1 (Northern Alberta):  Wilson Gemmill
  • District #3 (Edmonton):  Chelsey Cabaj
  • District #5 (Calgary):  Anjli Acharya

Congratulations to Wilson, Chelsey, and Anjli!

There was no election in District 4 as Dianne Donnan has one more year in her term.

Election being held in District 2

In District #2 (Southern Alberta), nominations were received for Rick Siemens and Wayne Smith, so an election will be held. Online voting will open Mar. 13 and end on April 9, 2009. The successful candidate will serve a two-year term, as Rick served the first year in his capacity as President.

Voting instructions will be emailed to all eligible voters in District 2 and will be available in the Bulletin Board section on the homepage of ACP’s website on March 13.

Originally published in the March 10, 2009, issue of The Link

ACP seeking summer student
February 24, 2009

The Alberta College of Pharmacists is seeking a research assistant for a full-time temporary position (37.5 hours per week) during the summer of 2009.

Click here to see job description. 

Originally published in the February 24, 2009, issue of The Link

Late-breaking call for abstracts
February 24, 2009
Strengthening the Bond Conference – Banff, May 21 to 23

Submit your abstract by March 18, 2009

Click here for the abstract submission form. 

Come to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and learn about how the cultures of practice settings and the workplace impact how we work with colleagues.

  • Advance Program: Available online
  • Early Bird Deadline: April 21, 2009
  • ACP annual general meeting: 2:30 p.m., May 21, 2009
  • APEX Awards Gala: 4:30 p.m., May 23, 2009

To register or for more information, please visit the conference websitehttp://www.buksa.com/strength

Originally published in the February 24, 2009, issue of The Link

Code of Ethics forum discoveries
February 24, 2009

There is little "black and white" and a lot of "grey" when it comes to the world of ethics. That was one of the main discoveries of pharmacists at two live forums in Calgary and Edmonton this past week. Forum participants heard an overview of the proposed Code of Ethics and then tested the Code out using five different case studies.

While participants found that the Code provided guidance in all cases, they also discovered how each case is different depending on the details of the situation. That’s why it’s important to remember two things:

1. The Code of Ethics is part of a package. The Code provides guidance about "what" pharmacists and technicians must consider within their professional roles. The regulations and standards provide direction about "how" to conduct yourself.

2. You must always use your professional judgement to guide your actions.

If you were unable to attend a forum, you can still:

1. view the forum slide presentation on the ACP website.

2. submit your comments in writing. Please forward your feedback by Feb. 28, 2009 to:

Grace Magyar
Executive Assistant to the Registrar
Alberta College of Pharmacists
1200 10303 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, AB  T5J 3N6
email – grace.magyar@pharmacists.ab.ca
fax – 780-990-0328

Originally published in the February 24, 2009, issue of The Link

Prevent drug diversions
February 24, 2009

A recent rash of forgery reports reminded us of a Health Canada suggestion that bears repeating.

The forgery reports disclosed that large quantities of narcotics had been dispensed. In a Health Canada lecture on preventing drug diversion, one point covered in some detail was to determine the authenticity of the prescription, regardless of how well the patient was known to the pharmacist and staff.

If you have suspicions about a prescription, consider this precautionary measure. Dispense only enough medication to allow the patient to get through a day so that you could then contact the prescriber before filling the balance. While it may require more effort up front, it could save a lot of grief for you, your pharmacy, and the health system in the end.

For more details on pharmacists’ duties before dispensing a drug, including factors to consider when determining authenticity, see Standard 5 of the Standards for Pharmacist Practice. 

Originally published in the February 24, 2009, issue of The Link

Alert: multiple-doctoring with Adderall prescription
February 24, 2009

ACP would like to alert you to a drug-seeking operation we have just learned of. A ten-year-old girl in Edmonton is being treated with Adderall for ADHD. Her physician has become aware that the girl’s father is using her medication and also taking her to other physicians to obtain prescriptions for Adderall in her name, but for his use.

If you receive a prescription for Adderall for a young girl, please check Netcare to see if other Adderall prescriptions issued by other physicians have already been filled for the individual.

