News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACP’s policy on inducements will take effect immediately.


For more information, please contact:

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

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

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

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

What must be documented?

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

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

Who requires a written treatment plan?

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

What does a treatment plan look like?

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

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

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

How do I document this?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What exactly is a pledge?

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

How can you participate?

It’s simple:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck! 

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

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

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

Take a cue from your patients

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

Keep informed of the latest health and wellness trends

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

Learn a new lab test

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

Become more familiar with a regulatory or practice issue

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

Earn CEUs while networking and strengthening your inter-professional relationships

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

Share your knowledge of pharmacy with other health professionals 

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

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

CPhA takes official stance on cannabis
August 30, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indication

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

Effectiveness

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

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

Safety

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

Adherence

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exercising conscientious objection
August 30, 2017

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

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

Exercising conscientious objection proactively and respectfully  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full guidelines

Overview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accessibility

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Netcare

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

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

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

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

Demographics

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

Related articles: 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prescribers with the same name
August 16, 2017

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

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

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

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

New TPP Program Guide available online
August 9, 2017

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

What’s new?

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

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

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

Pharmacy Use Only section

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

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

ACP office closed for Heritage Day
August 4, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Examples

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

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

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

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

Medical Assistance in Dying Medication Protocol Updated
August 3, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Building a strong administrative team for the future

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

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

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

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

Originally published in The Link - August 2, 2017


Related: 

ACP seeks two Deputy Registrars 

Topical minoxidil granted unscheduled status
August 2, 2017

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

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

Health Product InfoWatch: July 2017
July 28, 2017

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

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

July 2017 issue:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the 2016 learning cycle:

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

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

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

Change to 2018 learning cycle: peer verification form discontinued

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

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

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

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

According to the CCP technician rules the peer must be:

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

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

When is the peer verification form applicable?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pharmacists encouaged to apply

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To view the full announcement, visit the CARNA website.

New Pharmacy Technician FAQs available
July 19, 2017

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

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

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

 

 View and download the PDF

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

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

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

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

Learning with peers

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

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

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

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

Committing to action

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

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

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

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

Circling back to the patient

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

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

Jody echoed a similar sentiment.

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

New guidelines for dispensing Mifegymiso®
July 12, 2017

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

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

 View guidelines

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

Mifegymiso® : Information for Pharmacists

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

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

What is Mifegymiso®?

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

How is Mifegymiso® taken?

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

What should the woman expect after taking Mifegymiso®?

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

What are the requirements to dispense Mifegymiso®?

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

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

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

References:

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

June 2017 Health Product InfoWatch
July 10, 2017

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

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

June 2017 issue:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New guidelines for patients using opioid medications
July 6, 2017

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

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

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

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

Summary of guideline requirements

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

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

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

First Steps

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

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

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

 Read the guidance


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertising of Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 Drugs

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

Restrictions on Advertising Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 Drugs

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

Council highlights:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 Read 2016-2017 Annual Report

Raising the bar on assessments
June 26, 2017

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

So how do we make this happen? 

Gathering data

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

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

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

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

Utilize technicians, work flow

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

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

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

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

Progress for Albertans

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

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

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

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

Mike Bain and the Castor Pharmacy Museum
June 23, 2017

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

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


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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary of CCP requirements for pharmacists

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

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

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

More info on the Documenting Patient Care module

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

After completing this module, you should be able to:

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

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

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

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

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

Precepting pays off for award winners
June 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sodium bicarbonate injectable shortage
June 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACP office closed for Canada Day
June 14, 2017

Happy Canada Day!

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

Pharmacy licensee hours benchmark: FAQs
June 13, 2017

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

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

1.    Why was the benchmark established? 

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

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

2.    Why are pharmacy licensees important to pharmacy practice?

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

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

3.    Why was the benchmark of 30 hours established?

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

4.    What does it mean to be present?

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

5.    What does the benchmark of 30 hours mean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Compounding and repackaging talks underway with Saskatchewan

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

Updated Patient Concerns Management framework
June 9, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

 

 Read the framework

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

Practice with compassion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACP Committee Appointments
June 9, 2017

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

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

Competence Committee

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

Hearing Tribunal Pool

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

Health Professions Act (HPA) Section 65 Review Committee:

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

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

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

In this issue:

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

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

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

Effectiveness of licensees critical to success

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

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

Meeting the benchmark 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best Possible Medication History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Imodium high potentially fatal: CBC News
May 24, 2017

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

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

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

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

ACP office closed for Victoria Day
May 19, 2017

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

Have a safe and enjoyable long weekend!

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

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

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

TPP data integrity

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

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

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

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

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

Patient impact

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

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

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

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

Globe

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

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

Growth in Alberta

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

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

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

Council reviewing policies

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

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

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

Nurture the profession

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

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


Related topics

 Structured Practical Training (SPT) for pharmacists

 Become an SPT Preceptor

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


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

1. Non-accredited programs count.

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


4. Have “SMART” objectives.

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

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


5. Show your evidence

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


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

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


7. Optional means optional.

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


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

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


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

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



Additional resources you may like: 
 

 CCP tutorial video

 Examples of Implementation Objectives

 How to write SMART objectives

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Negative cycles 

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

Each time she failed.

You get used to the chaos and that disabling lifestyle.

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

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

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

Helping hands on the journey to recovery 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Council update
May 10, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Motions were passed to support policies that will:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apply for the 4th annual Leadership Forum

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

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

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

Collaboration and support 

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

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

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

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

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

Motivating and inspiring 

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

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

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

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

 


Apply for the 4th annual Leadership Forum

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

 Learn more

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

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

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

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

Three educational and inspiring presentations

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

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

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

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

Putting it into practice

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

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

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

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

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

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


Apply for the 4th annual Leadership Forum

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

 Learn more

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

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

How to renew

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

Continuing Competence Program

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

Learn more 

April 2017 Health Product InfoWatch
April 27, 2017

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

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

In this issue: 

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

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

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

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

Working collectively

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

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

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

Six themes 

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

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

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

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

The call to exceed

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

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

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

 

Read the roadmap document

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

Message from the Registrar

Pharmacists: share your successes through patient stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three new council members elected
April 26, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terms for the new council members begin July 1.

