Prescribing verbally or by fax

Update from the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia

The College of Pharmacists of BC Board approved amendments to the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act (PODSA) and the Health Professions Act (HPA) Bylaws, including the Community Pharmacy Standards of Practice, to change the Controlled Prescription Program (CPP) hard copy requirements for verbal and faxed prescriptions.

Changes to verbal or faxed prescriptions to pharmacies

Normally, verbal and faxed prescriptions for Schedule 1A drugs (controlled medications specified by the CPP) may not be accepted by a pharmacist in a community pharmacy.

However, temporary amendments are currently in place that allow the following:

  • Verbal prescriptions
    A pharmacist may accept a CPP prescription verbally by phone, as permitted through the subsection 56(1) class exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The pharmacy must receive either the original hard copy or a faxed copy of the CPP duplicate prescription from the prescriber as soon as reasonably possible.
  • Faxed prescriptions
    A pharmacist may accept a CPP duplicate prescription received by fax, during a public health emergency declared by the provincial health officer. This includes the overdose crisis. Faxed prescriptions must still be written on a duplicate prescription pad.

Prescribers no longer need to send the original hard copy to the pharmacy

The approved amendments remove the requirement for the original hard copy of a duplicate prescription to be received by a pharmacy when a prescriber issues a CPP prescription verbally over the phone or through fax.

The prescriber is still required to issue the CPP prescription on the duplicate prescription pad. The fax copy is accepted in place of the original hard copy at the pharmacy.

Controlled medications specified in the Controlled Prescription Program