Operating Internet Sites

POLICY

Ontario Pharmacies Operating Internet Sites

Approved: June 2001

College Contact: Pharmacy Practice


Any site selling drugs (Schedule I, II, or III) to the public through an Internet site must be an accredited pharmacy. As such, the pharmacy must meet all the requirements and obligations of all federal and provincial legislation. The designated manager is responsible for the operation and information posted on the pharmacy’s website.

1. The following is not all inclusive but indicates some areas that must be addressed:

  1. Authenticity of prescription orders;
  2. Sale of Schedule II and III drugs - pharmacists must make the decision to sell Schedule II drugs and be available for consultation;
  3. Tracking of deliveries;
  4. Transmission (receiving and sending) of prescriptions must be in compliance with all federal and provincial legislation and Standards of Practice;
  5. All Internet prescriptions must be recorded, filed, labelled and entered using the same filing system/computer as the regular pharmacy;
  6. Pharmacists must comply with the Standards of Practice;
  7. Website must be in compliance with federal and provincial regulations regarding the advertising of drugs, fees, and pharmacy services.

2. The home page of any pharmacy Internet site must identify the:

  1. Website as belonging to or referring to a pharmacy accredited by OCP;
  2. Accreditation number and owner;
  3. Physical location of the pharmacy, including address and city/town;
  4. Telephone number to contact the pharmacy;
  5. Designated manager;
  6. Hours that a licensed pharmacist is available for consultation.

3. Personal patient health information must be collected, recorded and used in a manner to protect confidentiality and privacy. The Internet site may wish to provide a confidentiality statement with regard to (but not limited to) insuring the security of personal health information.

4. The Internet site should provide a policy and procedure document for the public to explain the following:

  1. Counselling patients on new and repeat prescriptions;
  2. Counselling patients on over-the-counter medications;
  3. Delivery policy;
  4. Returns policy;
  5. Complaints procedures.

5. The designated manager/pharmacy owner must inform OCP as per the legislation regarding change of information in the DPRA and Pharmacy Act, OCP By-laws:

  1. When a pharmacy is going to be conducting business over the Internet;
  2. The Internet address;
  3. Nature of the business (e.g. Rx, OTC or both, specialties);
  4. Phone number if different from the pharmacy.

6. Internet operation must be available for onsite inspection by OCP inspectors as it is considered a part of the accredited pharmacy.

7. Disclaimers. Pharmacists are reminded of liability issues and their professional responsibility regardless of disclaimers posted on an Internet site. It is recommended they seek legal advice.