Volume 11 | No. 3 | May / Jun 2023 query_builder 1 minute

No need to send the original hard copy of duplicate prescriptions to the pharmacy following faxing

Drug Programs update


The Board of the College of Pharmacists of BC (CPBC) recently approved amendments to their bylaws which enable changes to verbal and faxed prescriptions under the Controlled Prescription Program (CPP), and the requirements for hard copies of original prescriptions. This includes changes to the Community Pharmacy Standards of Practice for faxed prescriptions, and Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act bylaws for verbal CPP prescriptions. 

Prescribers are still required to issue the prescription of controlled drugs (Schedule 1A drugs) from a duplicate prescription pad.

During the pandemic, temporary amendments were made to CPBC bylaws to permit faxing and verbal transmission of these prescriptions, however, it was still necessary for prescribers to send the original prescription to pharmacies. As of April 17, 2023, this is no longer required.

  • If a prescription is verbally transmitted to a pharmacy, the prescriber must send either the original prescription from the duplicate pad, or send a faxed copy of that prescription.
  • If the prescription is sent by fax to the pharmacy, that is all that is required. 

These changes are only in place while there is a public health emergency declared by the Provincial Health Officer. Currently, the public health emergency due to the toxic drug crisis is still in effect.

Prescribers can, of course, still give original copies of the duplicate prescription to their patients to bring to the pharmacy themselves.

As always, and in all situations, an identical copy of the original duplicate prescription must be kept with the patient medical record. Either the blue copy of the duplicate prescription must be retained with a paper record, or a digital image of the prescription must be placed in an electronic medical record. 

A reminder regarding safer supply

Registrants are reminded that those who prescribe safer supply medications as an alternative to the toxic street supply must clearly add “SA” at the bottom of the Directions for Use section of the duplicate form. “SA” informs the dispensing pharmacist to tag the prescription with a (non-public) identifying code for program evaluation purposes in PharmaNet. Getting data on safer supply will enable data collection and analysis to help combat the toxic drug crisis more effectively.