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

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

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

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

Four easy steps to meet program requirements:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 2017 Health Product InfoWatch
March 30, 2017

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

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

In this issue

Reminder: CCP portfolio assessors needed
March 29, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reimbursement

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

Other benefits of being a CCP portfolio assessor

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

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

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

 

Should ACP change its name?
March 29, 2017

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

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

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

Background

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

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

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

Relative Legislation

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

Our Invitation to You

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

Decision

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

 

Council update
March 29, 2017

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

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

 

HQCA Patient Experience Awards 2017
March 29, 2017

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

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

For full details and to apply, click here.

Submissions will be accepted until April 13, 2017.

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

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

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

A look back…

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACP Spring 2017 Regional Meetings
March 28, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

RSVP


Dates and Locations
Webinar

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

Fort McMurray

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

Calgary

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

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


Questions/Contact

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

ACP Regional Meetings: save the date
March 15, 2017

It’s Regional Meeting time again! ACP council president Taciana Pereira and registrar Greg Eberhart will be visiting Fort McMurray and Calgary, and chatting with you via live webinar this spring.

During these sessions, we will be facilitating discussion about two important topics affecting pharmacy practice in Alberta:

  • Modernizing role statements for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians (continuing the discussion from our fall 2016 meetings)
  • Changing the name of College to reflect the integration of pharmacy technicians

All pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are encouraged to join ACP for an evening of discussion to explore these topics. In addition, part of the meeting will be dedicated to an open forum to hear what is on your mind and gain an understanding of the issues affecting you locally.

A formal email invitation will be sent to you within the next week. In the meantime, please mark the following dates in your calendar:

April 11 – Live webinar 
April 20 – Fort McMurray (location TBD)
May 2 – Calgary (location TBD)

Don’t forget: you can claim participation at regional meetings as non-accredited learning.

Should ACP change its name?
March 15, 2017

In September, council discussed proposals from pharmacy technicians to change the name of the college to be more inclusive of both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Council was provided an analysis of the impact, opportunities, and risks. Council agreed that future discussion about the proposed name change should be informed by a plan that includes an environmental scan, timeframes for ACP’s legislative renewal strategies, costs, and an implementation plan.  Integration of pharmacy technicians is a priority of Council, and we wanted further discussions on the proposal for a name change to be thoughtful and inclusive of both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

At its March 3 meeting, Council requested that the Registrar prioritize work required to seek amendment to Schedule 19 of the Health Professions Act to modernize the role statements for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians and the possibility of an organizational name change. The College will begin registrant engagement about the organization’s name shortly, and looks forward to both pharmacists and pharmacy technician’s contribution to this discussion.

We look forward to your thoughts during our forthcoming webinar and regional meetings announced in this edition of The Link. Watch for additional opportunities to contribute your thoughts, to be announced in the March 29, 2017 edition of The Link. 

CCP portfolio assessors needed
March 15, 2017

Would you like a front-row view of what’s happening in pharmacy practice? Would you like to contribute to the growth of our professions?

If you answered yes, you may be just who we’re looking for! We’re recruiting pharmacists to serve as assessors for the upcoming Continuing Competence Program (CCP) audit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reimbursement

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

Other benefits of being a CCP portfolio assessor

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

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

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

Reminder: provide your input on role statements by March 31
March 15, 2017

We are looking for your input on the role statements for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Why is this so important? Role statements provide meaning to individuals and families who use pharmacy services, and provide clarity to other health professionals, community service providers, and stakeholders who practice with or who are impacted by pharmacy services.

Role statements were last developed in 1995 for Alberta pharmacists, and in 2008 for pharmacy technicians. Much has changed since then. Our goal is to modernize these statements based on current practices, to reflect what pharmacists and pharmacy technicians currently "do" in contributing to person-centered care. 

To review the draft role statements and provide feedback, please visit ACP's consultation page.

Your response is appreciated and due by noon on March 31, 2017.

Expert Committee on Drug Evaluation and Therapeutics
March 15, 2017

Alberta Health is seeking Albertans with expertise in pharmacy, health research and epidemiology-related fields to serve on the Expert Committee on Drug Evaluation and Therapeutics. The committee is an advisory agency for the Minister of Health that provides advice to the Minister regarding the Alberta Drug Benefit List. It is a unique opportunity to make potentially lifesaving updates to the Alberta Drug Benefit List and improve Albertan’s access to modern medicine. If you’re interested, please apply by April 2.

View the posting

Council elections now open
March 15, 2017

Voting officially opened at 8:00 a.m. on March 15 for council positions for a pharmacist in District 2 (Southern Alberta) and District 3 (Edmonton), and for a pharmacy technician in District B (Southern Alberta). The successful candidate in District 3 will serve a two-year term on council; as this is the residual of the term held by current president, Taciana Pereira. Other successful candidates will be elected for a three-year term. All voting will be online at http://pharmacists.ab.ca/vote2017. Voting closes Thursday, April 13 at 4:30 p.m.

The candidates seeking election for District 2 (Southern Alberta) are:  

  • Peter Eshenko
  • James Frobb
  • Dominick Gartner
  • Anita McDonald

The candidates seeking election for District 3 (Edmonton) are:

  • Fayaz Rajabali
  • Marcel Romanick

The candidates seeking election for District B (Southern Alberta) are:

  • Nicholas Burns
  • Dana Lyons
  • Jennifer Teichroeb (incumbent)
  • Sharon Van Wert

To support the election process, ACP will send two emails on candidates’ behalf to voters in their district. Watch your inbox for those messages. A biographical sketch of each candidate will be posted on the election site, so voters can learn about each candidate to make a more informed decision when casting their ballot.