This case is an example that demonstrates that although a prescription may be current, authentic and complete, a pharmacist must also ensure it is appropriate for their patient. You are reminded to ensure that before dispensing a drug, you determine the prescription is appropriate in accordance with Section 5.6 of the Standards of Pharmacist Practice:

Factors to be considered in determining the appropriateness of a prescription

A pharmacist must determine the appropriateness of a prescription for the condition being treated by considering relevant factors that a reasonable pharmacist would consider in the circumstances including, but not limited to, whether:

(a) the prescription is accurate;

(b) the prescription orders a drug or blood product for an indication that is:

(i) approved by Health Canada,

(ii) considered a best practice or accepted clinical practice in peer-reviewed literature; or

(iii) part of an approved research protocol;

(c) the dose, frequency and route of administration are appropriate;

(d) there is therapeutic duplication;

(e) there are actual or potential adverse reactions, allergies or sensitivities;

(f) there are actual or potential drug interactions;

(g) the regimen for administration is practical, based on the patient’s functional ability;

(h) the patient’s organ function, such as renal and hepatic function, will tolerate the drug or blood product;

(i) the results of laboratory or other tests, if applicable, support that prescription; and

(j) other patient-specific characteristics such as age; pregnancy or lactation status; cognitive, mental and physical challenges; lifestyle; cultural beliefs or living environment may negatively affect the appropriateness of the drug or blood product.

Take advantage of all available technology and resources when applicable to help determine appropriate medication therapy.

Originally published in the February 24, 2009, issue of The Link

Be aware – new labelling of Novo-Ferrogluc
February 24, 2009

Thanks to Pam Nickel of Rexall Outpatient Pharmacy at the U of A Hospital, who notified us that the labelling of Novo-Ferrogluc has recently changed. Please note that each tablet contains 35 mg elemental iron, NOT 35 mg of ferrous gluconate. Pam states, "I believe this is a patient safety issue and could result in overdose if patients think they should take 8.5 tablets in order to get the right dose (35mg x 8.5 = 300mg)."

Novopharm has advised Pam and ACP that, "We are aware of the safety concern that the new label has created and we are currently in the process of correcting the writing on the label and clarifying the strength of the ferrous gluconate. The corrected label will indicate, 'Novo-Ferrogluc, Ferrous Gluconate Tablets USP 300 mg (equivalent to 35 mg elemental iron)'. The product with the corrected label will soon be on the market."

Ferrous gluconate 300 mg (35 mg of elemental iron) is a Schedule 2 product. While Standard 7 of the Standards for Pharmacist Practice only requires you to enter into a dialogue with a patient who is purchasing a Schedule 2 drug for the first time, your dialogue with patients seeking this product, regardless of their purchasing history, is an opportunity to clarify the labelling and the correct dosing of this product.

Originally published in the February 24, 2009, issue of The Link

Public awareness campaign: Wave 2 launching
February 24, 2009

The second wave of the ACP/RxA public awareness campaign is set to launch on March 2, 2009. 

The campaign will run through the month of March with radio, rural newspaper, and online ads across the province. Picking up on the spring season, this wave’s ads feature a young soccer player with asthma. We will repeat the key lines used in the first wave: "You and your pharmacist…a healthy combination" and "Get to know your pharmacist – the more they know, the more they can help."

You can view the new print ad on ACP's website.

We are also developing in-store items for you. We’ll keep you posted! In the meantime, if you have questions about or suggestions for the campaign, please contact Cynthia Rousseau at RxA or Karen Mills at ACP.

Originally published in the February 24, 2009, issue of The Link

What should happen with narcotic count discrepancies?
February 11, 2009

Do you know the proper procedure when your narcotic count detects a discrepancy? You must report losses of narcotic and controlled drugs, including non-reportable narcotics and controlled drugs and targeted substances, to Health Canada no later than 10 days after its discovery.

You can find the "Loss or Theft Report" form on the ACP website under Pharmacist Resources/Forms.  For situations in which you cannot definitely determine the reason for the discrepancy, the form includes a section for unexplained loss.  

