CPhA Welcomes Health Canada Decision to Revise Prescription Status of Naloxone
March 22, 2016 (Ottawa): The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) welcomes the decision by Health Canada to revise the federal prescription status of naloxone, a medication that has the potential to significantly reduce the frequency of deaths that occur with opioid overdosage. This decision reflects the advice CPhA provided to Health Canada in August 2015.
The change to the prescription status will allow non-prescription use of naloxone, specifically for emergency opioid overdose outside hospital settings, and is an important step in reducing the risks of opioid-related overdoses and deaths in Canada.
“Pharmacists have an important role to play in mitigating opioid misuse,” says Carlo Berardi, Chair, Canadian Pharmacists Association. “As trusted professionals, pharmacists serve as important sources of information to heighten awareness as to the risks of high potency opioids, as well as to the inherent addiction risks of these medications. Many pharmacists across Canada provide addiction management services, and as a result have the potential to interact with those most at-risk of overdose.”
Health Canada stressed in its decision the importance of training potential administrators of naloxone prior to dispensing. CPhA agrees and believes that the next step of making naloxone available in community pharmacies would have an even greater impact and be supported by pharmacists who can provide guidance on its appropriate and safe use and administration.
CPhA is committed to working with government, regulators, law enforcement and other health professionals to address the growing issue of opioid misuse and made a number of recommendations in the August 2015 statement on fentanyl misuse, including the review of naloxone’s prescription status.
About the Canadian Pharmacists Association
The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is the uniting national voice of pharmacy and the pharmacist profession in Canada. As pharmacists undertake an enhanced role in the delivery of health care services, CPhA ensures that the profession is recognized as a national leader in health care, influencing the policies, programs, budgets and initiatives affecting the profession and the health of Canadians. More information is available at www.pharmacists.ca.
For more information, please contact:
Director of Communications
Canadian Pharmacists Association
(613) 523-7877 Ext. 285