Minor Ailments

Proposed regulatory amendments to authorize Part A pharmacists, students and interns in Ontario to prescribe medications for certain minor ailments have been approved. This expansion of scope of practice comes into effect on January 1, 2023, and will apply to the following conditions:

  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Candidal stomatitis (oral thrush)
  • Conjunctivitis (bacterial, allergic and viral)
  • Dermatitis (atopic, eczema, allergic and contact)
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Herpes labialis (cold sores)
  • Impetigo
  • Insect bites and urticaria (hives)
  • Tick bites, post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent Lyme disease
  • Musculoskeletal sprains and strains
  • Urinary tract infections (uncomplicated)

Minor ailments are described as health conditions that can be managed with minimal treatment and/or self-care strategies. Additional criteria include:

  • Usually a short-term condition
  • Lab results aren’t usually required
  • Low risk of treatment masking underlying conditions
  • Medications and medical histories can reliably differentiate more serious conditions
  • Only minimal or short-term follow-up is required

The list of minor ailments for which pharmacists may treat was developed by the College’s Minor Ailments Advisory Group (MAAG), comprising patient advisors as well as experts in pharmacy, medicine, public health, antimicrobial stewardship, and health systems research. The list was submitted to the government for approval following several months of engagement with registrants, health system partners, other health professions and patients, as well as a 60-day open public consultation.

MAAG’s Summary of Recommendations for Pharmacists Prescribing for Minor Ailments report provides additional information about MAAG and the process used to define minor ailments and inform the regulatory changes. Please review the June 15, 2020 Board meeting briefing note for the complete details of the final regulatory amendments including a summary of the feedback received during the development of the regulations.

Over the coming months, the College and key partners will be developing and sharing necessary guidance and practice resources to support the profession in implementing this new authority with confidence once in effect while satisfying their professional and ethical responsibilities in the delivery of safe patient care. More information about this important regulatory change, and the various supports that will be developed leading up to its implementation, will be provided as it becomes available.