Submit the completed "Loss or Theft Report" form to Office of Controlled Substances at Health Canada; you do not submit a copy of the form to ACP. Like medication errors, you may want to review these forms periodically to identify any trends or opportunities to improve your processes.

Originally published in the February 11, 2009, issue of The Link

Congratulations 2009 APEX Award recipients!
February 11, 2009

The APEX Awards recognize excellence in pharmacy practice in Alberta. Initiated in August 2007, the awards are jointly funded, promoted, and presented by the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA) and the Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP). ACP and RxA are pleased to announce this year’s APEX Award recipients.

The 2009 APEX Award recipients are:

  • M.J. Huston Pharmacist of the Year – Noreen Vanderburgh of Edmonton
     
  • W.L. Boddy Pharmacy of the Year – Hawkstone Home Health Care Pharmacy in Edmonton, managed by Jordan Allen
  • Partners in Practice – Dr. Stan Kroeker, Dr. Greg Boughen, Tara Grimstead and Dawn Petit; physician, pharmacist and nurse leads for the WestView Primary Care Network in Spruce Grove
  • Wyeth Consumer Healthcare Bowl of Hygeia – Rita Lyster of Barrhead
  • Future of Pharmacy – Naila Lalani of Edmonton
  • Friend of Pharmacy – Gail Hufty of Edmonton

Join us in congratulating these winners at the APEX Awards ceremony in Banff on May 23 at the close of the Strengthening the Bond tri-profession conference. There is no cost to attend, but please check the APEX Awards box on the conference registration form so that we have enough food and drinks for you!

Watch for more details about the 2009 award winners and the conference in upcoming issues of The Link and acpnews.

Originally published in the February 11, 2009, issue of The Link

Name the newsletter winner
February 11, 2009

Congratulations to Brett Baumback! He is the creative mind behind the new name for this newsletter: The Link.

"I think the word link makes subtle reference to the fact that it is an online publication," Brett noted in his submission. We agree, and also liked the allusion to relationship and interconnection. Brett practices at Safeway Pharmacy #864 in Edmonton. In his spare time, he unleashes his "techie" side by getting much of his news online and dabbling in website design. Brett will receive a $200 Future Shop gift card as thanks for his winning suggestion.

Originally published in the February 11, 2009, issue of The Link

Lots of opinions, but little time?
January 27, 2009

If this describes you, then you’re exactly who we need!

For our public awareness campaign, we are creating a "go to" pharmacist group to bounce ideas off, check facts with, ask questions of, and make sure the campaign truly delivers the messages pharmacists want the public to hear. We would seek your opinions, via email, about once a month.

Interested? Contact Cynthia at RxA or Karen at ACP.

Originally published in the January 27, 2009, issue of The Link
Name this newsletter and WIN!
January 27, 2009

Enter your suggestion for this new electronic newsletter’s name. If your suggestion is chosen, you will win a $200 Future Shop gift card.

Email your suggestions to karen.mills@pharmacists.ab.ca no later than Feb. 5, 2009.

In the event of more than one person suggesting the winning name, the first submission will be declared the winner.

Originally published in the January 27, 2009, issue of The Link

FREE Hypertension Information
January 27, 2009

The Alberta Hypertension Initiative is a new provincial project designed to provide health care professionals the latest Canadian Hypertension Education Program (CHEP) educational materials. To provide you the latest blood pressure information, we are launching an innovative Alberta program to provide hypertension management tools for you and your patients – FREE!

Currently there are over 500,000 adults in Alberta diagnosed with hypertension, while those who live to an average age have over 90% chance of developing it. Pharmacists play a pivotal role with patients in the detection, treatment and management of hypertension.  

Visit the Alberta Hypertension Initiative link to order your peer-reviewed, evidence-based educational materials. Interested in educating patients or other health care professionals? Be sure to sign up for our Train the Trainer sessions!

2009 Canadian Hypertension Education Program Key Messages

Originally published in the January 27, 2009, issue of The Link

Sign on to the Vision for Pharmacy!
January 27, 2009

You’ve probably heard of the Vision for Pharmacy– a historic document that describes a landscape where pharmacists practice to the full extent of their skills and knowledge to achieve optimal drug therapy outcomes for Canadians through patient-centred care – and a major milestone in the Blueprint for Pharmacy initiative.

