Pharmacists Manitoba Reminds Manitobans with Symptoms of COVID-19 and/or Close Contacts to Visit Provincial Testing Sites Instead of Pharmacies for Testing
Winnipeg, MB – January 6, 2022 - Pharmacists Manitoba is reminding Manitobans who have symptoms of COVID-19 and/or individuals have been a close contact of a positive case of COVID-19 to visit public testing sites for the appropriate testing.
“We need Manitobans to visit a public testing site if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or if they have been in close contact with a positive case,” says Ashley Hart, Past President of Pharmacists Manitoba. Hart adds, “Rapid antigen testing at pharmacies was always intended for asymptomatic individuals, that has not changed. However, moving forward asymptomatic close contacts of positive cases should now also visit public testing sites.”
Public testing sites in Manitoba are providing rapid antigen testing kits, free of cost, to individuals with symptoms, individuals age five and older with symptoms of COVID-19, asymptomatic close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and those advised by public health officials. The cost of a rapid antigen test administered by a Manitoba pharmacist ranges from $15 to $70. “It is an extremely busy time for Manitoba pharmacists, we are fielding many questions daily related to who can come into a pharmacy for a rapid antigen test, we wanted to help share the current public health recommendations to Manitobans,” says Hart.
Furthermore, many pharmacies will still continue to have rapid tests in-stock for service for those that do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and/or have not been a close contact of a positive case. As well, some pharmacies will continue to sell take-home rapid antigen tests to the public, however only nine self-testing devices have been approved by Health Canada and the supply of these devices is extremely low.
PHARMACISTS MANITOBA IS CALLING ON MINISTER OF HEALTH TO ALLOW PHARMACISTS TO VACCINATE INDIVIDUALS AGE FIVE (5) AND UP
Winnipeg, MB - November 8, 2021 - Pharmacists Manitoba is calling on the Honourable Audrey Gordon, Minister of Health and Seniors Care to request and sign-off on an Order in Council which will allow Manitoba pharmacists to vaccinate individuals ages five (5) and up. The Pharmaceutical Regulation (185/2013) states in Part 14, Section 110.1, that “[a] member may administer a vaccine that is prescribed by an authorized practitioner to a person who is at least seven years of age…”
“This call is in line with the imminent modifications we anticipate which will allow for children ages five (5) and up to receive their COVID-19 vaccines,” says Ashley Hart, President of Pharmacists Manitoba. Hart adds, “Pharmacists in Manitoba anticipate mass confusion and frustration among Manitobans if the age discrepancy between the age of children who are eligible for the vaccine, and the age at which a pharmacist can vaccinate is not addressed.”
Pharmacists Manitoba has requested an Order in Council from Minister Gordon due to the timeliness of the issue, however a regulation change is preferred. The organization is encouraging its membership and the general public to contact their provincial representatives to advocate for this change. “We want to ensure that Manitoba families are able to visit their local pharmacists – their most accessible healthcare professionals – to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” says Hart.
PHARMACISTS MANITOBA ANNOUNCES NEW CEO
PHARMACISTS MANITOBA ANNOUNCES 2019 AWARD RECIPIENTS
Winnipeg, MB – March 22, 2019 – Pharmacists Manitoba is announcing the recipients for their 2019 awards: The Pharmacists Manitoba Award of Merit, Mr. Scott McFeetors (Loblaw Pharmacy, Senior Director of Operations, Manitoba/ Northwestern Ontario); The Blando Patient Choice Award, Ms. Kristin Lane (Birtle Pharmacy; Pharmacist); The Ruban Insurance Friend of Pharmacy Award, Mr. Grant Stefanson (MLT Aikins; Partner), The Ozturk Pharmacy Business Leadership Award, Mr. Darwin Cheasley (Super Thrifty Pharmacy, Selkirk; Pharmacist, Manager & Owner) and The Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy Past President Award, Mr. Barret Procyshyn (Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy; Pharmacist & President of Pharmacists Manitoba). The awards recognize the contribution of pharmacists who show excellence in their profession, as well as non–pharmacists who have contributed to the positive perception of the profession and will be presented on Friday, April 12, 2019 at an invitation-only dinner at the Delta Winnipeg.
“I would like to congratulate all of our award recipients on behalf of Pharmacists Manitoba. Your dedication to your work, whether it be as a pharmacist or in a role that supports pharmacy practice, is making an impact. Pharmacists in the province are able to do more than ever before and with the positive image of our practice continuing to grow thanks to you and others like you, we have hope that our role in public health will expand to its full potential.” said Pharmacists Manitoba’s Vice President, Pawandeep Sidhu.
