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ACP standards do not exist in isolation

October 19, 2016

ACP’s Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians and the Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies set out minimum expectations for practice and for the operation of licensed pharmacies in Alberta. However the standards do not exist in isolation. Pharmacy practice is both enabled and restricted by a complex web of federal and provincial legislation, the corresponding regulations, and any documents or authorities extending from the Acts or Regulations. In addition, some programs have additional requirements of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacies. 

Standards usually complement one another but sometimes conflict is identified. A good example of this is Alberta Health’s Provincial Immunization Policy (IIP) 2016 – 2017. Under the authority of Ministerial Order 23/2014 and pursuant to section 16 of the Regional Health Authorities Act, Pharmacies and Pharmacists may participate in the delivery of the Public Influenza Immunization Program.

Standard 5.3 of ACP’s Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies

5.3 To ensure drugs that require refrigeration or freezing are stored at appropriate temperatures, a licensee must:

a) track and document storage temperatures regularly using a device that indicates the minimum and maximum temperatures reached since the last reading, and

b) take appropriate action if the temperatures fall outside acceptable limits.

However, section 9 of Alberta Health’s Provincial Immunization Policy (IIP) 2016-17 requires that all Immunizers and those handling Influenza Vaccine must adhere to the requirements of the Alberta Vaccine Cold Chain Policy (AVCCP). Section 9 of the AVCCP provides more rigorous and very specific requirements for the types of refrigerators that are acceptable to be used by Immunizers. Pharmacies that participate in the provincial immunization program must comply with the rigorous requirements of the AVCCP, and must not procure and store vaccines under lesser conditions.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are required to familiarize themselves with the standards and policies relative to every program and service provided. This is particularly true for pharmacy licensees. If there is a difference in a program standard and ACP’s Standard of Practice, the most rigorous standard must be adhered to.

Originally published in the October 19, 2016, issue of The Link


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