Now you can visibly demonstrate your support for the Blueprint for Pharmacy: The Vision for Pharmacy by signing an on-line Personal Commitment to Act.

By signing you are agreeing:

to support changes that move the profession forward;
to support the continued collaboration of with pharmacy organizations to further the work of the Task Force on Blueprint for Pharmacy and working groups; and
to encourage your colleagues and pharmacy employers to commit to the Vision for Pharmacy.

Be a leader; sign the online Personal Commitment to Act!

Contact the Secretariat at:

Canadian Pharmacists Association
1785 Alta Vista Drive
Ottawa, ON  K1G 3Y6
Tel:(613) 523-7877 or 1-800-917-9489   
Fax:(613) 523-0445 or 1-800-601-1904
blueprint@pharmacists.ca

Originally published in the January 27, 2009, issue of The Link

Changes to pharmacy library requirements make upkeep easier
January 27, 2009

The Standards for Operating Licensed Pharmacies list the requirements for the pharmacy library to which a pharmacist in the dispensary must have access. (Standards 38-42) For 2009, ACP has made changes to the pharmacy library requirements to make upkeep easier. 

Traditionally these library reference sources have been kept in textbook format, yet many of them are now available electronically by CD-Rom or web subscription. For example, the Canadian Pharmacists Association offers e-Therapeutics+, an online resource that can replace your CPS, therapeutics textbook and drug interaction reference source.

With ACP’s new requirements, now not only are electronic references encouraged, but the Martindale’s may now be up to one issue old and your medical dictionary may be up to ten years old (from the date of publishing). Please check the ACP website to see the updated list of recommended reference sources before you update your pharmacy library.

Originally published in the January 27, 2009, issue of The Link

Looking for PEBC assessors
January 27, 2009

The Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) invites interested pharmacists to consider participating as an assessor for the PEBC Qualifying Examination – Part II (OSCE). The national exam will be held on Sunday May 24, 2009 at sites in both Edmonton and Calgary.

To qualify you must have been licensed in Canada for at least three years and you must currently be a member in good standing and providing or directly supervising patient care services, including dispensing, clinical and drug information services.

Assessors will be involved in the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) that is used to evaluate candidates as a prerequisite for registration with ACP and most other Canadian colleges. The exam is designed to assess communication/ interpersonal skills, the application of knowledge to simulations of commonly encountered patient scenarios, and other aspects of professional competence that do not lend well to written examination.

Preceptors in the practice setting (e.g., for structured practical training, internship and clerkship programs) and occasional teaching assistants in years 1 and 2 of the academic program would normally qualify as assessors.

Information about the examination, guidelines for the selection of assessors, as well as an assessor interest survey and response form can be found on the PEBC website.

Interested pharmacists outside of Edmonton and Calgary are welcome to apply as assessors. Some travel expenses may be paid to out-of-town assessors.

Edmonton site please contact:

Judith Makarowski
O.S.C.E Coordinator- Edmonton
Standardized Patients Program
Health Sciences Council
University of Alberta
300 Campus Tower
8625-112 Street
Tel.: (780)492-2527
Fax: (780)492-2874
Email: judith.makarowski@ualberta.ca

Calgary site, please send your response by email (preferred) or fax to:

Yoshiko Shimizu
6 Glenmount Cresc. SW
Calgary, AB   T3E 4B3
Tel.: (403) 475-0566
Email: pebc-calgary@shaw.ca

Supervision of pharmacy technicians and other individuals
January 27, 2009

We’re getting closer to pharmacy technician regulation, but for now the status quo continues. Pharmacists are reminded that the supervision requirements for individuals who are not registered as pharmacy technicians are more stringent than those for pharmacist technicians.

Pharmacists are reminded that the supervision requirements for individuals who are not registered as pharmacy technicians are more stringent than those for pharmacist technicians. Registered pharmacy technicians may continue with activities outlined Section 20 of the Standards for Pharmacist Practice; those who are not registered are more limited.