Edmonton pharmacists work to improve lives of inner-city's most vulnerable
March 14, 2017

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
 

Edmonton, AB - A group of local health professionals are challenging our perception of what it means to be a pharmacist. Each with their own unique story, these individuals are connected through their dedication to caring for the inner-city’s most vulnerable and marginalized residents. Their innovative approach to caring for individuals living with HIV, grappling with mental health and addiction, and in some cases, homelessness, is both inspiring and eye-opening.

These revolutionary and equally compassionate pharmacists were recently honoured at the 2017 APEX Awards, an annual event hosted by the Alberta College of Pharmacists and the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association to recognize excellence in pharmacy practice in Alberta.

Adherence and Community Engagement (ACE) Team

Launched in August of 2016, the ACE Team is a pharmacist-led HIV outreach team initiative based in Edmonton, that has truly become a unique and innovative pharmacy practice model with no parallel across Canada. The ACE Team consists of two clinical pharmacists, Essi and Klaudia, and licensed practical nurse, Sokun. It was a program developed by the Mint Health + Drugs group as part of their non-profit community health arm, Mint Communities. ACE operates as a mobile team in the community to support transient, disengaged individuals – previously never considered candidates for therapy – successfully start and maintain adherence to antiretroviral therapy. Understanding that health issues do not occur in isolation, the team also connects individuals with community resources to help address their unique social needs and self-identified goals.

“We hope that in achieving greater patient stability and suppressed viral loads, our team’s interventions can demonstrate reduced HIV viral transmission, reduced instances of new HIV cases, as well as a reduction in hospitalizations and incarcerations,” says Klaudia Zabrzenski, clinical pharmacist. View the ACE Team’s video and full profile.

Ken Forgach

By day, Ken is a critical care pharmacist at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. When his shift is over, Ken puts on another hat and makes his way to the inner-city to pursue his passion for helping others. Ken volunteers in the inner-city helping individuals in need of a bite to eat, some warm clothing, or a supportive ear. With his non-profit organization, the Hymningbirds, Ken makes regular visits to local hospitals, nursing homes, soup kitchens, and prisons. Drawing on his skills as a pharmacist, Ken also keeps Naloxone kits on hand to educate members of the community who may need to use the kits on friends or family members struggling with opioid addiction.

“Volunteering has opened my eyes and my heart to the sufferings and struggles of those around me. As a pharmacist, it has reminded me that everyone is special and deserves generous portions of love and respect along with the clinical care I provide,” says Ken Forgach, clinical pharmacist and community volunteer. View Ken’s video and full profile.

Andrew Noh

A clinical pharmacist at Mint Health + Drugs - CMP in downtown Edmonton, Andrew works primarily with inner-city patients who often require daily assistance. Andrew and his team collaborate with neighboring clinics and services such as the Boyle McCauley Health Centre (BMHC) and Heavy Users of Services (HUoS), where health professionals, social workers, and the Edmonton Police Service, work together to provide care for patients with multiple barriers to health care, such as homelessness, mental health, and addiction.

“To me, excellence in pharmacy practice means going above and beyond for your patients. It’s about more than just helping them meet their health-related needs; it’s about the time spent to understand their life and putting a smile on their face,” says Andrew Noh, clinical pharmacist. View Andrew’s video and full profile.

Michelle Foisy

Michelle Foisy is a clinical pharmacist with the Northern Alberta HIV Program. Michelle has made many contributions to patient care throughout her 30-year career. Most recently, she played a leading role in updating and implementing the Alberta Health Services/Covenant Health HIV Perinatal Protocol. This protocol is essential in guiding management of HIV-infected pregnant women and preventing transmission of HIV to the neonate. Michelle and her colleagues have also developed a drug interaction app for HIV/HCV therapy, which is used extensively by health care providers. Michelle works closely with an interdisciplinary team to get HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral treatment and to stay on treatment for life. This involves a great deal of outreach and the development of strong partnerships with community agencies and pharmacies, particularly for inner-city patients who may have more social challenges.

“I did not fully appreciate where my career was headed when I started. I now see the richness of the opportunities I’ve had. Not only have I grown and learned from my patients, I have also been able to collaborate with so many other excellent health care professionals,” says Michelle Foisy, clinical pharmacist. View Michelle’s video and full profile.

About the APEX AWARDS

The APEX Awards recognize and celebrate excellence in pharmacy practice in Alberta. Initiated in August 2007, the awards are jointly funded, promoted, and presented by the Alberta College of Pharmacists and the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association. To learn more about the APEX Awards, visit: https://pharmacists.ab.ca/apex-awards

 

Media contacts:

Ashley Edwards Scott, Communications Coordinator                   Jody Johnson, Manager, Member Services
Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP)                                                        Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA)
P: 780-990-0321                                                                                                                P: 780-990-0326 ext. 8722                                
ashley@pharmacists.ab.ca                                                                                jody.johnson@rxa.ca

 

Pharmacy Education Course - Canadian Sleep Society Conference
March 1, 2017

Part of the Canadian Sleep Society Conference, this one-day continuing education event aims to help pharmacists address their education needs in terms of the screening, assessment, and management of sleep disorders.

The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Calgary on Friday, April 28, 2017.

To learn more about the Pharmacy Education Course and register online, visit theconference website.

2nd SIGMA Regional Conference on Midlife Health Women’s Issues
March 1, 2017

SIGMA Canadian Menopause Society invites all health professionals to attend its second annual regional conference on midlife women’s health issues on Saturday, April 29, 2017. Held at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, the event will feature a “Menopause Primer” postgraduate course, case studies on osteoporosis, and a lunch symposium on TSECs.  

For more information and to register, visit the event website.

