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Skip the doctor, see a pharmacist: 13 conditions you can have treated at an Ontario pharmacy in 2023

Starting Jan. 1, pharmacies can prescribe medication for these conditions at no cost to patients

Ontario pharmacies will officially be able to assess and prescribe medication for 13 common ailments as of Jan. 1.

The service is intended to make access to care more convenient by eliminating a doctor's visit, according to a release from the Ontario Ministry of Health. And it's free for patients with a health card, the ministry says.

"Empowering pharmacists to use their expertise to assess and treat minor ailments helps patients get the care they need sooner and closer to home," Justin Bates, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists Association, said in the release.

The move comes as Ontario hospitals and clinics have been hit hard with a surge in viral illnesses.

The government first announced in July that it intended to give pharmacists more prescribing power in the hopes of reducing the load on primary care physicians and emergency rooms. While pharmacists said at the time they were glad to see the changes, they also said the changes should have been made sooner and don't go far enough.

"Ontario is taking a very cautious approach with only 13 conditions," Bates previously told CBC News. "We need to expand it."

Here are the conditions you can skip the doctor for:

  • Allergic rhinitis.

  • Candidal stomatitis (oral thrush).

  • Conjunctivitis (bacterial, allergic and viral).

  • Dermatitis (atopic, eczema, allergic and contact).

  • Dysmenorrhea.

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease.

  • Hemorrhoids.

  • Herpes labialis (cold sores).

  • Impetigo.

  • Insect bites and urticaria (hives).

  • Tick bites, post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent Lyme disease.

  • Musculoskeletal sprains and strains.

  • Urinary tract infections.



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