Specifically note Section 20.4 which says:

In addition to the activities listed in standard 20.3, a pharmacy technician engaged in compounding a drug or blood product under supervision may:

(a) apply appropriate prescription labels to a compounded drug,

(b) check the drug selected for compounding to see that it is consistent with the formula and prescription, or

(c) confirm a calculation or measure required as part of the act of compounding.

Pharmacy technicians who voluntarily registered with ACP were required to renew their annual membership prior to Jan. 1, 2009. All but 51 individuals chose to renew. Please confirm the membership status of your team members to determine the supervision requirements in your pharmacy.

Originally published in the January 27, 2009, issue of The Link

Nominate your future leaders
January 27, 2009

ACP will be holding council elections Districts 1, 2, 3, and 5 this term. Nomination forms and lists of eligible candidates are now available on the ACP website under About ACP/Council or you can use the following links:

Lists of eligible candidates for:

Nominations must arrive at the college office by 4:30 p.m. on Fri., Feb. 27, 2009.

Originally published in the January 27, 2009, issue of The Link

 
Methotrexate - Beware and be aware
January 27, 2009

Methotrexate (oral and injectable) is a "high alert medication"! In the past month, ACP has been made aware of two medication errors involving oral methotrexate. 

In both cases it appears that the medication was dispensed with instructions for daily dosing instead of weekly dosing. One incident is alleged to have occurred in the community setting and another in an institutional setting.

"The use of methotrexate is well established in oncology. For many years it has also been prescribed in low doses for immunomodulation in rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, myasthenia gravis, and inflammatory myositis and these uses are continually increasing. Used for these latter purposes, the dose is administered weekly or twice a week."Remember - weekly dosing of methotrexate is much more common than daily dosing.

Recommendations

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has issued several alerts about preventing methotrexate errors. ISMP recommendations include the following:

  • Build alerts in electronic prescribing systems and pharmacy computers to warn clinicians whenever oral methotrexate is entered so that indication and dosing frequency can be assessed.
  • Implement a system that requires pharmacist counselling for allmethotrexate prescriptions, including refills, to ensure that patients are reminded of once-weekly dosing.
  • As a safety practice, prescribers should include a specific clinical indication (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, etc.).
  • If the purpose of the medication is not made apparent, …pharmacists should speak directly with the prescriber [emphasis added] to determine the reason for use of methotrexate and to verify the proper dosing schedule and promote appropriate monitoring of the patient.1
When do errors occur?

A review of methotrexate errors published in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy in July 2004 found that "errors occurred in all four steps of the medication-use process":

  • prescribing (37%),
  • dispensing (19%),
  • administration (17%), and
  • consuming (20%)2.

This review found that 24% of the errors reported resulted in death and another 45% resulted in other serious outcomes. These results highlight the need for vigilance by all health care providers – physicians, nurses, and pharmacists – as well as the patient, when methotrexate is used.

YOU can make a difference!

ISMP reported, "A pharmacist prevented significant patient harm by questioning an atypical methotrexate dose and persisting until his concerns were evaluated by other members of the healthcare team, including the patient’s family."3

ACP encourages all pharmacists to read the ISMP Canada alert and to consider implementing their recommendations. You may wish to print this ISMP alert: http://www.ismp.org/hazardalerts/ha.pdf out in colour (with its bright red and yellow border) and post it in your pharmacy where the methotrexate is stored or where order entry takes place.

ACP also reminds pharmacists that complying with the Standards for Pharmacist Practice can help prevent and/or detect medication errors. Standard 7.2 states:

a pharmacist must enter into a dialogue with a patient …if, in the pharmacist’s professional opinion, a dialogue is required to

(i) provide the patient with sufficient information to enable the patient to receive the intended benefit of the drug therapy, or

            (ii) avoid, resolve or monitor a drug-related problem."4

Because of the potentially serious side effects, ask patients what they are taking the drug for and assess for side effects and compliance at each refill. Ask if they are having regular blood work and if they know what the results of those lab tests are. You can check Netcare for recent lab results such as white blood cell count and red blood cell count. Ask if the patient is experiencing any adverse effects and determine whether those side effects could to be expected at the prescribed dose or whether the patient might be receiving more than the intended dose. Not only will this dialogue help detect possible medication errors, it gives you the opportunity to identify and resolve any drug-related problems, e.g., nausea.

