News Releases

News Releases


Winnipeg, July 18, 2017 – Pharmacists Manitoba responded today to the announcement by the Department of Health, Seniors and Active Living of a new policy capping fees and cutting the amount of support provided to compliance packaging of medications and preparation of compound medications for patients.

“We understand the provincial government must take steps to restore the overall fiscal position of Manitoba’s public finances, and a policy such as a cap on the fees announced today can contribute toward that objective, particularly as similar-sounding policies are in place in other jurisdictions,” said Barret Procyshyn, President of the Board of Directors for Pharmacists Manitoba. “But we are concerned that this was implemented without any consultation at all with Pharmacists Manitoba.  This policy will affect the dispensing of medications for thousands and thousands of Manitobans and can potentially impact hundreds of independent businesses around Manitoba.  We would appreciate the opportunity to meet and consult meaningfully with Minister Goertzen and his team on these sorts of changes before they are announced.”

Procyshyn noted the overall policy will have to be evaluated by pharmacists before any firm conclusions on the impact on Manitoba pharmacy patients can be known.  He did point out, however, that the reduction of support for compliance packaging and cutting of supports for medication preparation could harm patient safety and medication availability.

“Compliance packaging and compounding are very important for a number of patients, such as seniors and patients with complex or chronic conditions, high-risk conditions such as addictions or mental health issues, and who require a number of medications daily or a complex medication regimen as part of their treatment,” said Procyshyn. “This is about patient safety, and about availability of specialized medication such as cancer medications and biologics, particularly in rural areas for rural patients.  By cutting support for these procedures, the government may either reduce the availability of the service, or see the costs passed directly to patients, or both.  This would be why we would welcome a meaningful consultation on changes to these policies.  Manitoba pharmacists want to work with government and be part of a solution, but this can’t happen without any consultation at all – otherwise patients will suffer in the end.”


Winnipeg, June 16, 2017 – Pharmacists Manitoba is collaborating with the Department of Health, Seniors and Active Living to support the introduction of a new policy regarding changes to Pharmacare and Employment & Income Assistance (EIA) Drug Programs benefit coverage for blood glucose test strips in Manitoba.  The strips are used by patients to check their blood glucose (blood sugar) levels, and are a common tool in the management of diabetes.  The strips are covered as a benefit under the Pharmacare Program and EIA Program. The new policy coming into effect today will lower the number of strips that will be covered annually for eligible patients who used oral medication or lifestyle changes to control their diabetes. The maximum number of strips covered in a benefit year is based on various treatment regimens. 

“Testing blood glucose levels is a critical aspect of the successful management of diabetes, and Manitobans coping with this condition count on their local pharmacy to provide them with the test strips they need in order to carry out these tests,” said Barret Procyshyn, President of the Board of Directors for Pharmacists Manitoba. “The changes coming into effect today will lower the annual number of test strips which can be covered for certain patients, but they are generally aligned with Diabetes Canada guidelines and consistent with changes already in effect elsewhere in Canada. Although these changes will create additional tasks for community pharmacists, we want to work with all stakeholders to ensure this change happens as smoothly as possible.”

Procyshyn noted that patients visiting their pharmacists to refill their test strips may notice the changes in coverage or amount of strips supplied.  Information is being provided to pharmacies throughout Manitoba regarding the changes.  Manitobans can also visit Manitoba Health Seniors and Active Living website at for more information.  Pharmacists will do their best to provide Manitoba patients with the information they need to make effective use of their blood glucose strips as part of their management of diabetes.  

“Pharmacists Manitoba will continue to work as closely as possible with Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active living to ensure that patients receive the information they need,” said Procyshyn. “As the most accessible healthcare professionals in the public health care system, your pharmacist can help ensure the most effective use of your blood glucose test strips and connect patients and their families with further information and resources so they can manage their diabetes.”


Winnipeg, April 11, 2017 – Pharmacists Manitoba, the organization representing over 800 pharmacists in Manitoba, offered the following comment on the budget tabled today by the Provincial Government in the Manitoba Legislature.  The budget speech indicated an intention to address pharmacy dispensing fees in Manitoba.

