Drug programs

The drug programs department is responsible for ensuring patient safety by guiding and supporting physicians and surgeons (registrants of the College) to prescribe safely throughout their careers. The College is required to conduct quality assurance initiatives to promote safe prescribing under the Health Professions Act and the College Bylaws.

Protecting the public

Drug programs ensures registrants who prescribe have access to the most up-to-date clinical guidelines and resources, and ongoing educational opportunities so that they can safely prescribe to their patients. The program also contributes to safer prescribing, reduced forgeries and drug diversion through the administration of the Controlled Prescription Program and the provision of the duplicate prescription pads.

Ensuring safe prescribing in the community

At its core, the drug programs department protects the public by ensuring safe prescribing in the community.

The program reviews prescribing practices and provides guidance and feedback to registrants. The program works hard to ensure physician prescribing practices are grounded in an evidence-based framework and prescribers have the tools they need to make informed clinical decisions.

The commitment to patient safety is demonstrated throughout the program, which includes:

  • educational courses and conferences hosted and recommended by the College
  • rigorous checks during the duplicate pad order process
  • the Prescription Review Program, which provides education and guidance to prescribers

Ongoing prescribing support and educational opportunities

The drug programs department provides ongoing prescribing support to registrants throughout their career.

Registrants are encouraged to get in touch anytime if they would like to speak with a medical consultant for guidance on a specific issue. The program also offers educational opportunities and conferences throughout the year.

Minimizing risk wherever possible

Patient safety is the key driver behind the work of drug programs. Patient safety means prescribers are working within the accepted clinical guidelines and best practices, minimizing risk wherever possible and regularly reviewing their prescribing.

There is also a patient responsibility when taking controlled drugs and it is the expectation that the patient will adhere to the expectations of the registrant who is prescribing. This includes any drug safety measures deemed necessary by the prescribing registrant, such as pill counts and urine drug screens.

Drug programs reviews prescribing principles, not individual prescribing. The program cannot intervene in patient care and cannot ask a registrant to prescribe or not prescribe specific medications to a patient. If a patient believes they have received unacceptable care they should file a complaint.

Quality assurance programs and initiatives

The drug programs administer specific programs and initiatives to promote safe prescribing.

A quality assurance, educational and collegial program for physicians
Ordering, oversight, and management of duplicate prescription pads
Training requirements and guidelines for prescribing opioid agonist treatment
Training requirements and guidelines for prescribing methadone for analgesia