Starting January 1, Ontario pharmacists will be allowed to prescribe treatments for 13 common conditions, including pink eye, acid reflux and cold sores.
The province’s Department of Health issued a reminder of the previously announced move on Wednesday, noting that the service will be free with a health card.
Unlike several other provinces, pharmacists in Ontario were previously not allowed to prescribe drugs except for the COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid.
Ontario Pharmacists Authorized to Prescribe Paxlovid for the Treatment of COVID-19
Ontario pharmacists will also be allowed to write prescriptions as needed for hay fever, menstrual cramps, hemorrhoids and uncomplicated urinary tract infections.
They will also be allowed to prescribe antibiotics after tick bites to prevent Lyme disease.
The ministry says pharmacy prescribing will help free up physicians “to provide care for more complex needs, which will help reduce wait times for these services.”
In some provinces, patients pay out of pocket when they are assessed by a pharmacist for a prescription, according to the Canadian Pharmacists Association.
The move comes as hospitals and clinics across Ontario have been hit hard by an increase in viral illnesses.
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