“Pharmacists in Manitoba acknowledge the new government is looking to address an overall budget challenge and they have a mandate from Manitobans to find solutions.  We also acknowledge that other jurisdictions in Canada have undertaken different solutions to pharmacy dispensing fees to meet some of these challenges,” said Sharon Smith, President, Pharmacists Manitoba. “It will be important, however, to understand the details of exactly what the government is proposing. Fifty thousand Manitobans access a pharmacist in Manitoba every day. Our members have a presence, and an impact, in every community in the province.  We have important contributions to make to the health care improvements that all Manitobans ultimately want to see.”

Smith noted that Manitoba pharmacists can offer the Manitoba Government many opportunities to improve outcomes for patients. Dispensing fees are just one part of the overall picture of improving the health care system.  Communication and consultation will be key to ensuring a strong pharmacy system can reach its full potential for Manitoba families.   

“We look forward to meeting with Minister Kelvin Goertzen to discuss the ways in which Manitoba Pharmacists and the Manitoba Government can work together to improve health care outcomes for all Manitobans. We want to see pharmacists in Manitoba able to practice the profession of pharmacy at the highest levels and to its fullest extent. We want Manitoba citizens to enjoy the same level of pharmacy services seen elsewhere across Canada.”  


March 30, 2017 (Manitoba):  A new study shows that comprehensive long-term pharmacist care for Manitobans with hypertension, including patient education and prescribing, improves health outcomes and will save money for the province’s cash-strapped health care system. Projected cost savings would be more than $573 million dollars if full scope pharmacist care were administered to the full eligible population in Manitoba.

The peer-reviewed study looked at alternatives to usual hypertension care, including full scope pharmacist care—making full use of pharmacists’ scope of skills, including prescribing. The analysis shows a real and significant benefit from pharmacist care both in terms of cost savings and health benefits when compared to usual care.

“For the first time there is evidence illustrating the significant amount of health care dollars that can be saved by allowing pharmacists to provide full scope of care to Manitobans living with hypertension,” said Carlo Marra lead researcher of the study. “While there has long been evidence available for the health benefits of pharmacist care in hypertension management, there has been, until now, a lack of research done on the economic value of this type of care, particularly in Canada.”

In all analyses, the rates for cardiovascular disease and kidney failure are lowest with the full scope of pharmacist care and highest under the usual care regime. The results also highlight the relatively low costs of the program, particularly relative to the costs of treating cardiovascular disease or kidney failure.

“Pharmacists are highly accessible primary health care providers and ideally positioned to address the care gap in hypertension management,” said Barret Procyshyn, Pharmacists Manitoba Vice President. “With the infrastructure for these services already in place, we need to ensure pharmacists are able to make use of their full scope of skills in Manitoba.

Previous research has shown that systolic blood pressure would be reduced by 18.3 mmHg with full scope pharmacist care. When applied to this study, over 30 years, it is estimated that for every five people receiving full scope pharmacist care, one cardiovascular event (defined as stroke, heart attack, angina and heart failure) would be avoided and four years of life would be saved.

When the full eligible population in Manitoba accessing care is considered over 30 years of full scope care, there would be:

  • 4,880 fewer strokes
  • 9,662 fewer heart attacks
  • 2,790 fewer cases of angina
  • 2,558 fewer instances of heart failure
  • 66 fewer instances of kidney failure
  • An additional 34,814 years lived

With around 195,000 Manitobans living with hypertension, the burden on society is enormous both in health and economic terms. Prevalence in 2015 was reported to be 25% in adults and is expected to rise by 7.2% by 2030. Being able to improve these numbers even slightly would result in countless lives saved.

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March 20, 2017 (Manitoba): Manitobans are increasingly aware and supportive of the expanded role pharmacists offer in delivering needed health care services. According to a new provincial survey by Abacus Data, 79% of Manitoban’s agree pharmacy services should be publicly funded in Manitoba as they are in other provinces.

Manitobans are increasingly recognizing and supporting the essential role pharmacists play in our health care system.  From flu shots to advice on medications, the management of chronic health conditions and assessment and prescribing for minor ailments, Manitoban’s are embracing expanded pharmacy services and recognizing the value pharmacists are providing.

