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Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are highly trained, skilled, and regulated health professionals. Before being admitted to the pharmacist register, applicants must complete an entry-to-practice degree in pharmacy [either a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) or a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (BSc Pharm)]. To be admitted to the pharmacy technician register, individuals must earn a diploma from a pharmacy technician program accredited by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP). Those applying to be part of either profession must also successfully complete the Ethics and Jurisprudence Exam, the Structured Practical Training Program, and the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada’s (PEBC) qualifying exams. For more information, see the entry-to-practice requirements for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

Once admitted to the register, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must complete annual Continuing Competence Program (CCP) requirements to ensure that that they

  • continuously improve their level of professional knowledge and skill,
  • take responsibility for maintaining a high standard of professional competence,
  • evaluate their individual practice and assume responsibility for improvement, and
  • keep informed about new pharmaceutical knowledge.

Pharmacy teams are always expected to adhere to provincial and federal legislation (including Acts and regulations), and the Alberta College of Pharmacy’s (ACP) standards of practice and Code of Ethics when providing pharmacy services to ensure safe and appropriate care.

ACP’s team of pharmacy practice consultants, who are pharmacists, and sterile compounding assessors, who are pharmacy technicians, conduct operations and practice inspections as well as non-routine inspections ordered by the registrar. The team uses quality control, assurance, and improvement approaches to address practices and operations determined to be not in compliance with the standards; influence and sustain practice behaviours; and coach pharmacy teams to meet or exceed standards to ensure quality care and public safety when accessing pharmacy services.

Working with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada, ACP also supports pharmacy teams to ensure accuracy, quality, and safety when preparing and dispensing medications. Pharmacy teams follow a systems approach to quality assurance. This approach helps pharmacy teams reduce the risk of medication errors, identify potential causes of errors, and prevent errors from occurring.

Albertans should always expect safe, responsible, and professional pharmacy services. For the most part, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are able to meet these expectations. However, there are times when pharmacy teams fail to meet the expectations of their patients, other regulated health professionals, other interested parties, or the college. In some cases, individuals will bring their concerns to the college using ACP’s complaints process. ACP applies principles such as objectivity, fairness, timeliness, thoroughness, and transparency to resolve complaints and concerns received about regulated members and pharmacy operations. Before bringing concerns to the college, it’s recommended to first bring them to the attention of the pharmacy’s licensee (manager).

For more information about what to expect from your pharmacy team, watch our video, contact the college, or reach out to your pharmacy.