Article by David Brown, Lift
The Canadian Pharmacists’ Association says they are disappointed that new legislation to regulate cannabis for ‘adult use’ does not include references to pharmacies.
In a press release, the national association said they were pleased to see that the government followed the task force suggestion of maintaining a separate medical regime as the government establishes a non-medical, adult use market. They expressed disappointment, however, that the legislation made no reference to ‘clinical oversight in the management and dispensing of medical cannabis in Canada’.
“CPhA believes that a frontline role for pharmacists in the management and dispensing of medical cannabis is in the best interest of patient safety,” the organization said. “Pharmacists have the necessary expertise to mitigate the potential risks associated with using medical cannabis, including harmful drug interactions, contraindications and potential addictive behavior. By not moving to ensure appropriate clinical oversight, CPhA believes that patient health will continue to be at risk under the current system.”
After initially opposing pharmacy-distribution of medical cannabis when it was first included in rules back in 2013, last April the Canadian Pharmacy Association (CPhA) announced that they believe pharmacies are the safest way to dispense medical cannabis in Canada.
The CPhA formerly opposed the inclusion of pharmacy distribution in 2013 when it was included in an early version of Health Canada’s Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR). The opposition cited a “lack of evidence” and concern with the possibility for associated crime.
The release concluded, “there remains the concern with pharmacists dispensing a product that does not have adequate safety and effectiveness evidence. In addition, the potential security risks to pharmacies due to robberies would need to be considered.”
The question of who should dispense medical marijuana is hotly contested, with dispensaries, liquor stores, pharmacies and licensed producers all seeking to stake their claim of expertise as being essential for the market.
The CPhA’s pre-Budget 2017 submission last summer included a request for $10 million to support cannabis education. Pharmacists who wish to dispense medical cannabis will likely have to attend cannabis education courses.