Some Manitoba pharmacy grads are suffering amid broken regulations

On May 18, 2023 / News

New PharmD grad Marianna Pozdirca chose to study the field for its career flexibility.

“I’ve seen pharmacists working in insurance, I’ve seen pharmacists working in government, I’ve seen pharmacists working in insurance, hospitals and clinics and whenever they are, they add a very unique perspective,” Pozdirca told Global News’ Teagan Rasche before her graduation ceremony, which marked the end of her degree.

Fellow University of Manitoba grad Christine Vaccaro said it was the professionals giving back that piqued her interest in the career. 

“Seeing pharmacists do more for their communities is what really drove it home as something I wanted to do,” she said.

Previously known as a bachelor of science in pharmacy, the PharmD program extends beyond traditional studies. By including areas like diagnosing sprains and managing chronic illnesses, the degree allows students to work in various settings such as hospitals and primary care practices.

The program saw 49 graduates this year.

Vaccaro said the difference with the new program is more time spent doing rotations. Every two months students change practice sites, and their last year is spent entirely working with patients.

The program’s only ailment lies in provincial regulations, which don’t allow the new grads to flex all their newfound skills.

The province said it’s changed the scope of work for pharmacists in the past — including giving them the ability to prescribe medication for urinary tract infections and smoking cessation — but did not comment on future potential changes. 

“It’s really important we get regulations that are more current that allow these newly trained pharmacists that are entering the field today to be able to actually access and prescribe for more minor ailments, more clinical services, more acute conditions,” the CEO said.

The College of Pharmacists of Manitoba said discussions with the government on regulation changes are ongoing.

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