Canadian article explores benefits, implications of expanding pharmacists' practice scope

NEW YORK — A new article published by researchers in Canada explains how expanding the kinds of services pharmacists can offer could improve patient care, but also have various implications for physicians.

The article, published in the the journal of the Canadian Medical Association, CMAJ (subscription required), and reported by HealthDay News, came from University of Montreal researcher Cara Tannenbaum and the University of Alberta's Ross Tsuyuki.

In it, the researchers noted that pharmacists in Canada can renew, refuse to fill, adjust, initiate or substitute prescriptions, as well as order and interpret lab tests and administer injections and vaccines. While this could improve care for patients, it could also mean ethical, legal, financial and professional implications for physicians, and the authors advocated effective communication to ensure patient safety.