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Controlled substances exemption extended

August 5, 2020

Temporary class exemption for controlled substances extended to September 2021.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Health Canada has extended the exemption for patients, practitioners, and pharmacists prescribing and providing controlled substances in Canada during the coronavirus pandemic prescriptions of controlled substances made pursuant to subsection 56(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances ActWith respect to controlled substances, this exemption

  • permits pharmacists to extend prescriptions;
  • permits pharmacists to transfer prescriptions to other pharmacists;
  • permits prescribers to issue verbal orders (i.e., over the phone); and
  • permits pharmacy employees to deliver prescriptions of controlled substances to individuals identified in the prescription.

The extended class exemption remains the same, except that it now also authorizes pharmacy employees to deliver a controlled substance to a person designated to accept the delivery on behalf of the individual identified in the prescription.

The class exemption was originally set to expire on September 30, 2020. Health Canada has extended the exemption to September 30, 2021 (unless it is revoked or replaced by another exemption).

Please note that there are conditions that pharmacists must meet in order to prescribe controlled substances, as indicated on the Health Canada website.

For more information, refer to ACP’s COVID-19 Guidance – Temporary authorizations for controlled substances.

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