CEO, Dr. Brenna Shearer stated: “I am proud to recognize these unique individuals and their contribution to the practice of pharmacy in Manitoba. The dedication of these individuals exemplifies the profession and their commitment to providing outstanding patient care and high quality pharmacy services.”
MANITOBA BUDGET CONFIRMS CONTRIBUTION OF PHARMACISTS
SAVINGS OF NEARLY $3M SINCE 2016-17 SHOW ROOM FOR REINVESTMENT
Winnipeg, MB – March 12, 2018 – Pharmacists in Manitoba are doing their part to improve the public finances while preserving services to Manitoba families, and the provincial budget tabled today proves it. The budget documents reveal that over the past year alone nearly $3 million of savings were achieved for the Provincial Drug Plan - $282,800 more than projected in the last budget. These savings are being obtained at a time when pharmacy practice in Manitoba is facing significant challenges to its business.
“The Government of Manitoba has been very consistent in its expectations that ‘all hands are on deck’ when it comes to tackling the public finances. I’m pleased to say our members have done their part, with nearly $3 million in savings delivered to the Provincial Drug Plan alone,” said Barret Procyshyn, President of the Board of Pharmacists Manitoba. “Our members are making a contribution while continuing to provide Manitoba patients with a high level of service. This shows we can adjust, that we can support positive changes and play an important role in providing care to Manitoba families. It also shows there are opportunities to reinvest in pharmacy in Manitoba. If the Manitoba Government would consult with us further, I know we could work together to build on this opportunity.”
The 2017-18 budget introduced a cap on pharmacists’ professional fees in Manitoba, which went into effect last summer. Further changes have been introduced, including a recent agreement by the
Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, that will result in an average of $95,000 in losses to the average Manitoba pharmacy. This is occurring in a provincial policy environment where pharmacists see some of the lowest rates of remuneration and limited funding in Canada.
“Manitoba’s public finances continue to face significant challenges, and we understand the need to address these issues,” added Procyshyn. “Our members want to do their part. There are investment opportunities that could yield even more savings over the long term and help the government meet this challenge. Support for smoking cessation and expanding prescribing authority are just two examples. There are a number of opportunities to both save money and to provide services while improving patient outcomes and the health of Manitoba families. We hope this is a conversation we can have with the Manitoba Government.”
PHARMACISTS MANITOBA WELCOMES PREMIER PALLISTER’S SUPPORT IN DEBATE OVER PROPOSED FEDERAL TAX CHANGES
Winnipeg, September 22, 2017 – Pharmacists Manitoba welcomed the support of Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister in the ongoing debate over proposed changes to small business taxes which the Federal Government is contemplating. In Manitoba, almost all pharmacies are considered small businesses and 60% of the pharmacies are independently owned.
“We are concerned about the proposed tax changes in Ottawa, and how these changes would affect the pharmacies in the province, so it is very positive to see Premier Brian Pallister come forward and offer his support,” said Barret Procyshyn, President of the Board of Directors for Pharmacists Manitoba. “Community pharmacies have to invest significantly in their business in order to continually provide the best possible care to their patients. This includes significant investments in their infrastructure, inventory and new technology. They do so at great expense and at great personal risk. The proposed changes in Ottawa could significantly affect pharmacies ability to make these investments and innovate for patient care.”
Procyshyn noted pharmacies in Manitoba employ a wide range staff, from pharmacy technicians to cashiers and other staff to sustain the business.
“Pharmacies represent the most accessible health professional for many Manitobans, and are a very important part of the communities business fabric of Manitoba. We are glad Premier Pallister is recognizing the risks these proposed changes in Ottawa represent and standing up for small business in our province.”
PHARMACISTS MANITOBA CONCERNED AT LACK OF CONSULTATION OVER FEE CAP, CUTS TO SUPPORT FOR COMPLIANCE PACKAGING AND MEDICATION PREPARATION
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.”
PHARMACISTS MANITOBA TO SUPPORT INTRODUCTION OF NEW MANITOBA POLICIES REGARDING BLOOD GLUCOSE TEST STRIPS
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 http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/pharmacare/changes.html 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.”
PHARMACISTS MANITOBA RESPONDS TO PROVINCIAL BUDGET
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.”
PHARMACIST CARE FOR PATIENTS WITH HYPERTENSION WOULD SAVE MANITOBA HEALTH CARE SYSTEM MORE THAN $573 MILLION DOLLARS
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:
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.
MANITOBAN’S AGREE THAT PHARMACIST SERVICES SHOULD BE PUBLICLY FUNDED
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:
“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.