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Bill 67: Expanding the roles of pharmacists will improve access to primary care, says MEI

Montreal, June 4, 2024 – Quebec’s Bill 67, introduced early today by Quebec Treasury Board president Sonia LeBel, will help improve access to health care in the province, says Montreal Economic Institute researcher Emmanuelle B. Faubert.

“This bill is great news for the over 600,000 Quebecers who are actively waiting to be connected with a family doctor,” explains MEI economist Faubert. “By allowing pharmacists to play a larger role in our health care system, Quebec will help more patients get access to the treatment they need.”

If adopted, the bill will allow pharmacists to prescribe a larger variety of medication, take more samples themselves and renew more prescriptions without a medical consultation.

The researcher points to the success of pharmacist-led clinics in Alberta in helping improve access to health care.

The first such clinic opened its doors in Alberta in 2022. It is estimated the province will count as many as 103 by the end of the year.

A 2019 peer-reviewed study found that pharmacists could handle 35 per cent of avoidable emergency room visits in Canada.

Faubert also points out that prescription-related issues account for more than 10 per cent of emergency room visits, which puts more unnecessary pressure on hospitals.

“Just imagine how much faster things could be if pharmacists could take care of 35 per cent of the unnecessary load placed on emergency rooms,” said Faubert. “With today’s announcement, the Legault government is taking a significant step toward making timely access to health care a reality again.”

Last year, the median time spent by patients visiting Quebec emergency rooms was 5 hours and 13 minutes.

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The MEI is an independent public policy think tank with offices in Montreal and Calgary. Through its publications, media appearances, and advisory services to policy-makers, the MEI stimulates public policy debate and reforms based on sound economics and entrepreneurship.

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