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New foundational requirements for opening a licensed community pharmacy

September 5, 2018
The biggest change? A mandatory pre-opening inspection.

New or relocated pharmacies now have a new set of guidelines and process to follow in order to open a licensed community pharmacy. ACP is introducing foundational requirements called the Guidance Document for Opening a Licensed Community Pharmacy. This document provides ACP’s interpretation and application of the provincial legislation to clarify expectations and will ensure consistency of the foundational requirements that must be met prior to opening a licensed community pharmacy.

The biggest change for licensees will be the mandatory pre-opening inspection by ACP pharmacy practice consultants. Prior to opening to provide pharmacy services, a pharmacy must pass the pre-opening inspection. If deficiencies are found, the pharmacy will not be permitted to provide pharmacy services until the deficiencies are corrected.

The foundational requirements cover the standards for opening a community pharmacy, such as its facilities, equipment, systems, and operating policies and procedures.

“We need to ensure all pharmacies meet the requirements set out in the regulations and are at a certain operational standard prior to providing pharmacy services,” explained Debbie Lee, Registration Director, ACP. “The foundational requirements guidance document and the pre-opening visit will help support our licensees with understanding the expectations and complying with the requirements.”

Effective immediately, all new applications will be administered in accordance with the new policy and will be subject to a pre-opening inspection. If you have already submitted an application and you plan to open after November 1, 2018, you will need to adhere to the new policy and your inspection will be done before the pharmacy is cleared to open. If you have already applied for a license, but plan to open before November 1, 2018, your inspection will be done after you open the pharmacy. Regardless of when the pharmacy opens, the licensing requirements are not new, and licensees still need to meet them.

A Compliance Checklist is available on the ACP website, explaining all the requirements that need to be completed prior to the inspection. Another tool, called Five Steps to Opening Your New Pharmacy, breaks the entire process down, outlining time frames and what is required at each step.

Debbie believes the foundational requirements will ensure community pharmacies continue to provide a high level of pharmacy practice for Albertans.

“These new tools will help to support patient safety and the quality of patient care.”