Prescription Review Program

Core principles for safe and effective prescribing are set out in the College professional standard Safe Prescribing of Opioids and Sedatives, and approved by the Prescription Review Panel. These principles are intended as a guide for physicians to ensure safe, judicious and responsible prescribing to all their patients. The College recognizes that opioid therapy will be different when treating pain in the settings of active cancer treatment, palliative care and end-of-life care.

The College does expect appropriate pharmacovigilance in the prescribing of controlled drugs.

Prescription Review Program Staging Process

The program begins with a review of the physician’s PharmaNet practitioner prescription profile, followed by several stages of educational activities.

At each stage, a PharmaNet practitioner prescription profile is reviewed by the medical consultant. Depending on the unique situation of each case, files may progress linearly stage by stage, go back and forth between stages, or may be accelerated through the program. If the review reveals prescribing patterns that are consistent with the College standards and guidelines, Safe Prescribing of Opioids and Sedatives, the panel would likely direct that the file be closed.

For those physicians with particularly challenging prescribing profiles, a face-to-face discussion with a medical consultant is offered as an opportunity to discuss barriers to, and opportunities for, improvements in prescribing practice. The educational and remedial activities provided by the PRP are of a collegial nature, supported by research and best practices.

Continuing Medical Education

Prescribers Course

Family physicians consistently rate prescribing for chronic pain amongst the most difficult areas of their professional lives. In a discipline where communication is the core skill set, talking to patients in realistic terms about the risks and benefits that attend the use of opioids, benzodiazepines and other potentially habituating medications challenges even the most seasoned practitioners. Participants in this intensive course will learn new approaches, primarily though interview simulations in small groups, supported by sympathetic, experienced, clinical teachers.

For more information, please visit the events page.

Chronic Pain Management Conference

Presented by the Foundation for Medical Excellence in cooperation with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia. This course is designed to assist clinicians in managing the most challenging of pain patients—those with complex chronic pain.

For more information, please visit the events page


For a list of safe opioid prescribing courses recognized by the Prescription Review Program, please contact 604-733-7758 extension 2629.



The 2017 Canadian Guideline for Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain

  • National Guideline
    Recommendations for clinical practice from an international team of clinicians, researchers, and patients
  • Tools
    Patient information on tapering, opioid manager, and switching opioids form

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

US Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense Guidelines

American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians Guidelines

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Clinical Guidelines

Canadian Family Physician Clinical Practice Guidelines

Note: Any third party links are provided for general reference only and no endorsement of their content by the College is implied.