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Canadian Pharmacists Association
Canadian Pharmacists Association
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Pharmacists disappointed new medical marijuana regulations miss the mark on patient safety

CPhA is committed to working with government to improve patient access and provide clinical oversight

August 11, 2016 (Ottawa): The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) expressed its disappointment that new Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) miss an important opportunity to improve patient access and safety through pharmacist management and dispensing of medical marijuana. Nevertheless, the Association is encouraged by Health Canada’s acknowledgement that pharmacy is under consideration as a potential model as the regulations are evaluated going forward.

“Pharmacists have the expertise to mitigate potential risks associated with medical marijuana, including harmful drug interactions, contraindications, and potential addictive behaviour,” said Perry Eisenschmid, CEO, Canadian Pharmacists Association. “Pharmacist management and distribution would improve access for Canadians in urban, rural and remote communities, in compliance with the requirements set out by the Federal Court in Allard, under the supervision of a licensed health care professional, through an established distribution system proven to protect patient and public safety.”

Fortunately, the government has another opportunity to improve patient safety in the creation of a new regime for legal access to recreational marijuana. Experience in international jurisdictions has demonstrated that pharmacist dispensing of medical marijuana where recreational marijuana is legal will help limit the emergence of a grey market and protect the medical system against abuse by recreational users.

“By providing access to marijuana for medical purposes through pharmacy, Health Canada and the Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation can ensure that Canada is in line with international best practices,” said Eisenschmid. “Recognizing that Health Canada is responding directly to the Court’s ruling and its deadline, we are encouraged that Health Canada has committed to studying pharmacy distribution as the regulations are evaluated going forward.”

Canadians are strongly in favour of pharmacist dispensing of medical marijuana, and an independent assessment by KPMG concludes that where recreational marijuana is legal, pharmacist oversight of medical marijuana is even more important to protect patient and public safety.

As the Government shifts its focus toward the legalization of recreational marijuana, CPhA looks forward to working with Health Canada and the Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation to ensure the safety and integrity of Canada’s medical marijuana regime.

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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:

Joelle Walker
Director of Public Affairs
Canadian Pharmacists Association
(613) 523-7877 Ext. 387