Anticoagulation in 2017: Concepts of Care for Primary Care Providers
March 1, 2017

The Collaborative Learning on Thrombosis (CLOT) group is hosting an anticoagulation symposium in Calgary on Saturday, April 29, 2017. This one-day learning event will utilize case vignettes to provide up-to-date information on anticoagulation therapies and cover common thrombosis topics relevant to community pharmacy practice. To learn more, view the event brochure.

To register online for the event,click here.

The Collaborative Learning on Thrombosis (CLOT) group consists of pharmacists from Western Canada with an interest or practice in the management of thrombosis/anticoagulation therapies. It provides a forum to network and gain expertise to facilitate knowledge transfer to other pharmacists and healthcare practitioners to optimize the care of patients with thromboembolic disease.

Reminder: PTSA’s professional development survey closes March 10
March 1, 2017

PTSA invites your suggestions about how they might best invest a $25,000 professional development grant to nurture pharmacy technician practices! This is your chance to help shape professional development (PD) opportunities offered by PTSA in the future. Think about how you want to grow as a health professional and what kinds of learning and development opportunities will support you in that journey.

We encourage all pharmacy technicians, whether you’re a PTSA member or not, to share your feedback and complete the online survey by March 10, 2017. 

As part of the 2016 Alberta Pharmacy Technician Conference, ACP hosted a reception celebrating the fifth anniversary of pharmacy technicians becoming Alberta's newest regulated health profession. To commemorate this milestone, ACP presented PTSA a $25,000 grant to support professional development opportunities for pharmacy technicians. Watch a video of the celebration on our YouTube channel!

Modernizing role statements for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
March 1, 2017

On Friday, February 24, all ACP registrants received a Message from the Registrar requesting input on the role statements for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

Role statements provide meaning to individuals and families who use pharmacy services, and provide clarity to other health professionals, community service providers, and stakeholders who practice with or who are impacted by pharmacy services.

Role statements for Alberta pharmacists were last developed in 1995, as a precursor to the Health Professions Act. The role statements for pharmacy technicians were developed in 2008, in advance of technicians becoming regulated. Much has changed since then.

Our goal is to modernize these statements based on current practices, to reflect what pharmacists and pharmacy technicians currently "do" in contributing to person-centered care.

To review the draft role statements and provide feedback, please visit ACP's Consultation page at:https://pharmacists.ab.ca/consultations/role-statements

Your response is appreciated and due by noon on March 31, 2017.

What is a Role Statement?

Role statements describe a profession's identity and purpose within Alberta's health system.

Role statements are purposefully broad, and should not be task-oriented. They are descriptive, and not prescriptive. They focus on "what" health professions do; more so than "why" or "how" they do it.

They should be contextual and meaningful to illustrate value. Specific restricted activities are not typically reflected in a role statement, but are addressed in regulation. Restricted activities authorize tools that health professionals use to fulfill and achieve their role.

Review and Feedback

In fall 2016 ACP consulted with registrants who attended regional meetings, and who participated in the regional meeting webinar to review Version 1 of the DRAFT role statements.

Since then, Version 2 has been drafted, incorporating the feedback we received. We are now seeking your review and comments on the evolved role statements.

Your feedback will be reviewed, and updated versions of the role statements will be developed iteratively, based on the feedback we receive. You, and other stakeholders, will be consulted with again before Council considers approving a final version later in spring 2017.

To review the draft role statements and provide feedback, please visit the ACP's Consultation page at: https://pharmacists.ab.ca/consultations/role-statements

Do you know how to prevent or respond to a blood and body fluid exposure?
March 1, 2017

Learn more at www.bbfeab.ca

ACP collaborated with eleven other Alberta health profession regulators to develop resources for health professionals who are at risk of exposure, or may have been exposed, to blood and body fluid. Representatives from each college worked with consultants to develop a series of online tools based on published resources from Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services.

The tools are designed to support community health care providers and increase their awareness of the appropriate response to blood and body fluid exposure (BBFE). According to clinical evidence, proper post-exposure assessment, including the timely provision of prophylaxis, reduces the likelihood of blood borne virus transmission following occupational BBFEs. Tools include:

  • Protecting Yourself and Preparing Your Workplace
  • Your Post-Exposure Pathway
  • Have You Been Exposed to BBFE? (an interactive algorithm)

We encourage both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to visit http://bbfeab.ca/index.html and engage in learning from the online modules, posters, and other BBFE resources available.

February 2017 Health Product InfoWatch
February 24, 2017

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

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

In this issue: 

PTSA Professional Development Survey
February 24, 2017

As part of the 2016 Alberta Pharmacy Technician Conference, ACP hosted a reception celebrating the fifth anniversary of pharmacy technicians becoming Alberta's newest regulated health profession. To commemorate this milestone, ACP presented the Pharmacy Technician Society of Alberta (PTSA) a $25,000 grant to support professional development opportunities for pharmacy technicians. Watch a video of the celebration on our YouTube channel!

PTSA is looking for input from pharmacy technicians on how the grant money should be used. We encourage all pharmacy technicians, whether you’re a PTSA member or not, to share your feedback and complete the online survey by March 10, 2017. 

Updated MAID Medication Protocol available online
February 15, 2017

The updated MAID Medication Protocol , formerly ‘Pharmacy Protocol’, is now available in the password protected area of the ACP website. The name of the protocol was changed to more accurately reflect its content.

