Your community pharmacy, regardless of its location, is accredited by the Ontario College of Pharmacists and inspected regularly to ensure that it meets all provincial and federal laws governing dispensaries, drug handling and community pharmacy standards. All community pharmacy owners, whether they are pharmacists or non-pharmacists, must also meet the same regulations and standards to operate a community pharmacy. Additionally, all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians practicing in the pharmacy are accountable to the College.
As of August 1, 2016 all pharmacies operating and providing pharmacy services to patients in public or private hospitals in Ontario must be accredited and undergo routine assessments by the College. While hospital pharmacies are not open to the public, they service many patients and must meet relevant standards similar to the requirements of community pharmacies — ensuring the safe, effective and ethical delivery of pharmacy services in all settings across the province. Additionally, all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians practicing in hospital pharmacies are accountable to the College.
Patients who choose to access pharmacy services over the internet should take extra care to ensure the pharmacy is legitimate.
In Ontario, all legitimate pharmacy or drugstore websites must be operated by a real “bricks-and-mortar” pharmacy located within the province. Patients should use the “Find a Pharmacy or Pharmacy Professional” tool to make sure the pharmacy in question is actually in Ontario, has been accredited by the College and is overseen by registered pharmacists.
Patients should also check that the homepage of the pharmacy displays the:
- Name of the “bricks-and-mortar” pharmacy that runs the website.
- Pharmacy’s OCP accreditation number (double check with our “Find a Pharmacy or Pharmacy Professional” tool).
- Name of the pharmacy’s owner.
- Full address of the “bricks-and-mortar” pharmacy.
- Phone number for the pharmacy.
- Name of the pharmacy’s Designated Manager.
- Hours when a registered pharmacist is available (the pharmacy cannot dispense medications
when a pharmacist is not on duty).
- The Point of Care Symbol.
For more information, read the College’s FAQ about Internet Pharmacies.
Remote Dispensing Locations
A remote dispensing location is a site where drugs are dispensed or sold by retail to the public and that is operated by, but is not at the same location as, a pharmacy whose certificate of accreditation permits its operation. The remote dispensing location might be an automated pharmacy system or a place staffed by a regulated pharmacy technician. It is supervised remotely by a pharmacist who is present at the accredited pharmacy.
Drug Preparation Premises
A drug preparation premise is a place where pharmacists or pharmacy technicians engage in or supervise drug preparation activities where the final product is for the purpose of the sale or provision to another person, other than pursuant to or in anticipation of a prescription.