Medicare to cover pharmacy costs for some prescription renewals and UTI assessments and prescriptions01 October 2021
FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is making it easier for people to access some services that would normally require a visit to a walk-in clinic or emergency room.
Beginning Oct. 1, the government will cover the costs for pharmacists to renew prescriptions for people who do not have a primary care provider or who are in an urgent situation and cannot access their provider.
In addition, the government will cover the costs for pharmacists to assess and prescribe medication for uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTI) for people between the ages of 16 and 64 who have previously been diagnosed with an uncomplicated UTI.
These expenses will be covered for New Brunswickers with a valid Medicare card who do not live in a nursing home.
“By publicly funding these services, we will ease the wait times for New Brunswickers and also alleviate some of the pressure on other providers in our health-care system,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. “Allowing our health-care professionals to practise to the full extent of their skills and education, especially within a publicly funded model, makes best use of the human resources within the province, while improving access to health care for all.”
Pharmacists have been authorized to provide these services since 2014, but patients had to pay a fee as the services were not covered under the public health system.
All patients will still be responsible for the usual pharmacy dispensing fees and the cost of prescribed medications, however those with prescription drug insurance plans may submit claims to their insurance provider.
“By supporting a wider range of publicly covered pharmacist services, the province is taking a tangible and positive step to improve access to primary health care,” said Andrew Drover, president of the New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association. “Pharmacists have been doing more for patients in recent years but the COVID-19 pandemic has really shined a light on how vital they are to our health-care system and how they can help ease the burden on family physicians and emergency rooms while making it easier for patients to access the health care they need.”