Pharmacists who provide compounding and dispensing services to support MAID are encouraged to become familiar with this updated protocol. Highlights of the Medication Protocol include:

  • The partnership of all the contributing organizations is now reflected in the document.
  • The wording has been updated to include Nurse Practitioners. The terminology now used is ‘providing practitioner’.
  • A Symptom Management Protocol was added for use in managing the symptoms and complications that may arise from use of the oral self-administered protocol.
    • An appendix was added, which contains a list of consumables needed for the IV Protocol.
    • Several wording changes were incorporated to reflect feedback from practitioners that have used the protocols:
      • clarification and updating regarding the verification of consent
      • clarification regarding transportation of medications if necessary
      • change in dispensing quantity for lidocaine in the IV protocol (previously, the prefilled syringe option caused confusion during administration)
      • Removal of vial sizes and addition of concentrations in the drug monographs (to allow for variability in product availability at the pharmacy)
Reminder: submit your nominations for council elections by February 28
February 15, 2017

ACP is holding council elections for three positions this spring. We invite your nominations for the following positions:

Councillors play an essential role in fulfilling the college's mandate of promoting and protecting the health and well-being of Albertans by governing the profession of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. If this is something that interests you – and you reside in a district you would like to represent – please submit your nomination papers to the Registrar no later than 4:30 p.m. on February 28, 2017. Please read thNomination Letter from the Registrar for more information.

 

You are an ideal candidate if you:

  • are motivated to advance public safety;
  • want a hands-on role in advancing pharmacy practice in Alberta;
  • model safe, effective, responsible practice;
  • have demonstrated leadership skills; and
  • are able to commit 12 to 15 days per year over a three-year term.

Please refer to ACP's bylaws which further outline eligibility.

How to submit a nomination

  1. Please review the list of registrants eligible for nominations below, or by visiting pharmacists.ab.ca/council-elections.
  2. Consider collaborating with other pharmacists or pharmacy technicians in your district to nominate visionary leaders interested in advancing the mandate of ACP. Please note that nominees must reside in the district they represent.
  3. Nominations opened on January 31, 2017. Complete and submit your nomination papers to the Registrar by mail or email no later than 4:30 p.m. on February 28, 2017.

Resources:

Deadline for nominations

Nominations open: Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Nominations close: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 4:30 p.m.

Pharmacy technicians: what professional development opportunities are you interested in?
February 15, 2017
As part of the 2016 Alberta Pharmacy Technician Conference, ACP hosted a reception celebrating the fifth anniversary of pharmacy technicians becoming Alberta's newest regulated health profession. To commemorate this milestone, ACP presented the Pharmacy Technician Society of Alberta (PTSA) a $25,000 grant to support professional development opportunities for pharmacy technicians. Watch a video of the celebration on our YouTube channel!

PTSA is looking for input from pharmacy technicians on how the grant money should be used. We encourage all pharmacy technicians, whether you’re a PTSA member or not, to share your feedback and complete the online survey by March 10, 2017. 
Consistent use of Netcare vital to patient care
February 15, 2017

Pharmacists are reminded to use Netcare routinely as part of their assessment, care plan, and follow up. This Vital Behavior, originating from the Chat, Check, and Chart series, is an important step in providing optimal patient care.

A recent case reported to the college illustrates the importance of checking Netcare:

A member of an Edmonton Addictions and Mental Health clinic reported that according to the Netcare records, a patient of the clinic was visiting multiple physicians and pharmacies (within a 4-week period) to obtain multiple prescriptions for zopiclone and narcotics. Additionally, the patient was visiting multiple pharmacies to purchase Tylenol #1. Based on this information, it was clear that pharmacists were not consistently checking the patient’s Netcare records prior to determining whether it was appropriate to dispense or sell the requested drugs.

Pharmacists are encouraged to review the Vital  to Chat, Check, and Chart tool card on ACP’s website for more information. 

Naloxone guidance document updated
February 15, 2017
As communicated in the Message from the Registrarcirculated on February 7, Alberta Health amended the Scheduled Drugs Regulation to move “Naloxone and its salts for use in emergency treatment of opioid overdose outside of a hospital setting” from Schedule 2 to unscheduled.

The provincially funded Take Home Naloxone (THN) program remains unchanged. ACP’s guidance document for the provision of Naloxone kits as part of the provincial program has been updated to reflect the schedule change. Please note that ACP does not support the provision of injectable Naloxone outside of the provincial program.

ACP supports the government’s work in addressing the opioid crisis and we believe that pharmacists play an integral role in the delivery of care to Alberta’s vulnerable populations. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to complete the accredited training available through the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association website and to register to participate in the THN program. 
New Structured Practical Training Program is well-received
February 15, 2017

On February 1, 2017, we launched our newly transformed Structured Practical Training (SPT) program for provisional pharmacists – moving away from a traditional time-based system of completing a set number of practicum hours, to a structure that focusses on mastering the competencies required at entry to practice.

Feedback from both provisional pharmacists and pharmacists has been very positive and encouraging. One individual stated, “I am about 870 hours into my SPT and I really applaud the new SPT online program. I especially like how there must be a new site for Level III. I found from my personal experience that the SPT can get a bit stale, and although I won’t be going through the new program, I plan on using it to supplement my own internship experience. Well done.”

  • The new SPT program is competency-based (demonstrate proficiencies over hours invested);
  • All learning activities are guided, have clear objectives and are linked to specific outcomes;
  • The SPT program has moved to an online environment and is accessible by both the intern and preceptor;
  • Extensive tools and resources are available to support interns’ learning needs and goals;
  • New program rules have been put in place and/or modified.

Program note - If you are unable to access to the SPT portal after completing the Jurisprudence Learning Module, here is what you can do:

Log into the Jurisprudence Learning Module and verify that you have completed every section.

  1. If you have completed the Jurisprudence Learning Module, you should be able to access a ‘Statement of Completion’ by clicking on the “printer” icon (located in the lower right-hand corner of the module). If a Statement of Completion is not available, it means you have yet to complete the Jurisprudence Learning Module.
  2. To identify which slides have not been completed, click on the “progress” icon (located in the lower right-hand corner of the module). You will need to complete any slides that do not have a green checkmark.
  3. If you have just completed the Jurisprudence Learning Module and have received the Statement of Completion, you may have to wait up to one hour before you will have access to the SPT portal. Please try logging into the SPT portal at a later time.

Visit ACP’s website to learn more

To learn about the new SPT program visit ACP’s website SPT program, download an information brochure for interns, or for preceptors. Please also visit our frequently asked questions page.

