How to Make the Most of Your Local Pharmacist

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There was a time when the family doctor’s office was the most common place Canadians could go for health care and advice. But with the growing demands on our health care system, there has been a move to increase the scope of practice for healthcare professionals to increase accessibility to primary care. Pharmacists have embraced their role as part of the solution.

“A lot of Canadians don’t realize that pharmacists do so much more than filling prescriptions,” said Victor Wong, Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist. “Pharmacists provide a range of services depending on the province.  And with extended hours in most areas, pharmacists provide convenient access to healthcare advice.”

Below are just a few of the services you may not be aware pharmacists can provide in many provinces.

Managing medications – Pharmacists are medication experts and a key resource on both over-the-counter and prescription medications. They can provide medication organizers that help ensure drugs are taken at the correct time to minimize side effects and help achieve optimal outcomes.  They also offer medication reviews – a one-on-one meeting to help individuals understand how to safely and effectively use their prescription, and any over the counter, medications.  During a Medication Reviews pharmacists identify any potential drug therapy problems, s and address them by recommending solutions such as a change in dose, a change of medication, or even a change in the way a medication is taken.

Administering vaccinations – As pharmacists can now administer flu vaccinations in the majority of provinces, Canadians have increasingly come to rely on them for this important service. However, pharmacists in many regions can administer other preventative immunizations, including most travel vaccinations, and the shingles vaccine.

Counselling on more than prescriptions – Pharmacists can help you select vitamins and over-the-counter products that are right for you. Pharmacists can also give health and lifestyle advice on managing common chronic conditions like arthritis and diabetes.  And, they are able to provide counselling on the prevention and treatment of minor ailments – everything from seasonal allergies to bug bites to head lice.

Pharmacists are often available without an appointment, making them more accessible than many other health care providers. For more information on what pharmacy services are available to you, drop by your local Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy or visit