On June 18, 2020 Health Minister,Cameron Friesen wrote a letter to Pharmacists Manitoba President, Pawandeep Sidhu thanking her for offering assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. To read the letter, click here.
The provincial government announced that as of May 11, 2020, they would be lifting the blanket 30-day limit on prescription refills that has been in place in Manitoba since March 19.
The government is also creating a new working group – comprised of members from Pharmacists Manitoba, the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba, and provincial officials – to monitor and restrict drugs that are known to be in short supply. This group will be responsible for ongoing surveillance and monitoring of drug availability in the province and will make evidence-based decisions as to what drugs should continue to only be dispensed in one-month allotments.
This news did not come as a surprise to us. We have been engaged in ongoing discussions with the Health Minister and other stakeholders in recent weeks to consider options for managing drug supply shortages. We believe that today’s announcement is a positive step in the right direction that will benefit everyone, and it shows that government values the role our members play.
We know firsthand that many medications experienced an increase in demand at the start of this global pandemic, which is why the initial decision by the government to limit to one-month was an essential one. It provided a critical buffer in our supply chain during the initial pandemic response. But we also realize that our standard systems for monitoring drug shortages will not work in the face of a prolonged global pandemic that lasts months or years, and we’ve consistently said we are open to finding a better path forward that works for everyone.
The creation of a pharmacy working group is yet another example that our government relations strategy is the right one. In the past, a decision like this one might have arrived out of the blue, but today, and going forward, constructive dialogue is growing. We intend to keep building upon the strong foundation that is now in place and continue advocating for increased recognition and support for pharmacists across the province.
On March 19, 2020, Manitoba Health Seniors and Active Living issued a letter informing pharmacists that to ensure the continued supply, and to prevent the stockpiling of prescription medication, Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living will require that, effective immediately, Manitoba pharmacists limit the number and quantity of prescription drug dispenses as follows:
• Manitoba pharmacists may only provide a one month supply (to a maximum of a 35-day supply) in a 28-day period for all drugs.
• This restriction applies to all prescriptions regardless of whether the patient pays or has a private or public drug plan.
To read this letter, click here.
On January 8, 2020, the Manitoba government, Pharmacists Manitoba and Shoppers Drug Mart announced the launch of what is believed to be the world’s first social impact bond dedicated to helping people quit smoking.
The Manitoba government will partner with Pharmacists Manitoba on a smoking cessation social impact bond, with Shoppers Drug Mart as the investor. Shoppers Drug Mart will invest $2 million over the next five years to fund activities around smoking cessation including counselling and nicotine replacement therapies.
During the press conference, Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen spoke highly of the role pharmacists play in our province’s health care and noted that the SIB would allow pharmacists to dedicate more time to smoking cessation counselling.
For more information about the social impact bond, please see the press release.
*Please note that the program is open to all pharmacies. We will notify you of any further developments in the coming weeks and months.
On November 19, 2019, Chief Justice Richard J.F. Chartier gave the Speech from the Throne outlining what Premier Brian Pallister’s government hopes to achieve during the upcoming legislative session. Pharmacist Manitoba President, Pawandeep Sidhu and CEO, Brenna Shearer were invited to attend the event in person.
During the Speech from the Throne the government reinforced its campaign commitment to allow pharmacists to prescribe for uncomplicated UTIs: “Pharmacists will be consulted to develop a framework allowing them to write prescriptions for uncomplicated urinary tract infections, rather than requiring a doctor's visit.”
This promise was also noted in the news release sent out by the Manitoba government.
August 25th the PC Party of Manitoba made an announcement pledging that, if re-elected, they will begin paying pharmacists to prescribe medication for uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs), as part of their 2019 provincial election campaign.
This is a clear commitment by the incumbent government to delivering better health care outcomes, alleviate waiting room times and congestion, and saving taxpayer dollars – and is a direct result of the ongoing government relations work we have been undertaking for the past several months.