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Pharmacists in Ontario will soon be able to prescribe medications for more than a dozen common ailments

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Ontario pharmacists will soon be able to prescribe medications for a number of common ailments without the approval of a physician.

As of Jan. 1, pharmacists across Ontario will be able to fill prescriptions on the spot, with no added cost for the visit, for 13 of ‘the most common ailments.

The change hopes to lighten the load on doctors, clinics and emergency rooms.

The 13 ailments include hay fever, oral thrush, dermatitis, pink eye, menstrual cramps, acid reflux, hemorrhoids, cold sores, impetigo, insect bites and hives, tick bites, sprains and strains, and UTIs, according to the Ministry of Health.

Minister of Health Sylvia Jones made the announcement Wednesday, saying the move will make it easier for people in the province to “receive the care they need."

“These changes will help alleviate the strain on our health care system. By making it easier for Ontarians to receive connected care at a pharmacy for common ailments,” said Jones in a statement to CTV News.

“Hospitals and health care facilities can put their resources into providing care for those who need it most."

“Expanding the ability of pharmacists to provide care is one more way we’re putting people at the centre of our health care system, making it easier, faster and more convenient to access health care in their community … Improving our province's healthcare system by making it easier to access more services in communities, smoother coordination between health professionals, shorter wait times for key surgeries, easier access to home care, and improved emergency department wait times.”

Atef Lotfy, a pharmacist at the Elgin Street Pharmacy in Greater Sudbury told CTV News the changes from the province, which will allow him to treat some minor aliments will mean new convenience for his customers.

“The patient is so excited because they know in the community pharmacy, the patient is very close to the pharmacist so its like one of the family so I would go to one of my family better then I spend the time over there,” said Lofty

Lotfy said these changes will also go along way to help a very congested health system.

As of Dec. 12, Ontario pharmacists have been permitted to prescribe Paxlovid, an antiviral COVID-19 treatment, without a prescription issued by a physician.

The new service will be free for Ontario health card holders.

The ministry of health said, in addition to providing more convenience with no additional costs, the service will also help “free-up doctors”’ to provide care for more complex needs.

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