- Drug and Pharmacies Regulation Act , s 157
- Ontario Regulation 264/16, s 5
- Public Hospitals Act, R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 965, s 22.1
- Food and Drug Regulations, s. C.01.041.1 – C.01.041.4
- Narcotic Control Regulations, s. 31, 32;
- Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substances Regulations, s.54
A fact sheet summarizes relevant legislation in one place. Registrants are reminded to refer to legislation for full context.
- Subsection 56(1) class exemption for patients, practitioners and pharmacists prescribing and providing controlled substances in Canada (Health Canada)
- Code of Ethics
- Legal Authority For Scope Of Practice / Authorized Acts Chart
- Prescription Regulation Summary Chart
- Fact Sheet – Prescription Refills, Part-Fills and Intervals
Prescription transfers are subject to federal and provincial regulations.
- Federally, the Food and Drug Regulations permit a registrant (pharmacist or pharmacy technician) to transfer a prescription for a drug on the Prescription Drug List to another pharmacist or pharmacy technician.
- Only pharmacists are authorized to transfer a prescription for a controlled substance (narcotic, controlled drug or targeted substance) to another pharmacist pursuant to the Subsection 56(1) class exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) issued by Health Canada.
- Provincially, O. Reg.264/16 states that “Subject to compliance with any other applicable federal or provincial laws, a prescription shall be transferred from a pharmacy that is accredited as a community pharmacy on the request of the patient or a person acting on behalf of the patient.”
Registrants are expected to respect the patient’s right to choose a pharmacy and/or pharmacy professional and to facilitate the patient’s request to change or transfer pharmacy services, ensuring the relevant patient information is provided efficiently for a safe and effective transition of care.
If a pharmacy wishes to charge the patient for a transfer, the Policy – Fees for Professional Pharmacy Services applies. The pharmacy may invoice the patient however this cannot impede the provision of patient care or prevent or delay the transfer from occurring in a timely manner.
This Fact Sheet is intended for community pharmacies only, as the transfer of records between hospitals is governed by RRO Regulation 965 — Hospital Management under the Public Hospitals Act.
Registrants, at both the transferring pharmacy and the pharmacy receiving the transfer, are accountable for meeting their respective responsibilities for the transfer of prescription(s).
- A prescription shall be transferred from a pharmacy that is accredited as a community pharmacy on the request of the patient or a person acting on behalf of the patient.
- For the purposes of the regulations, a person acting on behalf of the patient includes a registrant acting on behalf of the patient.
- Either the pharmacy transferring the prescription or the pharmacy receiving the prescription transfer can act upon a patient’s request.
- Where there are refills or any quantity remaining, a pharmacy must transfer a prescription when requested.
- Transfers should be done in a timely manner. If circumstances arise that result in a delay, as a professional courtesy, the registrant should inform the pharmacy awaiting the transfer.
- Implied consent is provided by the patient when they request a prescription transfer.
- There is no need for a pharmacy to contact the patient to verify the transfer request; Delaying a transfer for this reason interferes with continuity of care.
- Prescriptions may be transferred under the authorization of a registrant at the pharmacy transferring the prescription to a registrant who is practising at the receiving pharmacy.
- If the pharmacy is in Ontario, a registrant who is practising at the pharmacy where the prescription will be transferred.
- If the pharmacy is outside of Ontario, a person who is authorized to practise pharmacy at the pharmacy where the prescription will be transferred.
- If necessary, transfers can be made verbally.
- Additional steps should be taken to minimize the increased risk of medication errors with telephone or verbal orders.
- Once a prescription has been transferred, it becomes inactive at the transferring pharmacy (i.e., cannot be dispensed at, or transferred again from, that pharmacy).
- The entire quantity remaining on the prescription must be transferred.
- This does not prevent the receiving pharmacy from subsequently transferring the prescription again.
- Prescriptions cannot be transferred if there are no refills or quantity remaining, however a copy of the prescription can be provided.
- A copy must be marked as such and is not an authorized prescription for dispensing at another pharmacy.
- For a prescription with more than one drug the pharmacy must retain the original prescription on the patient record, even if they do not dispense all drugs.
- Should the patient wish to have the remaining drugs filled elsewhere, the prescriptions can be placed on hold (logged) and transferred accordingly.
- The pharmacy receiving the transfer may request a copy of the original prescription in the interest of patient safety.
Required Information that the Transferring Pharmacy Must Provide
(For Controlled Substances see below)
- Name and address of the patient for whom the drug was prescribed
- Name and strength (if applicable) of the drug prescribed
- Directions for use as prescribed
- Name and address of the prescriber
- Identity of the manufacturer of the drug last dispensed
- Identification number of the prescription, i.e. prescription number
- Total authorized quantity of the drug remaining to be dispensed
- Date the prescription was first dispensed
- Date the last refill was dispensed
- Quantity last dispensed, if different from the quantity prescribed
- Name of the registrant who is responsible for the transfer
Record Requirements for the Transferring Pharmacy
- Date of the transfer
- Name and address of the pharmacy to which the prescription was transferred
- Name of the registrant who is responsible for the transfer
- If the prescription is transferred verbally, the name of the registrant who received the transfer
Requirements for the Pharmacy Receiving the Transfer
- The required information provided by the transferring pharmacy must be recorded
- Transfers may only be received from a pharmacy licenced or accredited in a province or territory of Canada
- If the prescription is transferred verbally, the record is authorized by the registrant responsible for the transfer
Pursuant to the Subsection 56(1) class exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) issued by Health Canada (HC), and only while the exemption is in effect, pharmacists are authorized to transfer a prescription for a controlled substance (narcotic, controlled drug or targeted substance) to another pharmacist.
Pharmacists should review the terms and conditions of the exemption and must only transfer a prescription for a patient under their professional treatment, for the purpose of renewing an existing prescription.
Pharmacists acting under the authority of this exemption must keep records of the following:
- A copy of the written prescription or the written record of a verbal prescription
- The name and business address of the transferring pharmacist
- The name and business address of the pharmacist receiving the prescription transfer
- The number of authorized refills remaining and, if applicable, the specified interval between refills
- The date of the last refill
- For benzodiazepines and other targeted substances, the date the prescription was issued by the prescriber
- The exemption to subsection 52(c) of the Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substances Regulations permits prescriptions for targeted substances to be dispensed if more than one year has elapsed since the day on which the prescription was issued
- The exemption to subsection 54(1) of the Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substances Regulations permits prescriptions for targeted substances to be transferred more than once
Published: August 2013
Version #: 3.00
College Contact: Pharmacy Practice
|1||August 2016||Changed reference from O. Reg. 58/11 to O. Reg. 264/16|
|2||March 2020||Added “Important update regarding the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic” re: Health Canada Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) subsection 56(1) class exemption to permit pharmacists to transfer prescriptions of controlled substances.|
|3||November 2021||Updated format; incorporated CDSA Class Exemption|