VICTORIA – British Columbia has introduced amendments to the Pharmacy
Operations and Drug Scheduling Act, which will give the College of
Pharmacists of B.C. greater ability to protect patients from unscrupulous
Health Minister Terry Lake moved first reading of the Pharmacy Operations
and Drug Scheduling Amendment Act today.
In 2015, the college approached the Ministry of Health and asked the
ministry to give it better legislative tools for regulating people
involved in the community pharmacy industry.
The college is responsible for regulating and registering pharmacists in
B.C., as well as licensing pharmacies to operate. However, it does not
currently have the ability to regulate to the appropriate degree pharmacy
owners, directors or other non-pharmacists involved in running the
While the vast majority of people involved in community pharmacies are
honest and ethical, the college reports an increase in recent years of
unscrupulous pharmacy practices – for example, kickbacks to methadone
maintenance clients, running dirty, unsafe pharmacies and breaking
PharmaCare billing rules.
The proposed amendments allow the college to require information from the
pharmacy about all owners and other people involved in running a
pharmacy. They also will allow the college to refuse to issue, renew or
reinstate a pharmacy license if pharmacy owners, directors or officers:
* have limits imposed by the college’s discipline committee that prevent
them from owning or managing a pharmacy;
* have been convicted of a recent, relevant crime;
* have committed a billing contravention against PharmaCare;
* have recently had a judgment entered against them in court regarding
pharmacy practice, drugs or devices;
* have recently had their registration as a pharmacist suspended or
cancelled by the college or any other body that regulates pharmacists; or
* have recently had limits or conditions imposed on their registration as
a pharmacists by their professional regulatory body.
The college can also choose to impose conditions on a pharmacy licence.
These amendments will help the college prevent unsuitable people from
owning or managing, directly or indirectly, community pharmacies in
The amendments also dovetail with the work the Ministry of Health has
done in the past year, under the Provider Regulation of the
Pharmaceutical Services Act. That regulation allows the ministry to
better enforce the rules around pharmacies billing PharmaCare, and to
stop doing business with pharmacies that do not meet those standards. To
date, 28 pharmacies are no longer able to be enrolled in PharmaCare as a
result of the 2015 regulation changes.