Keep in mind that you can also use these strategies to the patient’s benefit with other drugs with a narrow therapeutic index such as warfarin and digoxin.


[1] ISMP. (December 3, 2002) "Methotrexate overdose due to inadvertent administration daily instead of weekly". Medication Safety Alert. Retrieved January 15, 2009 from http://www.ismp.org/hazardalerts/ha.pdf.

[2]Moore, T.J., Walsh, C.S., Cohen, M.R. (2004, July 20). Reported Medication Errors Associated With Methotrexate. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy61(13):1380-1384

[3] Persistence saves patient’s life. (2007, December 13). ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute Care newsletter. Retrieved January 15, 2009 from http://www.ismp.org/newsletters/acutecare/archives/Dec07.asp

[4]Alberta College of Pharmacists (2007, April). Standards for Pharmacist Practice.

Ddrops and dosing – it may not be what you think
January 27, 2009

Janie Tyrrell, a Healthy Beginnings Consultant, wants to make pharmacists and parents aware of a potentially dangerous situation.

"There is a newer Vitamin D preparation available to purchase over the counter" says Janie. "It is called ‘Ddrops’ and is a very concentrated formulation. It is available in an adult dose of 1000IU per drop and in a children's dose of 400 IU per drop. Many parents are purchasing this product for infant use.

Until recently, most of the other Vitamin D preparations available (such as D-visol) had 400 IU in one mL (usually one whole dropper full). We have been made aware of one situation in the community of a parent giving the infant one mL of the Ddrops which is about 35 drops or 14,000 IU. Fortunately, the infant had just a few doses and no negative health effects."

To help prevent future overdoses, consider:

  • Posting signs near the Ddrops display, alerting customers to the dosing instructions.
  • Stocking Ddrops nearer the pharmacy so that you can counsel people as they pick up the product.

Originally published in the January 27, 2009, issue of The Link

Tri-profession conference - mark your calendar
January 14, 2009

May 21-23
Banff Springs Hotel

Additional conference events:
ACP AGM – 2:30 to 4:30, Thurs., May 21
APEX Awards – 4:30 to 6:30, Sat., May 23

Organized by physicians, registered nurses and pharmacists and held in beautiful Banff, this is one event you won’t want to miss! Join other health professionals as they examine culture and collaboration, and take key learnings back to your workplace.

The early bird registration deadline is April 17. Don’t wait – the last one sold out!

Online registration

Originally published in the January 14, 2009, issue of The Link

It's Okay to Ask
January 14, 2009

Fear, embarrassment and limited skills often keep patients from asking their health care providers important questions. Research tells us that more than half of the Canadian population cannot understand or evaluate basic health information. How can you help?

The Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA), with ACP, are distributin It’s Okay to Ask, a simple, newspaper-style report that helps Albertans work closely with their health care providers to give and get the information they need to play an active part in their own health, safety and well-being.

It’s Okay to Ask advises patients to be open and honest with practitioners and encourages them to ask for clarification if they don’t understand their condition, or what actions they need to take and why.

It’s Okay to Ask gives patients helpful tools to track their symptoms and medications, as well as useful short lists of questions to ask practitioners that can provide clarification or reassurance about health concerns, treatment choices, medications and lifestyle changes.

It’s Okay to Ask acknowledges that many people outside the health care professions find medical terms, explanations or instructions confusing at times. The report gives people tips on how to talk to their health care providers in clear and understandable language intended to clarify terminology and eliminate any possible embarrassment on the part of the patient.

It’s Okay to Ask emphasizes that health care providers are not only here to help resolve their patients’ condition–but to help them understand what they need to do to get better and stay healthy.

