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Update on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)

October 19, 2016

Since federal legislation was passed decriminalizing medical assistance in dying, we have provided guidance to you in the July 13, and August 24 editions of The Link. ACP has not yet developed consolidated guidance for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, as this experience continues to evolve. 

The drug protocols approved by Alberta Health Services (AHS) serve as the provincial standard for MAID interventions. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should not dispense any protocol for MAID that is not consistent with the selection of drugs identified in the protocols for the euthanasia or oral interventions, as the case may be.

ACP appointed a multidisciplinary committee to provide ethical guidance about potential conflicts in the preparation and dispensing of the euthanasia protocol. Our MAID working group felt this insight was necessary to support us in providing clear guidance to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians requested to dispense the drugs in a “ready-to-use format” rather than in the manufacturers’ container. Under consideration is the interpretation and application of “Beyond Use Dates” (BUD). The committee’s guidance on this subject is expected next week.

In July, ACP surveyed pharmacy licensees to determine their pharmacy’s readiness and willingness to dispense MAID protocols. Contact information for those who responded as being “ready and willing” has since been provided to AHS MAID coordinators. However, the overall response rate from pharmacy licensees was low. This has impeded easy access for individuals whose health has unfortunately deteriorated to the point where MAID has been approved.

ACP is once again surveying pharmacy licensees to determine the readiness and willingness to dispense drug protocols for MAID. Please watch for and complete the survey so that the coordination of MAID interventions can be easily accommodated in your community.