Pharmacists urge Senate to include more support for patients as they Believe Bill C-45 to legalize cannabis

Pharmacists urge Senate to Add more support for patients as they consider Bill C-45 to legalize cannabis

With the legalization of recreational cannabis looming on the horizon, the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA), joined by the Association québécoise des pharmaciens propriétaires (AQPP), appeared today before the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology to discuss Bill C-45. Pharmacists are asking the Senate to include more support for individuals who use medical cannabis by ensuring that there is a clear differentiation between the medical and recreational cannabis streams, with incentives for patients to remain in the medical cannabis stream.

“While we generally feel that Bill C-45 provides many important and necessary protections from the legalization of recreational cannabis, we are worried about the effect of cannabis legalization on patients that are taking medical cannabis for pain, epilepsy, MS and other conditions,” says Phil Emberley, Director, Practice Advancement and Research, CPhA.  “If the legislation does not appropriately consider the medical cannabis flow, it’ll be a massive disservice to such patients and lead to recreational users with better access than patients that require cannabis for medical purposes.”

The proposed regulatory strategy maintains the current status quo for medical cannabis under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). This is going to make recreational cannabis easier to access than medical cannabis and risk pushing patients into the recreational stream.

Of great concern to Canada’s 40,000 drug experts is the threat to patient safety. Pharmacists are best equipped to provide clinical advice to patients and proper oversight in the secure management and dispensing of medical cannabis. They are highly accessible and can assess patient medication profiles for drug interactions and help prevent, monitor and report side effects to help build a body of evidence. 

Currently, when patients receive a health document for cannabis, access is strictly available through mail-order licensed providers or by personal cultivation. “There will be little incentive for individuals to continue to access cannabis this way once recreational cannabis is widely available in retail stores, particularly since the government has indicated that it wants to impose a similar taxation framework for both streams,” says Emberley.

If easier access pushes patients to the recreational cannabis flow, they risk losing all medical oversight and increase their odds of complications. “We need to make sure that medical cannabis patients are supported and protected through a distinct medical flow, and incentivized to continue to use this flow once recreational cannabis is legal,” says Emberley.

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 known 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 atwww.pharmacists.ca.

SOURCE Canadian Pharmacists Association

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Published at Fri, 25 May 2018 14:58:41 +0000

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