You will receive a free copy of the report with the Winter 2009 edition of acpnews. Five free copies of It’s Okay to Ask are also being mailed to each pharmacy. If you would like more free copies, go to www.hqca.ca or call the HQCA office at 403.297.8162. We thank you in advance for helping us get this information to the people you serve and welcome your feedback.

HQCA – promoting and improving patient safety and health service quality across Alberta

Originally published in the January 14, 2009, issue of The Link

Your thoughts on the proposed Code of Ethics?
January 14, 2009

ACP Council is proposing a revised Code of Ethics. Ethics are the foundational framework upon which pharmacists and pharmacy technicians base their day-to-day work. This new code anticipates practice scenarios and technologies not contemplated in the previous version.

In an increasingly complex world, you deal regularly with situations that require analysis and action that are not always simple or straightforward. The ACP Code of Ethics reflects what the profession stands for and reinforces what is unique about what pharmacists and pharmacy technicians contribute to the patient, to society and to the profession. Ethics reflect the soul of the profession.

Review the proposed Code of Ethics and let us know what you think. The 60-day consultation process will end on Feb. 28.

COMMENTS?
To comment on the draft Code of Ethics, please forward your feedback by Feb. 28, 2009 to:
Grace Magyar
Executive Assistant to the Registrar
Alberta College of Pharmacists
1200 10303 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5J 3N6
email – grace.magyar@pharmacists.ab.ca
fax – 780-990-0328

Originally published in the January 14, 2009, issue of The Link

APEX Pharmacist of the Year nomination deadline extended
January 14, 2009

The deadline for nominations for the 2009 for the M.J. Huston Pharmacist of the Year is being extended until January 23. The M.J. Huston Pharmacist of the Year honours a pharmacist who has demonstrated outstanding professional excellence in the practice of pharmacy.

If this sounds like you or a pharmacist you know, nominate now.

Questions? Contact: 
Maria Lee, ACP Communications Coordinator
Phone: 780-990-0321 or toll-free at 1-877-227-3838 
Fax: 780-990-0328

Originally published in the January 14, 2009, issue of The Link
Name this newsletter and WIN!
January 14, 2009

Enter your suggestion for this new electronic newsletter’s name. If your suggestion is chosen, you will win a $200 Future Shop gift card.

Email your suggestions to karen.mills@pharmacists.ab.ca no later than Feb. 5, 2009.

In the event of more than one person suggesting the winning name, the first submission will be declared the winner.

Originally published in the January 14, 2009, issue of The Link

Welcome to ACP's e-news premier!
January 14, 2009

ACP is kicking off the New Year with a handy new publication for you – our bi-weekly e-news bulletin!

To reduce the load on your inbox, this e-newsletter will replace daily acp emails, and instead, group them in a user-friendly, easy to access, bi-weekly format.

Our new e-newsletter will also ensure that you receive the information you need in a timely manner between issues of acpnews and Transition Times and will include information such as advance notice of deadlines, process changes, reminders, and relevant developments to existing projects.

The information you need, packaged and delivered to your inbox, when you need it.  We hope you enjoy it!

Originally published in the January 14, 2009, issue of The Link

Call for nominations - council elections
January 14, 2009

Now is the time to step up for your profession. Consider taking your seat at the ACP council table.

ACP will be holding council elections in four districts this term:

  • District 1 (Grande Prairie and area)
  • District 2 (Lethbridge and area),
  • District 3 (Edmonton and area)
  • District 5 (Calgary and area) this spring.

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 pharmacist practice in Alberta,
  • model safe, effective, responsible pharmacist practice,
  • have demonstrated leadership skills,
  • are able to commit 12 to 15 days per year over a three-year term.

When considering the criteria of a good councillor, review the responsibilities and councillor code of conduct under About ACP/Council and the college by-laws under About ACP on the ACP website.

Nominations must:

  • be in writing,
  • be signed by at least two voting members of the District in which nomination is sought,
  • include written consent of the nominee, and
  • include a statement of eligibility by the nominee.

Nominations must arrive at the college office by 4:30 p.m. on Fri., Feb. 27, 2009.

Originally published in the January 14, 2009, issue of The Link