Other Key Findings:

  • 96% of Manitobans have a positive impression of pharmacists (above the national average).
  • Manitobans agree that allowing pharmacists to do more for patients will improve health outcomes (82%) and reduce costs in the system (84%).
  • 83% of Manitobans agree that when a healthcare service is covered by Manitoba Health, the Manitoba Government should pay all healthcare professionals who can deliver that service to patients.

“The Manitoba government acknowledges and commends the valuable work that pharmacists perform. We recognize that pharmacists are an important part of a person’s health care team and play a role in promoting and encouraging Manitobans to lead healthy lifestyles.” stated Kelvin Goertzen, Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living in a letter proclaiming March 2017 as Pharmacists Awareness Month.

Manitoba pharmacists are increasingly a trusted source of health care information and services. Manitobans know that when pharmacists have the authority to provide health services it leads to better care, better health and better value for our health care dollar.

The survey on perception and attitudes about pharmacists was conducted online with a representative sample of 4,173 Canadians and 500 Manitobans aged 18 and older. The survey was completed from February 10 to 16, 2017 by Abacus Data.

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October 26, 2016 – Yesterday, Pharmacists Manitoba held Pharmacists Manitoba Day at the Manitoba Legislative Building to recognize the work pharmacists do throughout the province. Pharmacists were on-site demonstrating comprehensive medication reviews, point of care testing, and assessments and prescribing for minor ailments. The interactive demonstrations were well received with all political parties recognizing Pharmacists Manitoba Day in the house. 

“Pharmacists practicing in Manitoba, […] are important pillars in the continuum of healthcare services provided in our province”, said the Honourable Kelvin Goertzen, Minister of Health.

Over the course of the day, Pharmacists Manitoba was able to connect with almost every MLA at the legislature. MLAs and staff, 48% of whom were not aware of the variety of professional pharmacy services offered, learned about innovative pharmacy services and 100% responded that their community would benefit from professional pharmacist services.

“Pharmacists have the training and legal authority to provide innovative health services to Manitobans”, said Sharon Smith, President at Pharmacists Manitoba. “By funding pharmacist services to fully utilize pharmacist’s training, overall healthcare spending will decrease and Manitobans will have improved access to healthcare.” 

The important role that pharmacists play in Manitoba’s healthcare system was reiterated by opposition MLAs. 

“Pharmacists play a vital role in ensuring the health of our communities,” said NDP MLA Matt Wiebe. “Pharmacists can take much of the pressure off of physicians and other areas of the health-care system. In order for them to continue their work, we must provide the critical public funds to support them.” 

“Pharmacists are the most accessible of all health-care providers”, said Liberal MLA Cindy Lamoureux. “They can often provide services and consultations without the need and wait for a doctor's appointment or a long wait time in a walk-in clinic.” 

Pharmacists Manitoba thanks all who participated in Pharmacists Manitoba Day and looks forward to working with our government and to improve access to primary care and reduce wait times in Manitoba.  


March 18, 2016: (Manitoba):  Manitobans recognize pharmacists are integral members of the healthcare team and have the training to counsel patients, prescribe for self-limiting conditions, adapt prescriptions, order lab tests and administer injections.

A new provincial survey by Abacus Data for Canadian Pharmacists Association and Pharmacists Manitoba, to coincide with Pharmacists Awareness Month, found that Manitobans are increasingly familiar with the services pharmacists can provide. The survey highlights that the level of awareness has outpaced the level of usage of these services.

According to the Abacus survey:

  • 44% of respondents who are aware pharmacists assess and prescribe for minor ailments have never received the service from a pharmacist (19% have received this service).
  • 34% of respondents who are aware pharmacists can adapt prescriptions have not used these services (11% have received this service).
  • 55% of respondents who recognize pharmacists provide health coaching for diabetes, asthma and smoking cessation have not utilized these services from their pharmacists (11% have received this service).

In addition to Manitobans’ increasing awareness of these services, sixty-four percent stated they would likely visit their pharmacist to order a lab test for regular monitoring of a current health condition.

According to the survey, Manitobans believe that pharmacist services will improve health outcomes (76%) and reduce health costs (82%). Seventy-one percent of Manitobans surveyed agreed that if pharmacy services are funded in other provinces these same services should be funded in Manitoba, however, unlike Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia and other provinces there is no government funding for pharmacy services in Manitoba.

