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Pharmacy technicians may accept verbal orders for Schedule 1 drugs, but not narcotics or controlled substances

February 4, 2014

The Food and Drug Regulations were amended, effective Dec. 31, 2013, to recognize pharmacy technicians and allow them to accept verbal prescriptions for Schedule 1 drugs.

These amendments apply to the Food and Drug Regulations only. Therefore, pharmacy technicians may still not accept verbal orders for narcotics or controlled drugs or substances.

Despite further amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations that would allow pharmacy technicians to transfer prescriptions, Alberta pharmacy technicians must still comply with Standard 20.9 of ACP’s Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians. In other words, a pharmacy technician may, “only transfer prescriptions when directed to do so by the pharmacist that they are assisting.”


ACP will review its standards following the release of national standards from the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities, which are expected later this year.



Definition of pharmacy technician:

The amended regulations define a “pharmacy technician” as a person who is registered or otherwise entitled under the laws of a province to practise as a pharmacy technician; and is practising as a pharmacy technician in that province.


Food and Drug Regulations

  • Section C.01.041(2) was amended to allow a pharmacy technician to accept a verbal order. It outlines expectations for the creation of a written copy of the order, as has been required of pharmacists in the past.
  • Amended section C.01.041.3 outlines the requirements of a pharmacy technician who transfers a prescription. These mirror the requirements that were expected of a pharmacist in the previous regulations.

ACP Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians 
Verbal order to be reduced to writing
6.8 If a pharmacist or a pharmacy technician receives a verbal order for a drug or blood product from a prescriber, the pharmacist or the pharmacy technician must reduce the prescription to writing and sign or initial the prescription.

Transfer of prescriptions by pharmacy technicians
20.9 Pharmacy technicians who assist a pharmacist in the transfer of a prescription to another pharmacist must:

a) only transfer prescriptions when directed to do so by the pharmacist that they are assisting;
b) confirm that the prescription may be legally transferred;
c) provide to the receiving pharmacist:

i. a copy of the prescription as written by the prescriber or as reduced to writing in the case of verbal prescriptions;
ii. the number of authorized refills remaining;
iii. the date of the last refill;
iv. the name and address of the pharmacist that is transferring the prescription; and
v. any other information that the transferring pharmacist deemed necessary under Standard 2.9(b);and

d) render the prescription inactive to ensure that no further sales are made under the prescription and the prescription is not transferred to another pharmacist;
e) document that the prescription has been transferred in the patient record including:

i. the name and location of the pharmacist to whom the prescription was transferred;
ii. the name of the pharmacist transferring the prescription; and
iii. the name of the pharmacy technician assisting the pharmacist with the transfer.