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Schedule 2 drugs and your responsibilities

January 27, 2015

Standard 8 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians requires that each time a pharmacist or a pharmacy technician sells a Schedule 2 drug:

a) the pharmacist or the pharmacy technician must confirm the patient’s identity; and,

b) a pharmacist must provide the patient with sufficient information to enable the patient to receive the intended benefit of the drug therapy.

This standard cannot be met unless the pharmacist is aware of the health status of the patient and any drugs or other medications that the patient is taking. This is the minimal information required to determine whether the drug is appropriate for the patient, and is necessary to support counselling.

ACP is requesting that all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians review this standard and the policies and procedures within their pharmacies to ensure compliance with this standard. These products must not be sold by pharmacy assistants. Where a pharmacy technician is involved, they must collect appropriate information and present it to a pharmacist for assessment prior to a sale occurring.

ACP will further monitor operational and systemic factors that may be important to compliance. This includes monitoring to determine the appropriate balance of human resources, and pursuing a rigorous review of the national drug scheduling model and the factors that support it.

CBC Marketplace aired a documentary where their phantom shopper found that no pharmacists in 50 pharmacies visited across Canada (six in Edmonton) appropriately assessed patients prior to selling them Tylenol #1 or Palafer. In every case, pharmacists failed to ask the patient whether they were taking any other medications.

Drugs are placed in Schedule 2 due to their relative safety profile based on the factors within the national drug scheduling model. The National Drug Scheduling Advisory Committee has determined that the relative risk profile for these products is high enough that they should not be available for self-selection, and must therefore be stored in the dispensary, only to be provided based on the assessment and advice of a pharmacist.