“I was a little bit surprised to learn that pharmacists had taken all this training and it’s not being utilized for the benefit of Manitobans” said Sharon Malec, who quit smoking with the help of a pharmacist. “This service should be utilized to the full potential and I believe it would save a lot of lives and a lot of dollars.”

The survey was conducted online with a representative sample of 500 Manitobans aged 18 and older. The survey was completed from February 19 to 25, 2016 by Abacus Data.

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March 11, 2016 (Manitoba): Manitobans are increasingly aware and supportive of the expanded role pharmacists are playing in delivering needed health care services including flu shots, advice on medications, and treatment of common ailments.

A new national survey by Abacus Data for Canadian Pharmacists Association and Pharmacists Manitoba, to coincide with Pharmacists Awareness Month, found that Manitobans are increasingly familiar with the services pharmacists can provide. Manitobans realize that pharmacists can meet and sit down for a review of medications (67%), administer a flu shot (82%) and other vaccines (56%), and prescribe medications for some minor health conditions (48%).

According to the Abacus survey, 96% of respondents have a positive impression of pharmacists. Ninety-three percent (93%) of Manitobans surveyed believe pharmacists play an essential and important role in the health care system, slightly higher than national average of 82%.

Manitobans are recognizing the advantages of expanded scope. Specifically, a strong majority of Manitobans expressed their trust in pharmacists to manage both common ailments and chronic health conditions, and provide advice on healthy lifestyle changes, medicines and vaccinations. These levels of trust are comparable to doctors and nurses.

Manitoba pharmacists are increasingly a trusted source of health care information and services. “Manitobans know that when pharmacists have the authority to provide health services it leads to better care, better health and better value for our health care dollar” said Sharon Smith, President, Pharmacists Manitoba. Manitobans agree that allowing pharmacists to do more for patients will improve health outcomes (76%) and reduce health care costs (82%). Manitobans also believe that pharmacist services should be paid for by the government as they are in other provinces (71%).

The survey on perception and attitudes about pharmacists was conducted online with a representative sample of 3,824 Canadians and 500 Manitobans aged 18 and older. The survey was completed from February 19 to 25, 2016 by Abacus Data.

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WINNIPEG, MB May 1, 2015 – Pharmacists Manitoba in partnership with the Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA), and the Winnipeg Police Service are reminding Manitobans to check their homes for unused or expired medications and return them to pharmacies on May 9, 2015 – the third annual National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day. This event is sponsored by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and is being held in partnership with the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Public Safety Canada. 
National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day is a great way to highlight the Manitoba Medications Return Program (MMRP) and educate the public on how to dispose of unused and expired medication safely.  MMRP is a free service offered by pharmacies, operated through HPSA and funded by the health products industries. The program keeps Manitoba families safe by removing the potential harm which could result from misused or accidentally ingested medication. By returning old and unused medications to the pharmacy you ensure that they are put into the right hands and disposed of in a safe and environmentally conscious manner.
“Patient health and safety are top priorities for Manitoba pharmacists. Easily accessible medications can be tempting to curious children and teens, leading to serious harm if misused or accidentally ingested. Similarly, cluttered medicine cabinets can be confusing for patients and could lead to serious health problems if the wrong medication is taken”, said Barret Procyshyn, Vice President, Pharmacists Manitoba “pharmacists care about keeping our patients safe. Patients should only have current medications available to ensure the right medication, in the right dosage is being taken.”
“The misuse of prescription drugs has become a crisis in many communities across the country.  National endeavors such as this go a long way in ensuring that those who misuse these medications, often our youth and most vulnerable, are protected from their effects.” says Chief Devon Clunis of the Winnipeg Police Service. 
“In Manitoba, HPSA operates more than 315 collection sites across the province where consumers may return unused or expired medications. Last year Manitobans returned over 17, 500 kilograms of medications that were no longer in use.” said HPSA’s Program Manager, Brian Shouldice.  
Of course you don’t have to wait until May 9 to dispose of your medications. The Manitoba Medications Return Program is available at urban and rural pharmacies all year round. Simply bring unused or expired medications to your local pharmacy for disposal.
 Types of medications that are accepted:
• all prescription drugs
• over the counter medications
• bottled liquids, patches and inhalers
• loose medications, in vials, and blister packs are all accepted