Email the SPT Team:

SPTinfo@pharmacists.ab.ca

Visit the SPT online portal

https://pharmacists.ab.ca/SPT/login

ACP employment opportunity: Competence Director
February 9, 2017

The Alberta College of Pharmacists is teaming up with the executive search firm Pekarsky & Co. to recruit a Competence Director. 

The Director will lead the administration of policies, processes, and programs, ensuring pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are competent to perform their authorized roles throughout their careers. The Competence Director will work in close collaboration with the Directors of Registration, Professional Practice and Complaints, as their interdependencies are critical to success.

Is this you?
You are an engaging, articulate and collaborative leader. You understand how to lead with influence and build partnerships. You also have a successful record of facilitating, developing, measuring and monitoring educational or training programs, ideally within a regulatory environment.

Most of all, you want to have a positive influence on the quality of pharmacy practice throughout Alberta.

For more information or for details on how to apply, please visit our Careers page.

ACP introduces 2017-19 Business Plan, “Setting the Pace - for Pharmacy Excellence in Person-Centered Care”
February 8, 2017

On behalf of ACP Council and the college, we are pleased to share our 2017-19 Business Plan, “Setting the Pace for Pharmacy Excellence in Person-Centered Care.” 

ACP strives to enable quality experiences that effectively address the personal health needs of individuals, every time they visit their pharmacy team.  We regulate within an increasingly complex social, technological, economic and political environment that continues to shift.  Our plan was developed after careful consideration of trends and emerging issues impacting individuals, pharmacy teams, and the health system.  In the end, we are confident that our efforts will result in Albertans having clearer expectations of their pharmacy team, and more consistent quality experiences at each visit.  

We invite you to read our three-year business plan to learn about the work we will undertake to guide and support pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in their roles to provide Albertans with quality pharmacy care resulting in better patient experiences.

ACP 2017-19 Business Plan

Introducing ACP’s new Structured Practical Training (SPT) program for pharmacists
February 1, 2017

Today, the Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) is launching a new way of learning for all soon-to-be-regulated pharmacists - also known as interns. 

We have transformed the Structured Practical Training (SPT) program – moving away from a traditional time-based system of completing a set number of practicum hours, to a structure that focusses on mastering the competencies required at entry to practice. Competency-based training offers an objective approach to assessing an intern’s readiness for practice, while providing a personalized learning experience to meet identified developmental needs. The role of the preceptor is critical to the program’s success. They hold immense professional responsibility to support an intern’s development and learning needs, and must be committed to the process.

More good news … the SPT program will now be managed in a new online environment, making it easier for the intern and preceptor to monitor, track, assess and document progress. The online portal is user-friendly, intuitive, and easy to navigate. Furthermore, all resources, manuals, assessment tools, instructions, assignments and help guides are housed online to make it convenient, accessible and easy to manage the program.

Finally, the new SPT program will ensure consistency in experiential learning throughout all learning sites in Alberta. Interns will have an organized, structured and supervised training experience leading to desired outcomes of being competent, responsible, patient- and outcomes-focussed healthcare providers.

Highlights of new program

  • The new SPT program is competency-based (demonstrate proficiencies over hours invested);
  • All learning activities are guided, have clear objectives and are linked to specific outcomes;
  • The SPT program has moved to an online environment and is accessible by both the intern and preceptor;
  • Extensive tools and resources are available to support interns’ learning needs and goals;
  • New program rules have been put in place and/or modified.

New Program Rules

  1. Focus is placed on mastering the entry-to-practice competencies, rather than hours invested in a practice setting. Still, a minimum baseline of 1000 structured practical training hours has been established as a guideline only. Additional hours are often required.

    The division of minimum hours for each level has been established as:
    Level I – a minimum of 450 hours
    Level II – a minimum of 450 hours
    Level III – a minimum of 100 hours
     
  2. Interns must work under direct supervision of a clinical pharmacist or courtesy pharmacist for all three levels of the SPT program.
  3. Level III of the SPT program must be completed at a different learning site, and with a different preceptor than level II.
  4. A preceptor may not have more than two interns under his/her preceptorship at the same time.
  5. A preceptor cannot be in a close personal relationship with the intern.

Who will be impacted?

Interns

  1. New interns registering with ACP on February 1, 2017 and beyond will begin their structured practical training through the new online SPT program.
  2. For interns who have registered with ACP before February 1, 2017, a six-month transition period has been established to complete their current program. These interns will not be required to convert to the online program; however, they may choose the new pathway to take advantage of the expanded learning opportunity. 
  3. Current interns and university students can expect an email from ACP outlining their program options, next steps, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Preceptors

In addition to the new rules, it is important for preceptors to remember that all restricted activities completed by the intern during the SPT program (Levels 1-3) must be under the direct supervision of the preceptor and/or another clinical pharmacist. The supervising pharmacist is responsible and accountable for all restricted activities performed by the intern while under his/her supervision.

According to the Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Profession Regulation:

23(1) A regulated member who consents to provide direct supervision under this Regulation must:

  • be authorized to perform the restricted activity being supervised,
  • be present when the supervised individual is performing the restricted activity, and
  • be able to observe and promptly intervene and stop or change the actions of the individual who is under supervision.

Learn more

To learn about the new SPT program visit the program webpage, download an information brochure for interns, or for preceptors. Please also visit our frequently asked questions page.

Learn more about SPT

Email the SPT Team:
SPTinfo@pharmacists.ab.ca

Are your professional declarations up-to-date?
February 1, 2017

Have you checked to make sure your professional liability insurance is current and valid? How about your First Aid and CPR certification?

On October 24, 2016, 264 pharmacists were randomly selected for a professional declarations audit. The Audit of Professional Declarationsreviews pharmacists’ compliance with their declarations submitted during registration renewal. These pharmacists were notified by email and were requested to submit copies of their current professional liability insurance and where applicable, copies of their current CPR and First Aid certification. The majority (99 per cent) of pharmacists were compliant; however:

  • Two pharmacists had their authorization to administer drugs by injection removed due to expired or invalid (i.e., Level A or B CPR) certification; and
  • Three pharmacists were flagged for a direct audit next year due to a late submission of their requested documentation.

When you renew your practice permit, you must declare that:

  • you are in possession of valid professional liability insurance for the practice of pharmacy that:
    • provides at least two million dollars’ worth of personal coverage that is either claims-made or occurrence-based in nature; and
    • is personal and provides coverage in Alberta, regardless of your current employer;
    • you maintain valid professional liability insurance while on the clinical register regardless of whether you are working or residing in Alberta;
    • you understand that the status of your insurance coverage is subject to audit and that false or misleading statements concerning your coverage may be referred to the Complaints Director for further investigation and may result in a recommendation that your practice permit be cancelled

Additionally, if you have authorization to administer injections you declare that you will maintain valid CPR (minimum Level C) and First Aid certification (Standard or Emergency).

Tips to ensure compliance:

  1. Check the currency and validity of your professional liability insurance and First Aid/CPR certification (if applicable). Ensure it is current and meets the minimum requirements.
  2. Track the expiry dates of your liability insurance and First Aid/CPR certification (if applicable), and renew prior to these dates.
  3. Ensure your email address is up-to-date and that you read and respond to correspondence from the Alberta College of Pharmacists.
  4. Contact the Alberta College of Pharmacists if you have any questions about your registration and/or if your practice status changes
Developing Professionalism Through Feedback with Dr. Samina Ali
February 1, 2017

The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences invites you to attend “Developing Professionalism through Feedback” with visiting speaker, Dr. Samina Ali on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.

Time: 12:00 – 12:50 p.m.
Location: ECHA  L1- 490

Can’t make it in person? Connect online 

Bugs & Drugs® now available through Alberta Netcare
February 1, 2017

The Bugs & Drugs® resource is now available through the Alberta Netcare portal from the "clinical eTOOLS" menu.

Bugs & Drugs® is the recommended reference for management of infectious diseases and appropriate antimicrobial use in Alberta. It is peer-reviewed, evidence-based, and frequently updated. Bugs & Drugs® is supported by Alberta Health Services, Alberta Health, and the Do Bugs Need Drugs®? program.

For more information on the program, click here.

For those already using Bugs & Drugs®, the resource continues to be available within AHS and as an Android or iPhone/iPad app. 

Therapeutic Substitution – MAC Pricing for Proton Pump Inhibitors Effective February 1
February 1, 2017

Alberta Health’s move to Maximum Allowable Cost (MAC) pricing for eligible proton pump inhibitors (PPI) covered under government sponsored drug programs takes effect February 1, 2017. For details, please review Alberta Blue Cross Benefact 668 which also includes a patient information sheet to help you communicate this change.

MAC pricing introduces the need for therapeutic substitution for many individuals. This article provides limited guidance; solely for the purpose of pharmacists responding to Alberta Health’s MAC pricing policy for proton pump inhibitors. There are other limitations and considerations that must be considered in other situations.

Guidance for all Pharmacists

The Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Regulation and related standards authorize pharmacists to “adapt a prescription from another prescriber by substituting another drug that is expected to have a similar therapeutic effect based on a patient assessment.” This type of adaptation should be limited to drugs within the same therapeutic class (i.e. proton pump inhibitors).

Pharmacists must use their professional judgment, and complete a patient assessment supported by clinical evidence to determine the appropriateness of therapeutic interchangeability. Standard 12(5)outlines considerations that pharmacists must make when determining if it is appropriate to adapt a prescription. For more information, please review the Chat, Check, Chart tools for assessment and documentationand prescription adaptation.

Pharmacists must document in the patient’s record of care that the prescription was adapted, including the patient assessment and reference(s) used to support the prescribing decision. Pharmacists must communicate therapeutic substitution decisions to the original prescriber and any other relevant health professionals.

It is important to discuss substitution decisions with each patient, and receive their informed consent before substituting. Additionally, it is important that each patient be informed about indicators they should monitor that could result from the change in drug therapy.  

Limitations for Pharmacists Not Having Additional Prescribing Authority (APA)

Pharmacists not having APA must restrict adaptation practices to when they receive an original prescription (standard 12). This is interpreted to mean a new prescription. Therefore, subject to the above guidance, if a new prescription is received for a proton pump inhibitor, a pharmacist without APA may adapt the prescription to provide an alternative proton pump inhibitor. 

If a patient requires a refill of an existing prescription, authorization to therapeutically substitute must be sought and approved by an authorized prescriber. This may be the practitioner who originally prescribed the drug, or a member of the pharmacy team who has APA. However, if therapeutic substitution is authorized by another pharmacist having APA, that pharmacist must personally assess the patient, and the prescription must be authorized in their name. Substitution decisions must be patient specific; and, cannot be authorized through standing orders.

January 2017 Health Product InfoWatch
January 31, 2017

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

In this issue: 

Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) looking for assessors
January 18, 2017

PEBC is looking for assessors for the pharmacy technician OSPE in Edmonton on Saturday April 1, 2017 and the pharmacist OSCE in Edmonton and Calgary on Sunday, May 28, 2017.

Each year, PEBC invites interested pharmacists who have been licensed in Canada for at least two years and who are currently providing or directly supervising patient care services (including dispensing, clinical and/or drug information services) to apply as assessors for both the OSCE and the OSPE. PEBC also invites interested pharmacy technicians who are currently registered in Alberta to apply as assessors for the OSPE.

If interested, please complete the PEBC assessor recruitment form and return to the contacts listed on the form.

Indigenous Awareness and Effective Interaction Strategies for Health Care Professionals - January 24, 2017
January 18, 2017

The University of Alberta, in collaboration with the Pharmacy Alumni Association and the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (Alberta Branch) invites Health science professionals are invited to participate in an evening of sharing as we seek improved understanding and explore practical strategies for offering better health care to Indigenous patients. Learn about a new inter-professional health science course being developed by the University of Alberta with funding from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) to bridge the divide between health professionals and Indigenous patients. Register online by January 20 - space is limited!

Agenda:

Welcome & introductions: Overview of the course being developed by UAlberta with grant money from the TRC and introduction to panelists.

Keynote presentation: Dr. Jaris P. Swidrovich, visiting lecturer from the University of Saskatchewan, on common challenges and gaps in knowledge experienced by healthcare professionals treating Indigenous patients and strategies for effective integration based on his experience “Indigenizing” the curriculum at USask and responding to the TRC.

Panelist presentations:

Dr. Jean Triscott, Professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta

Dr. Allyson Jones, Professor, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta

Dr. Cheryl Sadowski, Professor, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta (moderator).

Open discussion: Audience and panelist discussion - an opportunity to ask questions about challenges you’ve experienced and share success stories.

This event is brought to you in collaboration with the Pharmacy Alumni Association and the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists - Alberta Branch.

Prescribed activity for pharmacy technicians for 2017 CE cycle
January 18, 2017

One of ACP’s strategic goals is for pharmacy technicians to be integrated into pharmacy practice teams, exercising responsibility for roles they are authorized to fulfill. To achieve this, pharmacy technicians must have a solid understanding of their role as well as a pharmacist’s role in pharmacy practice. Accordingly, the prescribed activity for the 2017 CE cycle is a Jurisprudence Self-Assessment that focuses on the scope of practice for pharmacy technicians and pharmacists. This self-assessment tool will test your knowledge and understanding of the complementary roles and responsibilities of both professions, and help you consider ways to further support your pharmacy team.

Get an early start on your annual Continuing Competence Program (CCP) and complete this Jurisprudence Self-Assessment found in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal today!

Summary of CCP requirements for pharmacy technicians

A new CE cycle started December 1, 2016. If you plan to renew your practice permit, you must complete the following Continuing Competence Program (CCP) requirements by November 30, 2017:

  1. Complete the Jurisprudence Self-Assessment - available in the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities section of the CCP portal
  2. Complete learning activities – Complete at least 15 CEUs during the CE cycle (December 1, 2016 to November 30, 2017) and document each activity on a Learning Record
  3. Put your learning to use – Implement a minimum of one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an Implementation Record (you only need to complete one record)

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

Are you familiar with the Naloxone Guidelines?
January 18, 2017

In May 2016, ACP provided pharmacists and pharmacy technicians guidance for dispensing or selling naloxone as a Schedule 2 drug. We’ve learned that some pharmacists may not be aware of the ability to dispense a Take Home Naloxone (THN) kit to a patient who is not willing/able to provide a PHN.   

As stated in Alberta Blue Cross Benefact #575, if the client is an Albertan but the PHN is not available and cannot be accessed through Netcare/PIN, the pseudo PHN of NX0000000 may be used. Once a pharmacist determines it is clinically appropriate for the THN kit to be provided, and that the recipient is an Albertan, the pharmacist must provide the kit at no charge to the patient (or the patient’s agent), and can bill the kit to Alberta Blue Cross through the use of the pseudo-PHN. For details on how this should be documented, please refer to ACP’s Naloxone Guidelines

Refusal to provide a THN kit should only be done under extraordinary circumstances. Pharmacists are encouraged to thoroughly document rationale for this refusal in the record of care.

For more information on the THN Program, please consult the following references:

ACP Naloxone Guidelines

Take Home Naloxone – Information for the Pharmacist (online education program)

Alberta Blue Cross Pharmacy Benefact #575

Alberta Blue Cross Benefact #612

Pharmacy students: apply for ACP's Leadership Development Award by March 1, 2017
January 18, 2017

If you are an aspiring leader with a desire to sharpen your skills, we want to hear what leadership, citizenship, and professionalism in pharmacy practice means to you! University of Alberta Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences students are encouraged to explore this life-changing opportunity and apply for ACP's Leadership Development Award by March 1, 2017.

Imagine joining pharmacists and other health professionals to learn, share, and broaden your perspective on how leadership in the profession inspires change. Each year, ACP provides up to $5,000 for a third or fourth year pharmacy student to participate in a leadership development opportunity delivered by a post-secondary institution or through participation at an international conference. 

About the award:

ACP will award up to $5,000 to advance one recipient’s leadership skills through attendance at a single pharmacy leadership conference or leadership development opportunity delivered by a university or college. Need some inspiration? Check out our story about 2016 Leadership Development Award recipient, Alyssa Schmode, in the Fall issue of acpnews.

CAMH Online Opioid Dependence Treatment Program
January 18, 2017

This online course is the foundation of the Opioid Dependence Treatment Certificate Program. It is offered through the University of Calgary from February 3 to April 3, 2017. The course is designed to promote inter-professional collaboration among the health care team involved in opioid dependence treatment. In this course, pharmacists and other health professionals learn skills and review guidelines for effective and safe management of clients receiving methadone or buprenorphine maintenance treatment for opioid dependence. Course participants may claim up to 22.5 CEUs (CCCEP accredited).

For more information and to register online:

http://cumming.ucalgary.ca/cme/programs/camh-odt-alberta-version

Note: If you provide opioid dependence treatment to your patients you should be familiar with ACP's ODT Guidelines 

Hearing notice: Pouran Manzouri
January 10, 2017
Hearing status Scheduled
Registrant Pouran Manzouri
Charge Unprofessional Conduct
Date February 28, 2017
Time 9:30 a.m.
Location

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

 

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

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

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

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

Hearing notice: Crystal McIntyre
January 10, 2017
Hearing status Scheduled
Registrant Crystal McIntyre
Charge Unprofessional Conduct
Date February 15, 2017
Time 9:30 a.m.
Location

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

 

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

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

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

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